Driving from New York to Colorado

Driving most of the way across the country is a special kind of experience. The scenery is mostly the backs of big trucks ahead of you, and the sides of big trucks you are passing or are passing you and the sometimes miles-long orange pylons and other markers of construction zones, in about 90% of which no construction is taking place. The air feels, looks, and smells in the yellow range on the AirNow.gov meter, sometimes transitioning into orange or green. The big chain motels are variations on an uninspiring theme, but functional. The “fitness centers” are an essential innovation, as is a mini fridge in every room. Bringing your food in a big cooler is key to maintaining a survivable diet. Rewarding views are scarce but some of them leave satisfying imprints in memory. The windmills stand like giant sentinels, swinging their great arms in the wind.