364 days ago at 8:37 a.m. my husband and I pulled onto Big Timber Road. As we drove out of the parking lot I went through the checklist in my mind, but I knew that if we'd forgotten anything, well, we were out of luck. For the next 31 days, we would be exploring America. Or, at least, a good-sized part of it.
It was Friday, February 17, and we were headed towards San Diego. We knew most of how we were going to get there; we had no idea how we were getting back. We just knew we had to be home again on March 19.
The reason for this journey was to discover the good in America. On Tuesday, I'd written: "I want to believe there is good everywhere. This is not a scientific endeavor, and if it were my thesis would be suspect from the start. I'm seeking the good, so I'll find it."
Boy, did we ever.
From an exuberant Mardi Gras parade in the Ozarks to hometown passion in Kansas, from a red flag day in New Mexico to the silent sand dunes in Colorado, we found wonder. As we left, I knew I wanted to experience unadulturated joy and share it as publicly and loudly as possible.
What we experienced on that cross-country journey was an American stream-of-consciousness through a joy-filtered lens. There were moments of sorrow, like when we met the World War II vet who shared the horrors he witnessed, and stepping foot on a Japanese internment camp, but those experiences added depth and complexity, making the happiness more poignant.
I tried to capture it, capture all of it, in "Two Lane Gems, Vol. 1." It's a love letter to the American road trip, meant to share that joy.
To celebrate the anniversary of a journey that significantly transformed my life, for the next 31 days I'm going to be sharing images and anecdotes from the year before on their corresponding days on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Technically, I should start this on the 17th, but the Eureka Springs Mardi Gras parade is tomorrow and I thought it would be fun to share those stories on the same day.
I'm also offering a special on the Kindle version of the book! Starting today at 8 a.m., you can get your digital download for just $4.99. Then on Saturday at 8 a.m., it will be $5.99, and on Sunday, $6.99. Monday it's back to the normal price of $9.99.
(It's always free with Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans.)
Whether you get the book or just want to follow along virtually, I hope you'll join me in this exploration of the wonder, the beauty, and the good.