Part of being American, I believe, is the love of a good road trip. And, I’ll readily admit, it is something that is dearly missed in China. When I was a kid (back in the good old days before all the safety laws), many an hour was spent in Bessy Green Bus with extended family in Illinois and Michigan. Sitting on the floor in the back around the cooler, Dad spent hours teaching us card game strategy while Mom drove, seeing how many hours she could get out of one lemon drop.
To say I love a road trip is a bit like saying I love oxygen.
I was lucky to get the chance to pre-read Shawn Smucker’s new book, How to Use a Runaway Truck Ramp and Other Tales from our 10,000 Mile Adventure.
This is what I wrote for a review on Amazon:
The beauty of a road trip is the opportunity to reflect, veg and ultimately evaluate as the miles go by. I thought I was going on a road trip with Shawn and his family, but this book took me on my own personal trip. I ‘came home’ excited, worn out, and having been given the space to reflect on my own journey.
I can’t find the adequate description for the style — it’s not pure travelogue nor memoir, yet there is a reflective aspect to it I hadn’t expected. Shawn has created a new category: road trip. This is one to be saved, savored, and revisited.
(p.s. I rarely give four stars. This is high praise from me. High.)
And if that isn’t enough for you, here is a short excerpt to wet your whistle:
At one point I leaned my head back and look up into that sky, immeasurable. Stars starred down. It caught me unawares, the realiztion that the slaves buried in that graveyard once looked up at the same sky, the same stars. Many of them had given birth to their children in a dark night such as that one. Many of them had exhaled their last breath under those same constellations. The molecules that made up their bodies were there, all around me.
And to be honest, I didn’t know what to do with that, because as I let my soul touch just the edge of that cold, mostly buried rock of injustice, my throat ached and constricted, and my eyes felt heavy and inhabited by too much emotion.
I’m in a “I need to get all of this junk of out my life” phase and have been purging this fall. I’m not going to part with this book. Thanks Shawn and Maile.
Q4U: Any other road trippers out there? Share a memorable one in the comments. I once drove 17 hours to see a KU basketball game in North Carolina … on an impulse!