On the Road

21 Jul

This week I got my hands on a fascinating little volume at the local library’s ongoing book sale. “American Journeys, An Anthology of Travel In the United States,” (Travel Vision in association with the Exxon Travel Club, 1975) is a collection of excerpts from pioneer diaries, explorer’s journals and articles about travel in America from the late 1600s up to the lunar landing.

It includes pieces from such writers as Benjamin Franklin (describing his trip to, and first night in, Philadelphia), Charles Dickens (writing about a steamboat trip with his wife in 1842. He did not like it), Mark Twain (a description of a stagecoach trip, excerpted from his book “Roughing It”) and John Muir (recounting one of his long walks among California’s sequoia trees).

This book reflects an important characteristic of the American people; the urge to travel and explore. For over 200 years the call of the open road has stirred something in our souls. Even if it’s only a trip into town:

When labor is light and the morning is fair,

I find it a pleasure beyond all compare

To hitch up my nag and go hurrying down

And take Katie May for a ride into town;

For bumpety-bump goes the wagon,

But tra-la-la-la our lay.

There’s joy in a song as we rattle along

In the light of the glorious day.

From “Riding to Town” by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1896.)


Posted by on July 21, 2012 in Book Hunting, Grazing, History, Poetry


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “On the Road

  1. Debra

    July 22, 2012 at 5:50 am

    I would love to read J Muir’s bit on the Sequoias!

    • Rob

      July 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Hi Deb! Thanks for coming on to my blog and commenting. I only skimmed the Muir piece, but it was great. Here’s a taste from the last sentence: “. . . every tree seemed religious and conscious of the presence of God . . .” Hope everything is well in France. Thanks again!

  2. Christian Coping

    July 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I enjoy your whimsical approach to reading and literature. Your admission of being ignorant seems untrue. Sorry about the sad day.

  3. Rob

    July 28, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Thanks for stopping by, CC! I appreciate your kind words. As for the sad day, that was in reference to the Aurora shooting. I think it was a sad day for all of us. Have a great weekend.


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