#441 The point on a road trip when you’re really far from where you started and really far from where you’re going

Do you know that rickety bridge scene from the movies?

Violins screech and kettle drums swell as our hero tiptoes across a dangerous rope bridge swinging wildly over a dark canyon at the pulsing climax of the film. The audience gasps and grips their armrests as she kicks a loose plank and the camera painfully watches it whip and shatter against the rocky cliffside before falling into the deep river rapids below.

But after some tense moment there’s a beautiful wide shot of our hero stepping slowly past the saggy midpoint of that flimsy bridge… and that’s when she first commits to going all the way. Turning back isn’t a shortcut anymore, turning back isn’t an option, and so she firms those lips, steadies those hips, and plows forward with steely-eyed determination till she gets to the other side.

Scenes like that remind me of hitting that beautiful middle-of-nowhere midpoint on a road trip. You had the guts to tiptoe out of your neighborhood and now you’re a highway explorer whipping past barns and water towers, twiddling with new radio stations, and staring up at a whole new world just a few feet away…


Thank you for making The Book of Awesome a #1 bestseller for 15 weeks.

Photos from: here and here

44 thoughts on “#441 The point on a road trip when you’re really far from where you started and really far from where you’re going

  1. I have actually never been on a road trip so I don’t know the feeling but it sure sounds awesome. If I ever have the chance to do so I will most likely be thinking of you;)

  2. A perfect point in the journey … you’re all getting along and you’re finally really ON the trip. Usually the first little bit is so close to home that it just feels like you’re on a run-of-the-mill adventure to the next town. You’re also not yet to the point where you’re annoyed with anyone or with being in the car for SO LONG. Though once that stage hits you can usually let the excitement and anticipation of destination arrival take over. :)

    Now I really have the urge to take a road trip!

    1. Plus, this is the sweet spot where you haven’t gotten tired of all the good car games (alphabetically naming countries/states, 20 questions, zitchdog, etc..), so you’re still fully entertained.

      Ditto for not being entirely sick of the mix-CD you made for your journey.

      1. Zitchdog??

        My very first roadtrip with my bff was just a few months ago and she played the same song over and over again the entire trip. It was funny for the first few hours……

        Anytime I go west of my town I feel like I’m on a road trip, even if its just to the next town. I don’t go that way very often, so its always an adventure to me.

  3. road trips cure all evils. and for me, there’s the point of quintessential happiness: sun is shining, the perfect song is on the radio, and a smile wider than the grand canyon. absolute perfection.

  4. Living in the long skinny state of Florida, I’m always excited to finally reach the state line after driving for hours. That’s when the road trip adventure really begins.

    1. Exactly! We live in Southwest Florida. My family and I were driving up to North Carolina, and most of the driving was to just get out of Florida. Then it took us no time at all to get across states.

      “Georgia? Already? I thought- Whoa, now we’re in South Carolina? Craaazzzy stuff, man, crazy stuff!”

  5. I like it when we’re flying to vacation and the pilot announces that we’ve reached the halfway point. Now if there is a (minor) problem, we have to go on to our destination rather than turn back.
    Hopefully, by the time we return, they would have fixed the (minor) problem aand we will have a safe trip home.

    By the way, getting home after a long vacation is also Awesome.

  6. This is uaully the part where I’m the most excited. It’s rare that I go on big long drives, and when we hit this point I know that there’s no turning back now. It always makes me feel super adventurous (even though typically my trips are premeditated and approved by the parents…typically) when I reach the point when I’m in the middle of the mountains of Tennessee. So good.

  7. Wow seeing that Rope Bride pic and remembering how I crossed it a few months ago made my day! the countryside was just so beautiful!

  8. This is such an appropriate post for me!! My fiance and I are starting our road trip tomorrow afternoon! We’re driving from Houston to Jensen Beach, FL (18-19 hour drive total). I’ve never been to Florida, so it makes it extra special. :)

    I know what y’all mean about taking forever to get out of Florida though…it takes two days to get across Texas, whether it’s Houston to El Paso, or the Panhandle to South Padre! It’s ridiculous!

    Now I’m REALLY ready for our trip!!

  9. Being married to the military, I have driven across Canada several times and it’s always awesome!! My favourite part is reaching the hotel after 16 hrs of driving… you’re still only 1/3 of the way to where you are going and the hotel is usually in a small town in Northern Ontario or the middle of the Prairies. You get outta the car, take a big stretch, find your room and flop on the bed (and it could be the most uncomfortable bed, but at that moment, it’s bliss). Then, while you eat pizza or chinese food or local diner food at the only restaurant within walking distance, you grab the map and determine how far along the TransCanada you think you could make it the next day (give or take whether you decide to sleep in).

    Small hotels in small town rural Canada are one of the BEST parts of the multi-day road trip!!!!!!!

