Wednesday, 30 June 2010

An American adventure

... my parents were setting off on an American adventure of their own. My idea was that they should fly to Minneapolis, rent a car, and drive to Seattle along the minor highways of the West, taking the better part of two weeks. No interstates, I said; choose dirt roads over blacktops. Use the DeLorme state atlases, with their large scale and full contours. They'd put up for the night in one- or no-stoplight towns. I promised them that they would discover an America rarely seen by Americans. They'd cross the Plains, the Rockies, the Cascades. My plan was that they'd lose their ingrained British notions of ' the Yanks' and see something of the grand, complicated, and hospitable country that had made an immigrant of me. I saw them arriving in Seattle astonished at the country, all their preconceptions and prejudices gone by the board.

Jonathan Raban: A Passage to Juneau

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