America On the Road Again

Even if you weren’t around in 1980 when Willie Nelson released his Oscar nominated song “On the Road Again,” you’ve probably heard it.  Others, including Elmo from Sesame Street, have vocalized those lyrics over the years.  As we emerge from this Covid lock down, that tune keeps running through my head.  “I can’t wait to get on the road again—to see places that I’ve never been.” 

While planes and trains are once again on the move, automobiles continue to be American’s favorite way to travel.  Of course, the current shortage of cars that the auto industry is experiencing is almost as bad as our toilet paper and Clorox wipes shortages last year.   So, if you don’t have a car, you may have to wait.  If you have one, even with the high gas prices, a road trip seems preferable to a crowded airplane with narrow seats and masks.  And there is a romance about the road----at least that is what novelist Edith Wharton said back in 1908, “The motor car has restored the romance of travel.”  Or as Professor Harold Hill told us in Music Man, the Model T Ford made the “people want to get, want to go, want to get up and go.”

As the Smithsonian re-opens, one exhibit that might be of interest is “America on the Move” at the Museum of American History.
  An ongoing presentation, it explores everything from covered wagons and boats to planes and motorcycles.  The Smithsonian owns over 200 vehicles, and they occasionally change out the cars on display in the Transportation Hall.  While you are there do not be surprised if you find yourself humming Willy Nelson’s “On the road again, On the road again, I want to see some places that I’ve never been.  I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

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