My fascination with traveling all began two years ago. I was at a Barnes and Noble and came across Kerouac's legendary novel, "On the Road." I figured enough people have recommended it; I might as well see what all the hype is about. Sure enough, they were right-the book is awesome! The plot is based on Kerouac's pickup-and-go attitude and everything he encounters while exploring all that America has to offer. I was fascinated and I wanted more. Next, I got my hands on a copy of "The Electric Cool-Aid Acid Test," which is of the same flavor. These stories fascinate me, so I did what every other recent college grad does-traveled. While most people want to backpack through Europe, bouncing between hostels and drinking absinthe, I instead decided to take a deeper look at America the beautiful.
Hitch hiking is something of the past. With all the crazies and nut jobs out there today, you would have to be out of your mind to catch a ride with a complete stranger. Plus, I just got a new truck. And what better way to break in my new ride than by taking a nice long road trip. I didn't want to plan my trip too much. You need to leave room for adventure and spontaneity.
I was starting in Northern Maine and all I knew was that I wanted to taste the salty water of the Pacific Ocean. So I packed some clothes, blankets and food into my Toyota Tacoma and hit the road. It was summer, so rather than staying in a hotel, I laid down a blanket in my truck's bed to rest my bones at night.
I saw a lot of new things and really got to experience Middle America, because there is a lot of it. I would drive for days and the landscape always remained the same. I was starting to wonder if I would ever escape the flat, cornfield-lined highways; until I hit Colorado. I basked in nature's beauty as my truck climbed through the Rockies. That John Denver knew what he was talking about. The mountains were gorgeous. I continued on to hit Utah, which has the bluest skies I have ever seen. From there I was on to Northern California.
After a few days of tasting my fair share of wines and relaxing in the vineyards of Sonoma, I continued on down to San Diego. Overall, I had a great trip. I met a lot of characters, heard a lot of accents, and ate a lot of different foods. And I encourage you to get to know your own country because each city has something to offer. I also recommend two products to anyone considering embarking on a journey of this magnitude.
First, for those who have trucks, a hard truck bed cover is really helpful. It covered all my gear so I didn't have to worry about it falling out along the way or being left out in the rain. Personally, I recommend Undercover tonneau covers because they have hinges that allow you to prop up the back, turning your truck bed into a nice shaded hang out. Secondly, for those of you who don't have trucks, I recommend a set of rubber floor mats. I was always getting out of the car and exploring-walking through fields, trails, dirt paths-and tracked a lot of mud and funk into my truck. My mats stopped the gunk from my shoes from staining my carpet. And I hosed them off easily when they got dirty.
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All in all, it was an amazing experience. And for those of you who want to take your own journey I recommend buying two things: Hard truck bed covers and Rubber floor mats. Oh yea, and no thumbing. It's not just illegal-it's down right crazy! -Mike Rosania