Painting ©2018 John Clark III
Headed home today after my 12-day odyssey along Route 66. Instead of the serene backroads following the ol' Main Street of America through small-town U.S.A., it was time for pedal-to-the-metal interstate travel.
Nonetheless, it was beautiful cruising along Interstate 10 out of California and into Arizona, as you can see from the photos I snapped while motoring 80 mph (OK, maybe a little faster sometimes). Most of the past two weeks, I drove with the car radio turned all the way down, preferring to let my mind wander wherever it wanted to go, thinking about this and about that, concentrating on my surroundings. Meditative travel. Quiet is a good thing.
Today, I listened to the radio, and it was a little disturbing.
Along with being a writer, I am also a musician. I've played guitar in bands. I've written some decent songs, and played acoustic sets at different open mic nights and coffee shops and such with my talented-singer wife. But I really don't like to listen to music when I drive. I like talk radio. I don't know why. I just do.
And so much of what is going on in this country nowadays is pathetic and ridiculous and ... scary. I don't care if you consider yourself liberal, moderate or conservative, Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, or none of the above. I fear for the future of our wonderful country. I really do.
OK, enough of that ...
Yesterday, I mentioned the group of 60-something bicyclists from Switzerland that I met along Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. These guys, remember, rode bicycles 2,400 miles along Route 66 from Chicago to California. Here's their photo again:
I haven't transcribed the interviews I did with these gracious men, who took the time to tell me all about their adventure -- after I used about seven different cameras and tablets to take this same photo for them :) -- and their accomplishment to me is amazing. They shipped their bikes over here, and said they planned to return to Chicago on a three-day train ride, then fly home.
They took some rest days along the way during their month-and-a-half trip, and at one point, as they pedaled through the Mojave Desert, ran out of water and became concerned not only for their ability to complete the ride, but for their survival.
Still, Urs, the tall guy in the middle, told me that on the final day, as they rode into Santa Monica, the emotion he felt was sadness, because their journey was coming to an end. It was the same for me.
I've talked about how this trip compares to walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. Talking to these gentlemen only reinforced that for me.
Route 66 is absolutely America's Pilgrimage.
On the Camino, walking miles and miles each day is absolute freedom. You meet wonderful people along the way. You see amazing things, have unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You experience history. And when it all comes to an end, you feel a bit of sadness. You don't want it to end. You want it to go on, and on, and on.
Same thing on Route 66.
If you ever have the time and the inclination, even if you can't get away for two full weeks, go travel a part of Route 66. You'll find the heart of America ...
Later, y'all ...
A few reviews of John's books
The 30-Day Optimism Solution:
“Part memoir, part informative text. You get both when reading 'Depression Blues' by John H. Clark III. Mr. Clark shares his struggles with depression in an honest and real way, and as the book progresses, so does his hope. Woven into the story as jumping off points are bits of information about depression and ways to "conquer" the sadness, loneliness, and despair that comes with it.
Mr. Clark becomes more than an author in this book; he becomes a friend who understands the pain of depression and provides light. I recommend this book to anyone looking for light or to anyone who knows someone with depression and wants to learn more.”
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