Have you heard the term “end of the roaders?” The term speaks, I think, to people who decide to get away and keep going down the road until it ends. In places like Alaska or Key West, and I suppose other hinterland places, the people who have chosen to wander, end up.
I’m not an “end of the roader” but do enjoy seeing the end of the road. Whether it be a path in the woods, or a dead end in a little town, or some more famous ends of roads, I want to see why it ends, where it ends, how one gets there. While on the subject, it seems like where the road starts and where it ends may be a matter of opinion, or perspective, or point in time. There’s a spiritual application to that, I’m sure, and I can’t wait to see what it is.
For instance, Route 66 “starts” in Chicago and ends in LA. When I decided to drive it, I started my trek in Santa Monica. My first picture of Route 66 was the end marker. Likewise, US1, which is a very long road, “ends” in Key West. But Mile Marker 1 of US1 in the Keys is in downtown Key West. You may have seen the MM 2 or MM 106 as you have travelled down that way. Is MM 1 the beginning of US1 or the end?
This Summer, Janice and I decided (OK, she acquiesced to my request) to check out the end of I-95 in Holton, Maine, and the end of US1 farther north from there, in Port Kent, Maine. Now, I understand why I-95 ends in Miami. But on the other hand I don’t understand why it goes to Holton. At the very end of I-95 (or is it the beginning?) is a border crossing into the middle of absolutely nowhere Canada. I can say I’ve been there, but the point was lost on me.
Then, we got back on US1 (someday I am going to be able to say I have driven every mile of US1!) and travelled up to Fort Kent. Fort Kent is a lovely little town. And across the border crossing lies the charming little town of Claire. Divided by the St. John River, it’s a lovely spot, and a place where historically the two sides have mingled. The evidence is in the French legacy of that part of Maine. Travelling to the end of US1 is worthwhile—I-95 not so much.
I started life in Arcadia, California. A couple of years ago I went back to the place where my road started. The hospital is still there where I was born though it doesn’t look like the black and white photos my Dad took when I was brought out of it. It was good to be back there, and I pray a thanksgiving prayer for how good God has been to me along the way.
I don’t know where I will end up eventually. My suspicion is that I have already visited there. I just don’t know for sure. Well, I do visit my Dad’s grave in St. Petersburg, FL occasionally and my plot is not too far away. I have visited that spot many times because of my ancestors being buried there. I too will “rest with my fathers” (as 1 Kings 2 talks about) there in St. Pete.
So the ends matter. I have photos and stories to tell of the ends, both in life and on the road. But you know what? What makes a journey great is the stuff in between. I have a lot more photos of coastal Maine and of the rest of the Keys than I do on just the ends of US1. A lot more time is spent in between the alpha and the omega. There is a TON more to see and do along Route 66 than at its
extremes. I have photos to prove it.
It’s good to see the ends, but I don’t want to stay there. I am not an “end of the roader.” And I hope you aren’t either. There is much that God has in store for us as we go along in this life. Make sure you take some photos, make some memories, and continuously, I mean continuously, give thanks.
Enjoying the journey,
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” ~ Colossians 4:2