You turn a sharp bend and it feels the same anywhere – Custer, Idaho; Egmont, B.C.; the Oregon Coast.
Dappled sun strobes through branches on the winding road; the water shimmers; the window’s rolled down. But the lichen and moss tell you that not every day feels like this one.
River roads have a very distinct personality. It’s either threatening or inviting – but I can’t tell which.
The river doesn’t cross under bridges; bridges are built over the river. The road hasn’t conquered nature; fallen trees, rock slides, floods slowly reclaim the road.
It's a strangely vivid experience. The mountain whips the car back and forth, threatening to teeter into the river, then threatening to steer into the cliffside. It forces you to engage in driving and in your surroundings – the deer and birds, the blue sky, the tilted trees, the song you've chosen to play.
Yet river roads create a tender space. No interaction with a stranger is more immediately bonding than the courtesy of yielding on a single-lane bridge. Conversations with another person end up some of the best ones. Silence between friends is unmatched. Driving alone somehow doesn’t feel so alone.