I swear that I can tell you without reading the signs when I have crossed over from one state to the next. Something changes—the sense of prosperity versus struggle, the road construction, the vegetation, something intangible that distinguishes Florida-ness from Georgia-ness, North Carolinian from Tennessean.
I met a friend in darkest Florida this week. We stayed at an 1870s old-Florida inn on the Baron River in Everglades City, decorated with trophy fish, stuffed otters, alligator jaws. I could almost see Teddy Roosevelt’s reflection in the varnished oxblood floors.
Nostalgia may be a common sign of aging, but it makes for great expeditions. On a bright, but wintry March 17 we went looking for our past in the Catskills. Near South Fallsburg we found this derelict colony and entered the yard as far away from the No Trespassing sign as we could find a break in the chain-link fence.
In three days I will begin a journey I have thought about all my adult life. I will point my Prius south with a concept more than a plan, and travel around the edges of the United States for the next three months.