Over plains and mountains and to the shore, we would follow the open road.
We thought it tough to keep surviving with so many days of constant driving,
Yet found so quickly we were thriving, striving forth towards Hoover’s abode.
One short stop, then on to Golden Spike we towed.
Our first few days upon the road.
Across to Lassen Volcanoes our westward travels finally slowed.
We hiked to where Bumpass burnt his bone, explored the nozzle of cinder cone,
Hiked Lassen to the construction zone – until hiking further a sign forbode.
We inhaled deeply and admired where ancient glaciers flowed.
Stopping to play where it had snowed.
We sought next the ancient trees, feeling smaller than unseen giants’ knees,
Sheltered from the ocean’s breeze, far below the marbled mirallettes’ abode.
Suddenly I heard panting, sighing – to climb a tree, Helen was trying.
I echoed too a different sighing, sighing proudly at the courage that she showed.
She did not make it far up the redwood before she slowed.
Once again we hit the road.
From the backseat we heard some raving, something about Oregon caving.
‘Twas like a mob of ‘49ers seeking out the mother lode.
Instead of madness from the driving, they wished to go deep-earth diving –
A hike below the trees where once a river flowed.
No concern about surviving, they entered the darkness – no one slowed.
We saw where ancient magma flowed.
Next we brought a gift to Crater Lake, well, less a give and more a take,
When enjoying Garfield Peak a strong wind blowed
John’s hat – it tossed and tumbled onto a cliff edge too easily crumbled
By the footfalls of any man who vainly strode.
Our sunset hike revealed a perfect moon, perhaps the lake thought a gift was owed.
A lost hat lightens the load.
By morning light we saw Twin Rocks, where the Coughlin brood naturally flocks,
To play in sand outside a box, blocks from Grandma’s beach abode.
At a local joint we broke the fast, enjoyed our coffee to the last,
A brief trip into the past, before a fond farewell we bode.
One last sweet cinnamon memory I sneakily stowed.
A sticky treat for the long road.
Up upon the Oregon coast, Lewis and Clark followed their host.
At the place it rains the most, they made their wintertime abode.
The thirty-two adults and child travel’d West when all was wild,
Exploring a continent by where its water flowed.
Sacagawea helped them break the local code.
America’s first road.
We hiked through Olympic trees like towers, wandered through the alpine flowers,
And marvel’d at the Pacific’s powers thundering upon the rocks they will one day erode.
On Cascade Lake we loved to float, enjoying views from a paddle boat,
On Michael’s birthday it is his favorite travel mode.
To the dock we were later safely towed.
Better off if we had rowed.
Apparently, it was not our turn to find the lake that fills once it has snowed.
We fed the wild mosquitoes but no Pyramid Lake ever showed.
Next day we climbed Cascade Pass, forty switchbacks go no-so-fast,
But the mem’ries will surely last longer than the Umqua a la mode.
Back on to the open road.
We left the Cascades in our wake, gently tapping on the brake,
We thought for once some time we’d take and drive with leisure along the road.
A Winthrop winery tasted fine, we even bought a case of wine!
Took pictures of the purple police Trans Am, deciding it clearly was not to code.
We stopped at the Walmart of Smelterville Idaho.
Boondocking along the road.
We found our favorite place in Butte, ‘Pork Chop John’s’ of high repute,
A double-stacker will leave mute, the most grumbly of stomachs along the road.
In Sheridan we anticipated, a cowboy dinner finely plated,
But instead we waited, and waited, waited for the no-so-special special that finally showed.
(But it gave us plenty of time to use their clean commode).
Even yelp can’t predict every meal along the open road.
We skipped the a la mode.
A Wyoming windstorm gave brief delay, but soon we were on our way,
The Minuteman Missile Site the goal today, to learn about the Cold War code.
Out of a truck a cowboy wave, signaled a situation we could guess most grave.
John pulled over and walked behind to inspect our precious load.
For a Freightliner we were waiting, waiting to be towed.
To cowboys our safety was surely owed.
We rode in a semi to RV Jacks. Would he laugh the shirt right of our backs?
We’d find a way to relax, with life’s cow-pie, a side of a la mode!
The Alex Johnson’s nicest suite, wine and French cuisine to eat,
In the city fountain we our feet, and found that local cone of a la mode.
And really didn’t mind that historic hotel commode.
Surprise detour from the road.
Drove straight through the dry Badlands, that beauty that wind and water erode.
Next we saw the Presidents four, enshrined upon Mount Rushmore,
In our headlights it appeared – two feet away – a two ton load!
Watch out for bison on the road.
The time had come to make our tracks, returning to our travel mode.
Jolly Green Giant – a veggie icon, a big cheesebarn cow in Wisconsin,
Passed the SPAM Museum (we’ll put it on the bucket list for trips along this road).
The last few miles of long driving, I asked my dear if he’s surviving,
“Give one last thought, Dear, for our family ode.”
“Same time next year, let’s hit the road!”