Tag Archives: vacation

Summer Road Trips (redux)

[Lynda’s note: Since I’m heading out on a road trip for a few days away, I thought I’d have my “S” post bring back what is far and away the most popular post here on Second Memory — Summer Road Trips. I was fortunate enough to have this post selected as a “Freshly Pressed” post after it originally appeared on July 21, 2011. So, as I am hitting the road, here’s a little of what’s coming along with me……. Enjoy! Have a great weekend! ~ Lynda]

“On the old highway maps of America, the main routes were red and the back roads blue. Now even the colors are changing. But in those brevities just before dawn and a little after dusk—times neither day nor night—the old roads return to the sky some of its color. Then, in truth, they carry a mysterious cast of blue, and it’s that time when the pull of the blue highway is strongest, when the open road is beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.”—William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways: A Journey Into America (1982)

Summer vacation in our household always meant one thing — ROAD TRIP! Once the crops were in the field and growing strong, our family loaded up the station wagon and set out on adventures far and wide. Like other things in our household, these trips were a combination of exceptional planning and whimsical free-wheeling. Each year, the vacation had a specific theme or destination in mind, carefully chosen to balance fun and education, new experiences and landscapes with manageable adventure. But if we saw someplace fun to stop or a roadside attraction worth a look, we took the time to stop and enjoy the moments the road trip provided for us.

Take, for example, the summer we decided to tackle Civil War battlefields. Not content to sample just one or two, summertime that year was an in-depth historical journey across the eastern and gulf coast map of the major Civil War events.

Civil War Battlefields

Gettysburg, Bull Run and Fort Sumter rolled into Andersonville as we headed to our southernmost destination of New Orleans. It was there that I rode in my first taxi, forever remembered because I left a treasured shirt, hand-painted by my mother, in the back of it, only to find it returned to the hotel later by a very kind taxi driver. New Orleans also marked the first time I ever tried to eat a lobster served whole instead of just by the tail. The kindness of strangers came through again as a very patient waiter took extraordinary amounts of time to teach me how to break apart the thing, as well as the parts to avoid!

On our way back north to home, we stopped for one night at a hotel in Vicksburg. As we were loading up the car the next morning, I went exploring in the parking lot and stopped when I saw a familiar license plate. In our small town, cars changed quicker than license plates, so I grew up learning to remember plates not vehicles. My parents were unconvinced that life could be so random as to have two families from the same small town happen to stay in the same place hundreds of miles from home. I stuck to my guns, insisting that my parents ask at the desk, and I was right! We had a quick breakfast together and caught up on local news we had missed while on the road, then headed out onto separate ways, the start of their vacation and the winding down of our trip.

Some of our other memorable excursions included a long journey to the southwest, complete with my brothers scaring my mother at the rim of the Grand Canyon, a dust storm in New Mexico, and visiting Carlsbad Caverns. One year we headed northeast to New England, another west to California, and yet others to the vast open spaces of the Dakotas or across Canada.

With four kids across a thirteen-year age span, my mother was a genius at making sure our vacations went as smooth as possible. Each child started the vacation with a large paper grocery sack full of wrapped packages, one for each day on the road. At some point each day, at a time of our own choosing, we could open a new present, something she had picked especially for each of us, to entertain us. Silly and small, these daily surprises kept us entertained and engaged, whether it was an egg full of Silly Putty, a new coloring book, or a book to lose ourselves in as we covered the long miles each day.

In order to prevent arguments over money, food, and souvenirs, each child also got their own daily allowance of money to spend. Mom’s rule was pretty easy – each child had a set amount to spend, we could spend it however we wanted, but when it was gone, that was it, we were done. If I wanted that “I-have-to-have-it-or-I-will-die-right-now” item, it was mine as long as I was willing to sacrifice that amount of my budget. I still remember one of my brothers carefully guarding his daily expenditures to indulge in a very large steak for dinner one night on a trip through Texas. And if my sister wanted a hamburger for breakfast and eggs for dinner, so be it. It was her money to spend.

I learned a lot across the miles on those summer road trips — patience, cooperation, budgeting, the sheer pleasure of the open road– hanging over the back of the front seat, map in hand, navigating the blue highways over and around the miles, and finding adventure where we could.

