on the open road


I’m not completely sure how it happened, but somehow we’re managing to make our third summer trip in a row to Maine. This year we’re tacking an extra week onto our drive to get Cal back to Burlington for his summer term, and visiting Maine and our friends there was an obvious choice.


What is it about the open road that has such appeal, especially in summer time? The lure of the American road trip finds its origins all the way back to the 1930s with the rise in use of the automobile and the expansion of the American highway system. By the 1950s, Americans were traveling those thousands of paved miles for business and recreation, and a whole industry of drive-in restaurants and motels cropped up to cater to road-weary travelers.


For us, of late, those roads have called us north, to Maine and New England, even before Cal made it his home for college. Lobster rolls, maple syrup and tiny Maine blueberries that explode like a sweetness bomb in your mouth await us there.

Maine is more than that for me, though. And for my friends who live there and those who visit regularly, well, they get it too. It’s the stillness of the lake in the morning. It’s the dappled light filtering through the pines. It’s the beam from a lighthouse and the way the low-angled sun hits the hillside. I never, ever regret making a trip to Maine.


I did a quick scan on the internets for “road trip photography,” and let’s just say that I came away sorely disappointed. Make sure you have electricity, pack two batteries, blah, bah, blah. Really people, we can do better than that.

I want to channel my deepest American roots with my road trips! I want Thoreau when he “sucks the marrow out of life,” but I especially want Whitman by my side.

“Afoot and light hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path leading where ever I choose.”

Those are the pictures I want to take, not ones that care about battery life or access to electricity. Let’s see if I get there.

See you on the road.