Hollywood To Wicker Park
There's a bittersweet aspect to most road trips. At some point you have to turn around and come home.
Terry, one of my closest friends in HS, and I hopped in my barely working '82 diesel VW Rabbit and set out to visit friends in CO and CA. I think we were barely 20 at the time. Both of us had a limited time to do this trip. 7 days to go from Stockton to Colorado Springs to Oxnard to San Francisco and a straight 32hr drive home. I still remember the weird conversation at some truck stop in Utah with locals at 4am. I saw Terry for the first time in quite a few years recently, that trip was still a major topic of conversation.
It is my holy belief that road trips, and travel in general, are on this earth to help people discover themselves, the people they're with and the world around them. You can fly over anything and be as removed as you want to be. But, take a car, you'll need gas, food and a bathroom at some point. You get out and breathe the air, walk on ground and feel the sun, interact with locals or fellow travelers, you have a tactile experience. And if your open to it...things just start happening.
Taking a couple day road trip with a new girlfriend is a great way to get to know this person and it will answer a lot of questions...directly and indirectly. Driving the back roads to Bristol TN for a "Team Moby" member wedding with a lady I had started seeing was the most fun I'd had in a long time. Life gains an additional layer of fun when your new lady friend is a co-pilot and not just a passenger.
One of my all time favorite road trips, and it embodies everything I’ve been talking about was the Hazardous Sports Cannon Ball Run. A wealthy car racing real estate mogul in Chicago had contacted me about doing some photography for his new clothing line. The tale he spun at a breakfast meeting was nearly unbelievable. Cars, girls, drivers, film crew, tour bus, etc. My eyes blurred and I was about to stamp “bullshit” on this whole thing…then the tickets showed up at my door and I was off to the airport that evening.
Vegas is weird, just putting that out there. These guys had rented the House Of Blues for a private kickoff for the next leg of the trip. Party, party, party,...5am,...limo to undisclosed hotel out in the desert someplace and "oh, you'll be rooming with Tom, he's also from Chicago". Fine. Next day, crawl out for the 8am call time, grab a coffee, and SON OF A BITCH...it was all weirdly real. A semi circle of 6 or 7 black, 500+HP, 6 figure price tag, European super cars. All paired with a pro driver and at least one set of fake boobs. Hunh. As I snapped away, I was wondering which one I got to ride in. The answer came in the form of a glaring white Cadillac Deville. Myself, Tom, and some Brit named Francis were all told "that" was our car. Diss. So, the three most cantankerous, jaded, snarky chaps in Vegas at that moment were thrust into a car. The race was on. 8 Hours later we had hit the rev limiter 3 times, shot about 1000 frames of film, been passed going 122 by an Astin Martin going 150, and came in second place behind the ring leaders AMG SL55. Always follow the guy with the gps and who planned the route.
There is an unbreakable bond that happens here. You're in a car that your being told to, in no uncertain terms, “it’s an insured rental, don’t worry about it, go faster”. When the engine cuts out at 123mph from hitting the rev limiter for the third time, there's a bond. When there’s three like minded strangers bullshitting and laughing to the point of tears for 8hrs, there's a bond. We got to know each other, we gave our gang a name “Team Moby”, which to this day we’ll end emails with “Go Moby”. (Moby, White Whale, Big White Caddy…Get it?). Grab a friend, map a route, book hotels online, get a credit card with gas rewards, take a road trip. See something at ground level...and for god's sake, if you have kids, leave the fucking dvd player at home. That framed glass has the best movie ever made.