Saturday, November 2, 2013

The In-Between

[And back to the trip blogs. I'm going to finish them this year, dangnabbit!]

When I woke up the next morning, it was to the realization that I was halfway through my trip.

There'd been the drive out, Portland, and the ocean. After that came the return drive, the desert, and Denver. I was one week in with a week to go and a lot of miles to cover.

After breakfast and a long chat with the director, I packed up and hit the road. It was a little after nine when I turned east again, leaving the ocean behind me.

This was my longest stretch of "not much" -- 1,200 miles ahead with two overnight stops, no real purpose except to eventually make it to Utah. On the way out, I had driven with an aim; I was going west, I was seeing things I'd never seen before. While the scenery was still new, going east felt different. It was a hint that eventually I'd be headed home again, but I'd also hit That Point in a trip.

It was saturation. There is a point in every sightseeing endeavor when you realize your brain can't take any more, when you've soaked in all you can of the culture or the artwork or the scenery and anything more slides right past you without making much of an impact. I remember that day in Russia; I remember the hour in London. This time, I hit that point not long after I left the coast, my head full of ocean and volcanoes and city streets and highway miles and not really capable of absorbing much else.

And while I'd done what I could to mitigate this, somewhat more self-aware than previous trips and knowing I would hit saturation about now,  I had a lot of ground to cover.

The next two days were something of a blur. There was a mix of Oregon Trail stops, a night alongside a gorgeous lake in eastern Oregon, and lots of miles in forested areas that slowly made me claustrophobic. There was lunch in Boise and, at long last, a glimpse of the Great Salt Lake.

When my trip had first been imagined as a week-long trek, I had planned on Utah. I wanted to see the Lake; I wanted to get to Arches National Park, something both my parents and Shorty had managed but I hadn't yet. I figured I'd spend some time in Denver as well, but that was all I had planned.

This was the Original Trip. Everything I would do from here on out had been intended from the beginning, which was perhaps why I saved it for the second half: this was a great place to recover.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I know that saturation point quite well. I also know that you can hold it off by not jumping from place to place too often. A few days in the same hotel lets your brain relax a little bit and leaves you eager to see whatever is next.