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Road Trip Epic

May 28, 2015 , , , , , , , ,

Christmas 1960 Pam & Father

Christmas 1960 Pam & Father

When Jack Kerouac was on the road with Neal Cassady they immortalized a time in America marked by dramatic change. In the 1950’s I was on the road frequently myself.  I lived in Pittsburgh and my paternal grandparents had a farm in Arkansas.  I went with my parents to visit the farm on holidays. We had a giant Buick sedan for most of my childhood.  The entire back seat was my space, complete with bedding and books.  My mom packed food and drinks so my dad could “make good time” on the road.  There was always time to stop at the catfish farm near Louisville, Kentucky to catch and eat catfish.  I was heavily into that place.

My 1950’s road trips in no way resembled the Beat generation experience.  When I read On the Road in the 60’s it was hard to imagine that we had been alive in the same 50’s decade.  My parents were into helping my grandparents in Arkansas then hauling back produce and meat from the farm to Pittsburgh.  The Beat Poets were into drinking, sexual experimentation, and living from hand to mouth.  My grandparents’ farm in Arkansas and Alan Ginsberg’s poetry farm had nothing in common, other than the word farm. Their worlds would never meet.  I listened to Ginsberg read Howl and other poetry on stage at Duke University as part of the cultural enrichment program in 1969. This performance might have shocked my parents to death, but they would have no contact with any such thing.  The road had changed significantly from the vision my parents cherished of America.  The times were a changing.

My parents continued to love driving and road trips until the end because it gave them a sense of freedom. We sang and played games in the car when I was a kid.  I did a lot of driving as an adult, but now am content to stay very close to home.  I drive less than 200 miles a month normally, which is just my style.  I am very glad, however, that I did hit the road early in life and often.  I have fond and vivid memories of exciting epic adventures that could only happen on road trips.  Do you have a favorite memory of travel by car, gentle reader?



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When I read this post it sounded like a 50ies American movie to me. I love driving myself and take the same sense of freedom from it as you describe. However, driving in the US is a lot different and a lot more freedom. About 10 years ago I drove through Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and some more states. I really appreciated the liberty of the large interstates, the views over fields that seemed like the Ponderosa ranch to.


Brigitte Kobi

May 29, 2015

I always fancied myself a bit of a Dean Moriarity type. Dean and Sal lived the romantic lifestyle that I would have. Great picture of you and your grandfather. The face is unmistakably Pam!


Marc Zazeela

May 29, 2015

That is my dad. Thanks Marc. They were different times, and I always wanted to be a beatnik…born too late


Pamela Morse

May 29, 2015

Love the comparison. I read the same book in college, It was like looking through a kaleidoscope and seeing things in such a unique way. Kerouac and friends were wild and crazy.. things they did then were outrageous…. today they would be more mainstream.


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