Tuesday, June 10, 2014

On the Road: Travel Days to Michigan International Speedway

Once again, we packed up the RV and headed out in search of a NASCAR track we had not yet visited. This time the destination was Michigan International Speedway, departing from the Megalopolis of Massachusetts. 

Why do we drive instead of flying and taking a hotel? Well, yes NASCAR fans have the corner pocket on tailgating, but we've found that rolling on our own schedule suits our busy lives better. There's no panic about getting to the airport, stripping down in security, missing flights or making do with a week's worth of food at hotel restaurants.  The RV life allows us to slow down when we want, explore culinary adventures and best of all, park in a wide open field under star filled skies.

Anyway, as usual, as soon as we leave the rolling hills of Connecticut behind and cross over the Hudson River, something wonderful happens. Traffic jams vanish and the expanse of our huge nation unfolds before us. We've gotten pretty used to Day 1--the trees of Pennsylvania. However, when you keep driving for hours and hours with nothing but the forest of Northern USA appearing in all directions, I can understand why the pioneers back in the Great Expansion felt a compulsion to fill the Prairie with more trees.

Dense, lush vegetation is something we become accustomed to in our daily lives. It's why we adore Spring, when brown gives way to the soft whispering of green followed by the rush of Mother Nature to replenish our oxygen supply. Imagine leaving that for an unending sky interrupted only by the rolling waves of grass on relatively flat ground.  Something must be wrong.

Well, we didn't reach the prairie this time.  Only upper Ohio. But the flatness of the world in this state is...odd to those whose homes perch upon a hill.  In fact, the vast majority of houses in my hometown rest on some kind of incline. On I80 West, we drove past acre upon acre of flat farmland and perfectly mowed lawns devoid of any other ornamentation and it starts to bother you.

Then you realize all this farmland feeds our nation and much of the world.  Did I hear that even with this seemingly unending supply of vegetables, we are still scheduled to run out of food in another 50 years or so? It boggles the mind that this much food cannot feed those in need. And then there's the realization that there is not a farmhouse to be seen for miles in some cases. Gone are the days of single families raising food and their own children on private parcels. Ah, times do change.

We did pass the Lordstown Chevy factory, where the Chevy Cruze is made.  Impressive building. Here in Michigan we must've entered via the non-factory world. For more than 40 miles off the interstate, we passed nothing but farms, empty houses and tiny hamlets that sported nothing more than a gas station and a church. We've yet to hit the grocery store, let alone find one. That might be 20 miles back that away.

And yet, in the middle of all this beautiful farmland, here sits yet another monument to auto racing. The stands gleam, the signs are big and stamped with lots of logos. The t-shirt haulers are here with a smattering of summer vacationers.

We'll be heading out to the Henry Ford museum either today or tomorrow--after locating the elusive grocery store.

We live in an amazing country.  I love leaving my little corner of it once a year and seeing its glory for myself.  One more reason to avoid the airports.

Pictures and such to come later. Enjoy the day!

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