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My "travel lover" Jon, from Portland, Oregon, flew to New York and joined me for a coast to coast drive that would take me to my new apartment in Hollywood. We were in my 1999 Cadillac DeVille Concours – with OnStar, Heated Seats, Climate Control and incredible Boze Sound System. It was like driving cross country in your living room.
We weren't in a hurry. This trip was a dream I'd had all my life – to travel from sea to shining sea, taking time all across America to see inspiring sights and meet interesting people. Jon and I allowed three weeks to reach Los Angeles, and we drove only about three-hundred miles a day, with adequate time at each stop to explore and enjoy.
We left Manhattan early one morning, exactly a month before 9/11, drove into western Pennsylvania and checked into a charming historic hotel near architect Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent "Fallingwater" home, which we toured the next day. Then -- westward HO!
We went up into the St. Louis Arch. We spent a night with my eccentric friend Wade in Kansas City, and after dinner he showed a movie of our choice in the 300-seat fantasy he built adjacent to his home – The Dream Theatre – complete with neon marquee and fresh popcorn in the lobby. We made sure to arrive in Oklahoma City in time to join hundreds of individuals who gather each sunset between the green grassy slopes along the silvery pool that honors the 168 humans who died in the terrorist bombing of the Federal Building in 1995.
There were fun times, and there were solemn moments. America is quite a quilt. The only place we stayed two nights was my home in Austin. Then we drove west to Indian Village in the Davis Mountains -- on to Carlsbad Caverns -- Flagstaff, Arizona -- Las Vegas (OK, we also stayed two nights there, but that wasn't our original plan. And what happened -- stays there!)
CLICK HERE: Ten Years in Hollywood