Road Trip!

Road Trip!

We all know that vacations are one of my favorite things in life and talking about those vacations ranks right up there, but life got in the way for a while and I found myself too busy to post. During that time I think I was grumpier than normal and I couldn’t put my finger on why I was so down-in-the-dumps. I finally realized that updating this blog is a joy, a release, an outlet. This is something I do for myself – to document our wonderful trips, and for others – who are hopefully amused and can benefit a little bit from my ramblings. I have to post more regularly, to keep my sanity in this sometimes insane world. It’s my escape from reality where I immerse myself in my vacations and that’s a great way to drown! So expect more frequent blogs in 2017.

After our family trip to Hershey, PA in August, my hubby and I went on a two-week Road Trip! to the southeast in the beginning of November, 2016. Although Hershey was technically a road trip because we drove, this trip was considered an “official” road trip (our first in a while) where we made great stops along the way to make the drive more enjoyable. This trip included meeting some friends for lunch as we passed close to their city on the Interstate, a family get-together in Chattanooga and more!

Our stop for lunch with friends was at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (pictured above). I knew this place was cool when they had photos of B.B. King and Johnny Cash in the ladies room. That made me start thinking about another road trip, one that would encompass all of Tennessee and its wonderful music history – from the blues to country – and everything in between.

This trip was great fun and brought back wonderful memories of a road trip to Yellowstone with the kids back in the day. We had no money back then and we had coolers packed with lunches that we could enjoy at picnic areas or alongside a river or lake. Those are the memories that stick with you over the years. Eating our PB&Js out of the back of our station wagon or our beanie-wienies from our camp stove on the tailgate in Oregon, there’s something about having a calm meal with a beautiful backdrop as opposed to slamming a roller-dog while we fill up, potty and load up! to get back on the road.

Some day I will have to share the itinerary I came up with for that trip to Yellowstone. The kids were younger, but old enough to get bored easily on a 3-day trip across four REALLY wide states just to get there. I had to come up with some stops that would break up the trip, but not break the bank and definitely not have the word “torture” come up while reminiscing about the trip back home. Stops that wouldn’t be lame for these pre-teens. It was a challenge that I met head-on. After that, I knew vacationing would become an obsession, where the planning was (almost) as fun as the trip. Where we would make the most of the 3,000 mile round trip and see as much as we could. I think I would like to replicate that trip some day, except for the rodeo in Cody, WY. I felt too sorry for the calves to enjoy that very much. There was an Indian burial ground that we took quite a hike up to, but it was so worth the incline. Peaceful and quiet up top and it really did feel sacred. After quick checking google, I couldn’t come up with the name, so I’ll definitely have to check into that.

I remember another drive with the kids and their kids to Missouri in the summer of 2015. It’s a 12-hour drive, so we usually start out on Saturday to get about eight hours out of the way. Next day we sleep in a little and get to Lebanon, MO for a lunch stop at Dowd’s Catfish and BBQ, and then we coast in to our accommodations at checkin time – around 4pm. Since we had some extra time on this visit and we had three kiddos that were getting antsy, we stopped at the Missouri Route 66 Welcome Center. This is a great rest stop, set in the Route 66 motif, with a playground for the kids to let off some steam. There is another welcome center on the other side of the road, so whether you are traveling east or west, this is a great place to stop.

And Route 66 brings back lots of memories of several road trips through Arizona. Check out my blogs Route 66-West of Flagstaff or Route 66-East of Flagstaff. Both are full of great stops in a state I’ve come to love. The eastern one has an even bigger US 66 sign – in Winslow, AZ.

So obviously, road trips spark memories – both good and bad – but mostly good, since we are usually “glass-half-full” travelers. Here is my philosophy on that:

More than 20 years ago, while trapped by a parade at a very popular theme park, we wandered into one of the last original animatronics exhibits of the park. I felt sorry for the little birds perched high, who were clearly past their prime, as they clammered and clanked their dusty metal beaks and sang their silly tunes. We still laugh about that to this day. Now we expect at least one “Tiki Bird” on all of our trips, because hardly any trip goes perfectly. Don’t ruin your vacation by complaining. Remember a bad day on vacation is still better than a good day at work!

Be a glass-half-full person, even if it’s only while on vacation. Remember your kids (and your spouse) will learn from (and judge you by) the way you react to adversity. Have a great time!” – READ MORE of my “Tips for the Trip”

Well, maybe that will do it for this blog, since I was grossly distracted. Hey, I enjoyed that! I’ll be back SOON!

Next up: The Great Smoky Mountains

Happy trails,

Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson in Savannah, GA

Savannah, GA: Finale in Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC

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