Man vs. Machine III "Cage Match" / by Brian Beck

The bags are in the trunk, the camping gear is loaded, the cooler is packed and it's time for the main event, the road trip I've been waiting what seems like years embark upon.  I've imagined the pavement rolling by under my wheels, the open road unfurling before me like a promise waiting to be fulfilled, a destiny of possibility muddled with the smell of asphalt and late summer.  The road is a metaphor for life--there's hope, possibility... everything that you imagined was waiting for you when you were young.  Everything your high school teacher said was out there waiting for you in the "real world" if you worked hard, studied hard and followed the conventional wisdom.  I did all those things and yet deep underground, for all these years, the optimist in me was conspiring to a different future.  The days will be about preventing my children from killing each other in the back seat, but the next three weeks of evenings, after the kids are fast asleep in the tent, will be mine to write, work on my photography, look up at the stars and contemplate the possibilities.  On Sunday evening around 6pm, I'll release the parking brake, turn on some Springsteen soft and low, and point the hood bird into the desert for the first 500 miles of dark open road.  I can't wait.