Thinking back on those great summer road trips makes me want to head out on a summer road trip adventure.

Any suggestions?

[Note: This post is #19 of 26 of the April A-to-Z Challenge. Please see the button on the right of the page for more information.
There was no “S” post for last year’s challenge — more on that on Monday!]

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under April A-to-Z Challenge, Life

Monday Moments: National Escape Day

We feel free when we escape – even if it be but from the frying pan into the fire. ~ Eric Hoffer

Who knew there was such a thing as National Escape Day?

Not me, that’s for sure. I would have planned better for it!

In case you missed the news — it’s here!

Today!

Evidently it occurs every January 30, and how I have missed such a wonderous day in the past, I have no clue! There are a lot of “days” out there that I wonder why in the heck we are celebrating that, but escape? Count me in!

In fact, if I had to pick an escape for today? I’m thinking here would work….. just fine:

Can you smell the salty air? Feel the heat of the sun and the sand??

Nope — me neither.

*sigh*

Maybe I’ll just change my desktop picture to that one and stare at it for a bit. And start to plan for next year’s celebration of National Escape Day!

So where would you go to escape today?

2 Comments

Filed under Life, Monday Moments

Re-Entry: Or, From Where Men Wear Tigger

My view during my morning coffee

The great man is he who does not lose his child’s-heart. ~ Mencius, Book IV

*waving Hi!*

Helllllooooo out there!

Whew!

After a two-week hiatus from cyber-connectivity, I’m slowly finding my way back. What a lovely break, I must say.

We had a fun Thanksgiving with family (and you saw the picture of our 38-pound turkey!). Then the following Saturday, we headed out to Disney World, a two-day drive away from cold weather and work. For the first time, we managed to drive 2 days each direction without encountering any rain. Never done that before, as there’s always been at least one long stretch of rain, usually through the mountains somewhere.

We’ve also never, in all our visits, been at Disney World near the holidays. Wow! I kept repeating that around every corner. For those of you who know Disney, I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that decorated for the holidays means *DECORATED* for the holidays!! Every inch had something holiday-ish, yet it all worked. We never felt overwhelmed by it all, or holiday-ed out. But I will admit that after being surrounded by Disney holiday, I feel like we’ve already celebrated and should be moving on to New Year’s.

I just love being at Disney. Adults become kids again, and kids are (for the most) drawn into a fantasy-as-reality universe of amazing things. It’s a place where grown men wear Tigger. Seriously, while waiting in line for a ride (which was infrequent as early December is one of the 3 lowest-populated times at Disney!), I saw a man, probably early 60s, close-cropped silvered hair, standing talking to his wife. As he turned around to move forward, the back of his jacket has this huge Tigger on it! It was so cool I almost hugged him.

One of our favorite stops is Epcot, and this time we did it how we always said we wanted to, slow and steady. We spent the bulk of one day exploring the World Showcase in the back, and another day exploring the front portion, Futureworld. I love that the majority of the experience is educational, whether teaching about other cultures, greener living, or new technologies in the pipeline. One of our have-to stops is “The Land.” Blame it on me being a farm girl, but my husband loves it as well. We always grab a light meal in the quick-service cafeteria. This time, I had a grilled vegetable flatbread sandwich and some pumpkin-squash soup. The vegetables are mostly grown in the hydroponic gardens of the pavilion. In addition to the water ride through the gardens and Soaring (a must!), we also did the “Behind the Seeds” tour, which takes people on a tour through the hydroponic gardens and aquaculture areas. The tour talks about their bio-technology research, their green methods of pest control, and showcases the many different types of hydroponic gardening they do with their plants. Some of the easier ones you can do at home as well!

Here are a few pictures from the trip — there’s no way to capture it all, for sure.

My husband in front of the Holiday Tree at France in Epcot

Our view from the Behind the Seeds tour in the Land -- that's one of the regular tour boats coming by!

The "smallest" tree at the Wilderness Lodge

The other marvelous thing about this vacation? We gave ourselves a second week off after the week at Disney. Best. Idea. EVER. You know how people always say they need a vacation after their vacation? We did it. It’s a marvelous thing.