    1. And with any luck there’s some sort of “oversized” attraction, like a giant Goose or Muskoka Chair or Fire Hydrant or something!

        1. I once stopped in the small town of Lucas, Kansas, and saw “The World’s Largest Collections of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things”, and it was AWESOME!

          Read that sentence once more and you’ll figure out what they had.

          For example, you know how you saw the world’s largest rocking chair? They would go to that chair, and make a really tiny miniature version of that giant chair. Then they do this over and over again, until they get the world’s largest collection of these little models.

          Weird, weird stuff.

        2. First of all, Freddo, that sort of blew my mind.

          And Laura, if you had taken me on a road trip to see the famous “Route 66 Rocker” I’d have been more than a little disappointed, not to mention dressed completely inappropriately.

  10. Aha, the nefarious midpoint promises the glass is half-full; halfway is a word, right? America’s undisputed best road trip is the TransAmerica Trail for bicyclists wanting summer fun. Established in 1976, it follows a greenbelt across the USA, 4,254 scenic miles of endless highway. The 1976 Bikecentennial was when I did it, Reedsport OR to Yorktown VA, 37 flat tires, side trips to Denver and Aspen…awesome. Curiously, the trip is very popular with Europeans.
    About halfway, 3 cronies and I decided to do a double century, using a tailwind across the barren Kansas flats. Usually, a days ride was from 60 to 90 miles, but tailwinds were helping and I had finally toughed up (229#s to 208#s in 6 weeks), quit smoking camels, stopped swilling beer, and welcomed being in shape again at 24 years young. Others, from eight to eighty, went that year. I never finished the double century, crashed my bike on July third with eight miles left, blinded by some rednecks high-beams. Local farmers put me up, fed me steak, found a chum who could weld molebdinum alloy, fixed my bike and put me on their 4th of July float…Gob bless America, especially Kansas!

  11. I love road trips. I haven’t been on many, though. Other than school trips, I only remember 2 road trips while still living at home. We made two trips to Mississippi to visit family. After I moved out, I went a lot of places…. hubby use to have a job that required him to travel a lot and I went with him on the big ones when I could. Loved it!! Our road trips are kinda limited nowadays.
    Being in the middle is great, you’re still pumped about the trip, not too annoyed by traffic, not quite hungry enough to have to stop, and the gas tank isn’t empty yet.

    And why does it seem like the ride back home is shorter than the ride there??

  12. The picture is of the carrick a reed rope bridge which I live really near beside! I live in northern Ireland and I love this post cos that’s exactly what it feels like on the bridge. Love your blog.

  13. Funny how most people thought you were actually talking about a road trip! Love the metaphor though about being at the midpoint of “anything really”.

    Can so relate to the swinging bridge… having come too far to ever go back… but with the destination still a long way off. But at least I’m halfway there. Wherever “there” is. And that must surely count for something. Right?[grin]

    Thanks for the AWESOME reminder!

  14. What about that blissful moment mid-vacation when you realize that you aren’t on schedule any more – you can do absolutely anything or nothing at all? Almost as good as knowing that no one from the office has a clue where you are and you don’t have a clue what they are doing. ;-)

  15. OK, after having made it to Florida, I REALLY know what you mean!! We drove down I-10, then Florida Scenic Highway 40, then I-95 down to Jensen Beach…it seemed like it took FOREVER! And all we saw was trees…LOTS of trees. I was beginning to think that there was no ocean in Florida! When we finally saw the ocean (nearly to our destination), I was so relieved! :)

  16. Ironically, the rope bridge in Carrick-a-Rede was this exact point. It was a day trip, and Carrick-a-Rede took us two hours to get to before our finally stop and the turn back.

  17. Oh how I love a swinging bridge; memories of some good times at Lynn and Capilano Canyon. In the last home we lived, we designed and constructed a suspension bridge which went from one half the loft to the other which was a den. We called it the bridge over troubled waters and it was awesome:)

  18. One time while travelling through the Kootenays, and on a ferry, we heard this car load of city children whining at their parents that if they had to look at one more tree, one more mountain or one more lake, they were going to die. The next line out of the father’s mouth was, “If I hear another ungrateful word leave any one of your mouths, you’re going to be spending the rest of your life here!” There was silence, well except for the rest of the passengers who were snickering.

  19. Metaphorically speaking though…
    awareness: I’ve been planked and remarkably suvived.
    attitude: So close to sweet destination, I can taste it.
    authenticity: Wait~ that’s my Heavenly Hash Ice cream in a waffle cone!
    awesome: Actually, all true…

  20. The moment in life when you realize how important cartoons are to the world but your also 23…

  21. You are braver than II’ve picked this up several times, but could not bring myself to buy it. Thanks for taking one for the team!

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