In a galaxy far, far away, or more accurately, during a time long, long ago……Bill and I loved to take road trips. The truth is, I think our hearts are still willing, but our bodies are not. A few hours in the car, and Bill and I walk like C3PO. But I do love me a road trip.
We both have a fondness for road trips because we took them as children with our respective families. Every year, Bill’s family packed up the car and headed to his paternal grandmother’s home in Statesville, North Carolina – a couple of days’ drive from Chicago. And I have spoken ad nauseum about our family vacations to Colorado from Nebraska.
Road trips are fun. Road games. Rest stop picnics. Stopovers at the site of the World’s Largest Wad of Gum. Of course, Bill says his father was much more reluctant to stop along the way, driving past kid-requested stops so fast they were merely a blur. Our dad was more willing to stop. He was so glad to get a break from his hard job that he would gladly pull over at the historic marker for the site at which the Ouija Board received its name (a real thing) at the request of one of his kids.
Ten or 12 years ago, Bill and I took a wonderful road trip from Denver east and south, ultimately resulting in a visit to both of his brothers – one who lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and one who lives in Birmingham, Alabama. On our way, we drove through southeast Colorado, parts of Kansas and Missouri (including an overnight in Branson, MO), Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee (where we peaked through the fence of Graceland, but were too cheap to buy the tickets to see the inside of Elvis’ famous house). We ate Memphis barbecue and Kansas City barbecue, had to join some sort of a one-day club in order to have a glass of wine in some small town in Kansas, and ate the tastiest banana puddin’ at a little café in North Carolina. We got a speeding ticket in either Missouri or Kansas, and bought a beautiful coffee table at a furniture store in North Carolina, which still graces our living room in Denver. I don’t know how many miles we drove, but I do remember that they were mostly two-lane highways, and that Bill drove every single mile of the trip, not because I wouldn’t drive, but because, well, he’s Bill.
I’m so happy that we took that trip when we did, because as I mentioned earlier, now we probably wouldn’t survive that much time in the car. Our son Dave and his family took a three-month trip in an RV a few years ago, where they toured much of the eastern United States. Now that’s the way to go. Stretch out and relax. Well, unless you’re the driver. Anyhoo, they’re talking about doing it again, only this time visiting the western states.
If that’s what they plan to do, they should read this article, which I found fascinating. A group of scientists (who apparently have little interest in anything like finding solutions to climate change or curing cancer) used a complicated mathematical process to determine the most efficient way to visit the 48 contiguous states in the shortest period of time. All stops had to be at a national site such as a park or monument.
The route that the scientists came up with would take 224 hours (some nine days) of driving time. Some of the stops included in the Most Magnificent Road Trip EVER are the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Alamo, Graceland, Fort Sumter, Mount Vernan, the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, Hoover Dam. You get it. The list goes on and on, as you will see if you read the article.
Personally, if I was going to do another road trip, my goal would be to visit every tourist attraction you read about on a roadside sign. Alligator farms, Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Museum, UFO sites, the Salt and Pepper Museum, and on and on…..
Just like the hoity-toity scientists’ road trip, mine would also take two to three months. Let’s face it, you can’t just run in and out quickly when you’re looking at toilet art.
This post linked to Grammy’s Grid.