When the moon peeps over the mountain, Little girl I’ll be on my way. I’m gonna roll the highway until the break of day.
I’ve taken Highway 1 north to Iowa City hundreds of times over the years. It’s a wonderful sixty minute trip from my home in Fairfield, Iowa. I lived there for thirteen years, where I graduated from the University of Iowa after becoming a pot smoking hippie in the late sixties, where my brother attended and taught at the famous Writer’s Workshop – my big brother brought me there in the first place.
Iowa City is in many ways “my” place. It was where I first started to feel free after leaving the east coast after graduating from high school. Iowa City has historically been a mecca for writers and artists, and was once the home of Kurt Vonnegut and many other famous authors. It was where I learned to meditate, met my closest friends, and finally felt at home. It is where I finally found what had been missing.
And this drive is reminiscent of older days, before interstates and the madness of freeways, the days of Highway 66, the days of Jack Kerouac, a time when families took off in cars for road trips across the country before you had to wear seat belts or thought about the cost of gasoline.
Going north on Highway 1, I travel through small towns that are throwbacks to the fifties – Brighton, Washington, and Kalona. I see the land on either side of me, the acres of fields that now grow genetically modified crops of soy and corn, but are still beautiful in waves of colors of wheat and green. I see cows and sheep and horses. I see the horses and buggies of the Amish in Kalona, and know I have only 20 minutes to go before I’m in Iowa City. I am always impressed by the big sky and the big open spaces, and I cannot imagine living anywhere where the sky is small or the traffic is congested, or where I cannot see the land for miles and miles.