There are two types of road trippers in this world- those that get there and those that get it. See, for me, a road trip isn’t just about getting from A to Z and zooming past all the other letters in a blur. It’s more like A to Z, stopping at the letters in between that look interesting along the way. Unless there is a real need to get to Z by a certain time, why not stop at that fruit stand selling those fresh picked peaches, the scenic outlook, or sitting down at a local favorite diner instead of whizzing through some fast food joint? Road trips ought to be enjoyed every step of the way and if you can’t do that, pick another weekend.
A few years back, my then husband and I visited my folks in North Carolina. My youngest brother was stationed at Camp David and he got us passes to see it. We flew to North Carolina on a Thursday. From Washington, it’s about an 8 hour trip. Then you factor in the time that we left our house to the time we arrived at my folks and it was swiftly approaching eleven hours. The very next day, we piled into a Jeep Liberty and began the long trip to Maryland. It was my folks in the front and my husband, middle brother and me in the back seat. Now, as mentioned before, I’m a plus sized girl. My ex isn’t heavy but he’s not a slight man either. And then there is my brother. He’s about 6’4” with long grasshopper legs and a beefy frame. Oh yeah. It was cozy in the back of that Jeep. All eight hours were just peachy- if peaches were best served bruised beyond all recognition.
We stopped twice on the way up- once for gas and once to eat at a Hardees. Don’t you think it would have been nice to pull over once or twice more so we could all resume our natural shapes every so often? We didn’t. We arrived in Maryland and my folks dropped us off at my younger brother’s place to get reacquainted (we played drinking games). On Saturday we toured Antietam and Camp David. That night we ate cake to celebrate my upcoming birthday. We drank again. On Sunday we drove home. The way back was almost as bad save for the fact that Dad did let us stop for fifteen minutes at an antique mall my Mom had been pleading with him to stop at for the previous year. We made up for the lost time by scarfing down our fast food combo creations fifteen minutes quicker down the road. The next day, the ex and I flew home.
Let’s recap- fly in, drive, drink, tour a deluxe Boy Scout camp while hung over, get lost at a civil war battlefield while still hung over(saving that story for later), argue with the father figure, drink some more, drive, fly out.
We had a strict “No Road Trip” rule after that attached to our North Carolina visits after that. Of course my parents constitute anything past going to Target, work, or church as a road trip so the visits thereafter were much more boring. It saved us money, though; we visited less.
Shortly after that we went on a road trip from Olympia, WA to Podunk, Idaho to see the in-laws’ extended family. We drove with my ex’s folks and the trip started off with my father-in-law inviting me to shout out whenever I saw anything worth stopping at. I’m fairly certain this was the trip we spent an hour and a half at a waterfall. The whole town was coated in a fog that reeked of a paper mill and had bed bugs been a problem at that point, I’m fairly certain they’d have infested every inch of our motel. Plus, we got to spend an afternoon with a grandma so far gone I found myself looking for her marionette strings.
All in all, neither of these trips will ever go down as The Best Road Trip Ever® but, hey, with the trip to Idaho, I remember a gorgeous waterfall. The North Carolina one was so bad that I shutter involuntarily whenever I see a Jeep. So, stop often and thank me later.