Latitude 63.3367° N
To a truck driver, the Haul Road to the Arctic Ocean is North America’s final frontier. But since I’m a not-really-trucking kind of truck driver, crossing the Yukon into Alaska is mine.
The best office window in the world is in my tractor. We spent the night in a pullout and woke up to this scene — Matanuska Glacier.
Only the bold drive the lonely, two-lane Alaska-Canadian Highway, known to the world as the Alaska Highway. Here, cellphones flash No Service for hours, there are 290 moose to every one elk wandering the muskeg and the boreal forest of coniferous trees and almost no people.
Mostly empty as far as the eye can see, driving across Texas is an intense experience.
Desolate and monochromatic, the vast emptiness is dotted by millions of grazing cattle, thousands of genuflecting oil derricks, wild boar hurtling across the Interstate , abandoned, re-imagined and rejuvenated towns, and magically, from the rolling hills and steep plateaus both gleaming cities and industrial monoliths appear like Oz.
Early morning on Gruene’s main corner. The mercantile building is to the left and the Gristmill is the former Cotton Gin now a restaurant with 11 distinct dining areas.
Since the early 1700s, Mexicans, Europeans, most notably Germans, and Americans have been staking claims in this too-cold-and-too-hot barren and brutal landscape.
San Antonio, Texas
I came prepared to mock it.
Without seeing the network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story below the city’s downtown, lushly subtropical, fragrant and guarded by 400-year-old Cypress trees, I dismissed it as a corporate river, expecting an abundance of the typical tourist shops, selling the typical tourist product, fudge.
One-story below downtown San Antonio is a 2.5 mile stone pathway winding its way along a lush and fragrant walkway. Two parallel walkways along the Paseo del Rio wind and loop through downtown.
Instead, after walking the picturesque stone paths, I was impressed by the city’s historic centerpiece, the San Antonio River Walk. It is a prime example of the quintessential American recipe for development.
We smelled it before we turned the corner. The heady aroma of sizzling beef.
“Brought to you by iOS9,” said MacGyver as we pulled up to The Brick. A one-story, red brick building with the bad ass architectural element of a door straight out the back for quick getaways whether from the spouse, the law or the revenuers.
The Brick, a burger and beer joint, located in Jonesville, Indiana, off I-65, first opened for business in the early 1900s. During Prohibition it became a gas station. Its current look is from the 70s, fake wood paneling and naugahyde booths and bar stools.
The new iPhone operating system has a right swipe to find local dining, shopping and entertainment. He clicked on the “bar” tab and up came The Brick. The Yelp reviews say: Talk to Columbus (Indiana) people and they’ll tell you The Brick has the best burger anywhere hands down.