Follow along as Clay searches for America on his Steinbeck-inspired journey across the country.
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Thursday, June 13th

Trying to Make Sense of It All

I’m alone on pad 1 waiting for liftoff. This is the dullest place I have ever been.

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Wednesday, June 12th

Leadville, Adventure, and Gratitude

How fortunate I am to have this life. There are many difficulties, and downsides. I won’t enumerate them. But the upside is amazing and purely good. I get to do things like this and call it work. I get to read for a living. I can turn my adventures into stories.

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Hear Clay’s dispatch from a highway in Colorado.

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Tuesday, June 11th

I Fell in Love with America All Over Again

The night before, at another camp altogether, I heard a lone man, ca. 35 or 40 years old, play a ukulele for a couple of hours, just plucking out rhythms and bits of song.

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Monday, June 10th

Traveling with Each of My Characters

All hail Jefferson for the patience and persistence he showed in vindicating the American experiment, and letting Napoleon suggest the purchase as a way of solving some of his own pressing problems. Jefferson could not have done what I am doing. He was too civilized.

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Sunday, June 9th

I Know the Path Well Enough

Sundays always remind me of my father Charles Everett Jenkinson. He has been dead for a quarter of a century now, but on Sundays I often miss him acutely. But he would never come on such a trip, not for all the money in the world. He thought camping was very silly: why jettison ten thousand years of improvements in comfort to sleep under a tree?

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Saturday, June 8th

Water, Stubble, and the Enlightenment

There is a “dispensary” in nearly every block of the main streets of larger Colorado towns. People at tables talk “weed” as people elsewhere talk sports or current events.

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Friday, June 7th

The Rig Under a Billion Stars

When I stepped out, all I saw was a billion stars above the pine trees. That alone made the trip satisfying. There are few sounds more satisfying than a breeze in pine trees. It is a different sound from breeze in cottonwoods. They thwattle and click, because the dance of the leaves makes them bump into each other.

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Hear Clay call in to talk about his travels with David.

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Wednesday, June 5th

Crazy Horse and Carhenge

I am hoping by this time tomorrow I will be John Steinbeck’s lesser cousin Chip Steinbeck somewhere in a state park, of which there are very many, in Colorado.

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Hear Clay’s dispatch from Denver, CO.

Listen to Clay on the McFeely Mess podcast.

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Tuesday, June 4th

ICBMs, Wall Drug and the Badlands

My goal, as always, is to avoid the interstate highway system whenever possible. The secondary roads are always more interesting. The pace is slower. The surrounding countryside is closer at hand. There is a retro-America feel to travel.

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Hear Clay’s dispatch from Highway 71.