Every Hundred Miles

Earlier this year I drove away from Spokane in a newly-purchased Dodge cargo van that was filled with all my personal belongings and household goods. My destination, Carrboro, NC, a place I had previously called home for ten years, was more than 2500 miles away.

I had done this drive five times in as many years, but never in the sort of weather projected for the week of my departure. If I was reading the apps correctly, I’d be in the thick of snowstorms for at least three of the four days I figured it would take me to get home. Driving in snow wasn’t the issue, but driving in snow in my new rig was. In the two weeks I’d owned the large, white van, it proved itself to be unstable in anything except perfectly dry conditions. A little dew on the road was enough to set the tires spinning. I could only hope the weight of my stuff would keep me from ending up in a ditch in Nowhere, Wyoming.

I’m a fretter and my tendency is to worry. Will my van make it the whole way? Will I slide off the road? Will I get stranded at a mountain pass? Will I need these $150 snow chains? Should I have kept the studded tires that came with the van? My mind is always seeking out the worst case scenario. And I knew that unless I had a worthy distraction on this long-ass drive, I’d be tensely sitting on the edge of the torn driver’s seat for twelve hour days. Sure, I’ll have the standard podcasts to pass time, but I needed something else to keep me from obsessing on the crap weather that would likely theme my transit. In one past trip I stopped every couple hours to hang a random piece of art. Super fun, but less-so in sub-zero temps. This time, I decided, I’d stop every 100 miles and snap a photo and write a short poem from the confines of the cab. I’d post them as an Instagram story then get back to the highway and repeat the process 26 times or so. This fired me up and made me look forward to the major haul to come.

The ensuing journey, like any journey, is a story with details like no other. It lived up to and surpassed the meteorologist’s predictions and isolated me more severely than any other cross country drive ever had. This isolation was maddening, thrilling, and occasionally hilarious. Sometimes what makes for a rich experience is precisely what is most undesired at the outset. In this case, my trip back home was pretty doggone rich.

And since big experiences beg to be remembered and shared, I’ve created a way to do just that. I wrote a short book of the images and words that came from this every 100-mile journey. For ten bucks you can have your own copy in-hand. Two dollars gets you a digital copy.

Thanks for giving it a look!


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