I blame it on DNA in my family. Old family homesteads, final resting spots of famous explorers, a house somebody was born in, and other countless road side stops and detours. As a kid I remember traversing landscape in the middle seat of a 1969 Ford F-100 to see the stomping grounds of Zane Grey and keeping myself entertained as we hit other unique wonders in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and California. In other years and other trips, the year and brands of transportation stayed the same, but always on four wheels. 1964 Comet, 1973 Chevelle, and 1979 Ford Bronco. Friday night often ended with the words, “in the morn’n, we’ll go ‘n see”… Could be where a sawmill used to be…or any other countless small tidbits of history.
This traversing to historic signs and ghost towns wasn’t limited to just my parents, it was passed down biologically from both sets of grandparents. I have postcards from the largest bowl of pea soup and a key chain from something called the “Muffler Man Museum” to prove this long lineage of exotic exploration.
Throughout my adult life I have found that I as well love exploring the unique. On my recent trip to Washington for the Overland Rally, I found I would stop or even re-route to visit some out of the way…way out of the way historical site.
My poor family has endured all-day long trips to visit the three remaining logs of where some poor soul breathed his last breath. We have seen Cadillacs buried in the ground, birth places of unknown individuals, and monuments made of copper pipe to some great thing in a historical microcosm we never even knew about. I have literally looked at a map and decided to drive hours of dirt because some unknown to us at the time person has a monument.
Speaking as an American, we love the road. It’s in our DNA to explore and seek new places. I point to evidence of our own westward expansion. Following our curiosity of the unknown. We were dumped here in small colonies to fend for ourselves and the hearty, the mobile, the curios have survived and spawned its children of the west.
I love this part of who I am and grateful that both my parents and grandparents provided this genetic trait for me, and nurtured it through all the crowded and cramped road trips we took when I was a kid. I still love the odd detours, the driving an extra 80 miles to see where my family once used as hunting grounds, or a bridge that was built by immigrant labor. I am fascinated by these parts of our history. I live in one of the most target rich areas for “go and see”. Old mines, dredges, plane crash sites, shoot-outs, and rocks with the paintings of ancient and pre-modern people abound. Much of my modern-day adventure is based only on the “go and see” desires I can’t control.
The weekend is coming soon and whether it is with family on board, or if it’s just me and my pup in the Jeep, I will drive out-of-the-way to find something new.