Horrible Idea Cover

Road Trip

By Mike Meier

Unpublished, private book

It was her idea again, to get in the car and go somewhere. North, east, there, and back, 4,000 miles. It would just be her, her teenage son Kai, and myself, the spare husband. Kurt was flying in a competition at King Mountain, Idaho, an area we'd be passing by on our way to Custer, South Dakota.

The thing is, a road trip is not just a road trip, time spent in the car going to a particular place. It is time spent together, taking in the stories the passing landscape tells, the way distant stars quietly tell their stories with every twinkle. It is time spent together writing the story of our friendship.

We passed through the valley that would soon be in the news for a certain bird sacntuary standoff, then emerged onto the great plains, stopping briefly in Boise, merely a name on the map until you actually go there. At elevations second only to Colorado's we drove through the vast oil fields of Wyoming and past the coal mines lower down. Along the way, the two words exchanged between myself and a young man at a gas station, the only personal contact we had with people in that state, spoke volumes. It's easy to snear at the coal and gas industries, but in some places it is a people's life blood, not unlike how buffalo were once so essential to the plains Indians. The plains Indians... now there's a story.