We’ve grown fond of starting our long-haul tours by leaving the Interstate after Reno and driving US 50 to south of Salt Lake City, where we pick up I 70 and keep barreling east. US 50 is a two-lane blacktop, beautifully maintained and majestically lonely. You might see two other cars in an hour. No towns, no billboards, no gas stations. But the beauty of the land can take your breath away: the huge rock formations, basin-and-range dips and swells, and the colors of the desert-like earth.
Not this time. We couldn’t see much at all, and the air was acrid with smoke. Our California fires made the air murky and hard to breathe all the way through California, Nevada, and most of Utah. Then Colorado chipped in with its own fires on the Western Slope.
When we got to Norfolk, VA, it was hot and wet, as it has been most of the way up the East Coast. Not really a surprise (it’s August, after all), but they’d been slogging through two solid weeks of rain. Baltimore was a steam bath. Philadelphia got a rainstorm of biblical proportions yesterday, with cars trapped in sudden roadway lakes. Thursday we head for Bloomsburg, which is flooding.
We’ve driven all over this country in our decades of touring and have slogged through all kinds of weather, but this feels creepy. And the escalation of aggressive driving is wild, making things even more hairy.
But our readings and performances have been wonderful, and our reunions with long-term friends have fed our souls. We’re halfway now, and haven’t had to face any disasters yet. Life is good.