My American dream is becoming reality. Late afternoons bathing in Indian summer colours, winding mountain roads, starry skies. The road is home. My old beat up truck The Beast makes me live at a slower pace. Going only twelve miles per hour uphill, I have been able to enjoy the scenery nice and easily, smelling the dusty desert air, getting yelled at by drivers lined up behind me. Ah, America. The ultimate road trip country.
Days are spent driving thousands of miles, stopping in diners with plastic seats and bottomless cups of coffee. The waitresses are platinum blonde, melted cheese covers every dish. The hours are midnight to midnight. It doesn't matter if I go in at 2 am on a Tuesday or on a grey Sunday afternoon, the place is packed. People are hungry for diner food, crave to live the diner life. Bring their dates, babies, books, work, comfy pants, their own special bottle of ketchup. Americans! I love their ways. I love the jukeboxes, the cheesy songs they play. The chain smoking servers doubling as therapists to customers. Refilling their cups with lukewarm black coffee all through the day and night. Like a blanket for the soul. It tastes bad but yes I'll have another one. I'm not sure if it's the coffee, but diners make me feel alive, even though time seems to stand still once you enter the joint.
No better break from long slow road trips than a pancake stack with butter squares melting all over the place. Aunt Jemima's syrup and I'm in America. This country likes to make sure you know you are in the USA, at all times. Flags, stereotypes, halloween decorations for months, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Mc Donalds, drive-thrus, drive-ins, dive bars, colourful beach towns, wide open roads, the feeling you are living in a movie set.
The National Parks! Of course I had to play tourist and be a part of the traffic jammed Yosemite and Sequoia parks. I am here! So how can I not? I hugged the massive trees, took about two gazillion pictures of the autumn colours, went skinny dipping in the freezing river. National park rangers don't like that. They do. But they don't. So I kept my clothes on for the rest of the trip. I got tired of the long hot drive, and so did The Beast. Her exhaust fell off just as we left the Sequoia National Park. I saw this as a sign: time to go back to our Californian home. We hit the road, rattling, growling, louder than ever. With the exhaust in the back seat and a smile on my face, we drove until the air tasted salty and life was sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Home sweet Santa Cruz.