Hopefully you all had a good Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it). Did I miss anything fun? How’s your December going?

I can’t wait to catch up…….

1 Comment

Filed under Guest Blogger, Life

Summer Road Trips

“On the old highway maps of America, the main routes were red and the back roads blue. Now even the colors are changing. But in those brevities just before dawn and a little after dusk—times neither day nor night—the old roads return to the sky some of its color. Then, in truth, they carry a mysterious cast of blue, and it’s that time when the pull of the blue highway is strongest, when the open road is beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.”—William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways: A Journey Into America (1982)

Summer vacation in our household always meant one thing — ROAD TRIP! Once the crops were in the field and growing strong, our family loaded up the station wagon and set out on adventures far and wide. Like other things in our household, these trips were a combination of exceptional planning and whimsical free-wheeling. Each year, the vacation had a specific theme or destination in mind, carefully chosen to balance fun and education, new experiences and landscapes with manageable adventure. But if we saw someplace fun to stop or a roadside attraction worth a look, we took the time to stop and enjoy the moments the road trip provided for us.

Take, for example, the summer we decided to tackle Civil War battlefields. Not content to sample just one or two, summertime that year was an in-depth historical journey across the eastern and gulf coast map of the major Civil War events.

Civil War Battlefields

Gettysburg, Bull Run and Fort Sumter rolled into Andersonville as we headed to our southernmost destination of New Orleans. It was there that I rode in my first taxi, forever remembered because I left a treasured shirt, hand-painted by my mother, in the back of it, only to find it returned to the hotel later by a very kind taxi driver. New Orleans also marked the first time I ever tried to eat a lobster served whole instead of just by the tail. The kindness of strangers came through again as a very patient waiter took extraordinary amounts of time to teach me how to break apart the thing, as well as the parts to avoid!

On our way back north to home, we stopped for one night at a hotel in Vicksburg. As we were loading up the car the next morning, I went exploring in the parking lot and stopped when I saw a familiar license plate. In our small town, cars changed quicker than license plates, so I grew up learning to remember plates not vehicles. My parents were unconvinced that life could be so random as to have two families from the same small town happen to stay in the same place hundreds of miles from home. I stuck to my guns, insisting that my parents ask at the desk, and I was right! We had a quick breakfast together and caught up on local news we had missed while on the road, then headed out onto separate ways, the start of their vacation and the winding down of our trip.

Some of our other memorable excursions included a long journey to the southwest, complete with my brothers scaring my mother at the rim of the Grand Canyon, a dust storm in New Mexico, and visiting Carlsbad Caverns. One year we headed northeast to New England, another west to California, and yet others to the vast open spaces of the Dakotas or across Canada.

With four kids across a thirteen-year age span, my mother was a genius at making sure our vacations went as smooth as possible. Each child started the vacation with a large paper grocery sack full of wrapped packages, one for each day on the road. At some point each day, at a time of our own choosing, we could open a new present, something she had picked especially for each of us, to entertain us. Silly and small, these daily surprises kept us entertained and engaged, whether it was an egg full of Silly Putty, a new coloring book, or a book to lose ourselves in as we covered the long miles each day.

In order to prevent arguments over money, food, and souvenirs, each child also got their own daily allowance of money to spend. Mom’s rule was pretty easy – each child had a set amount to spend, we could spend it however we wanted, but when it was gone, that was it, we were done. If I wanted that “I-have-to-have-it-or-I-will-die-right-now” item, it was mine as long as I was willing to sacrifice that amount of my budget. I still remember one of my brothers carefully guarding his daily expenditures to indulge in a very large steak for dinner one night on a trip through Texas. And if my sister wanted a hamburger for breakfast and eggs for dinner, so be it. It was her money to spend.

I learned a lot across the miles on those summer road trips — patience, cooperation, budgeting, the sheer pleasure of the open road– hanging over the back of the front seat, map in hand, navigating the blue highways over and around the miles, and finding adventure where we could.

Thinking back on those great summer road trips makes me want to head out on a summer road trip adventure.

Any suggestions?

99 Comments

Filed under Life