Roadtrip. It just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? I’ve been to or through just about everywhere you can travel in a car in this country. Every year growing up the family would take a road trip somewhere in the country. As an adult most of our trips were focused closer to home, while our children were growing up, but once the kids were grown we had some time to reinstate the roadtrip tradition. There probably aren’t too many National Parks or prominent tourist attractions I haven’t been to. It’s not just going to those recognized attractions that have colored my life, but all the real estate, stops for meals, and days and nights spent in different places along the way that weave my tapestry of memories. Being at the destination and getting to the destination are two very different things. On the way to the goal location are hundreds of miles of other places to see and experience before reaching that ultimate destination. A wealth of scenery, culture, and epicurean delights between here and there make the family roadtrip worthwhile. So much is missed in an airplane because the plane is flying over the best stuff. The heart and soul of the country isn’t at Disneyland. Disneyland is awesome, it’s entertaining, it’s fun, but it’s not what makes this country what it is. This country is made up of the bread-and-butter folk who live in and nurture all the places between here and there. You can get from here to Los Angeles in a few hours by plane, and that’s great; but a 2-week road trip to Disneyland and back will provide so much more than putting your hands in the prints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or swinging around Disneyland on the Dumbo ride. Don’t get me wrong. I adore the ‘big-box’ spots. I have enjoyed all of them, and by all, I mean all. Depending on your route a roadtrip can take you through Amana Colonies in Iowa, or the Ozarks and Meramec Caverns in Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas, the deserts of Texas, the Native American reservations in New Mexico, the Grand Canyon and Painted Desert in Arizona, or a northern route to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, or Little Big Horn and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, an opportunity to buy turquoise jewelry or a woven blanket from the native who made it in Taos, New Mexico, or authentic Mexican Food in a village along the border, the San Diego port with the huge vessels, or the Rockies, or any of the other millions of places along whichever route you take.
Recently we wanted to take a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. On the way there we found ourselves at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland; Niagara Falls in New York and Canada, a ride up to Cape Cod in Maine, trippin’ down to Derek Jeter’s last homestand at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, a couple of nights in Times Square in the heart of Broadway; the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Boston Harbor where the famed tea party was re-enacted, followed the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to Jacksonville, Florida, we hit Washington, DC, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Monticello, Williamsburg, Richmond, Savannah, Georgia, the Smokey Mountains, Chatanooga, Tennessee, Nashville, Saint Louis, et al. There was a travel trove of history such as Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and WWII, sites, President’s homes, forts, museums, and vessels throughout and don’t forget all the beautiful lighthouses, beaches, and food experiences. All these wonderful places in our circuitous route from here to there and back.
I could recount all the places I’ve been and things I’ve seen and experiences I’ve had on roadtrips, but we’d be here all day and then some. Anyway, the best way to find out is to experience it yourself. Get out there America! My favorite shoutout is, “I’m riding shotgun!”… Sandy