The reach

Bunker Hill
Leah and Charles at the Bunker Hill end point of the Freedom Trail in Boston.

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”

Robert Browning’s quote came to mind when we called off our cross-country trip the other day. I’ll admit, I don’t know anything about Browning’s poem, “Andrea del Sarto,” from which it is extracted, but the meaning of this line is clear to me. We should attempt more than we expect to achieve.

Believing that, one must be prepared to accept the times one’s grasp does not extend to his or her reach.

So, I wasn’t too disturbed by the failure. I knew, from the beginning, it was an ambitious endeavor.

To background, Leah and I set out with our 11-year-old grandson to drive U.S. Highway 20 – Route 20 – from its origin near Boston Common in Massachusetts to its end near the Pacific Ocean in Newport, Ore., some 3,365 miles that makes it the longest highway in the country.

I cannot tell you why, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do. When we decided to keep our grandson for a while in order for our daughter to study for her bar exam, we came up with the traveling idea.

We spent a week getting in position for the trip and a week traveling before we admitted to ourselves there just wasn’t time. Driving a highway that routes through hundreds of small towns and that is not marked well in cities (we lost the trail more than once) was slower than I expected.

Charles was, overall, a pretty good sport about it, but it was painfully obvious he simply did not find it nearly as interesting as we did.

So, we cut our losses early and returned the boy to his folks. Leah and I will soon be back at Darien Lake in western New York for our summer job, starting a couple of weeks earlier than we planned.

I’m a little disappointed about not finishing, but there’s an occasional price for pursuing dreams; I’m OK with it. Maybe there will be another attempt. Maybe we’ll just leave it at this.

Right now, I’m thinking about what to do next.

3 thoughts on “The reach”

  1. How far did you get? From my point of view, you probably drove the prettiest part! Did I tell you that when Kirk and I were first going out, every other weekend one or the other of us drove 20 across NY to visit each other?


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