on the road: part two

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“what is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by.  but we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

what did you all think of part two of on the road? this section of the book finds sal (kerouac) back on the east coast settling in to a quiet contentedness with his girl and school and family, when a surprise visit from dean takes him on another wild cross-country journey.  this trip’s scenery, traveling in dean’s car along with his girl Marylou and their friend ed dunkel, reminds me of my own road trip as they take the southern route across the country.  they stop in new orleans to visit old bull lee (in reality, william s. burroughs), a heroin addict who brings out the madness of the intimate group.  after new orleans, they continue moving on through texas, new mexico, arizona, and then into san francisco via the oakland bay bridge.  this portion of the book is more about their journey on the road than what happens when they get there…which ends up not being much, as sal finds himself broke and homeless, wandering the streets in search of something he never finds.  part two ends with him returning back east, unsure of whether or not he’ll ever see dean again.  why do you think he went on this trip? and why do you think it ends on such a melancholy note?

have any of you ever taken a road trip? where did you start and where did you end up?

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