Lessons from a Road Trip

I grew up taking road trips – often two per year (usually one lengthy family vacation and one weekend trip). Flights were, and still are, very expensive so we drove everywhere because it was what we could afford.

There’s a certain sense of satisfaction in planning a trip and then successfully making it back (alive) from your destination. Maybe that point was 1,500 miles away from home, but you pointed your car in that direction and found it… then turned around and successfully made it back. Before you left it was just a point on a map; and you drove to that point. Now it’s a real location filled with real people and providing real memories. You filled that point – you lived there for a time. Now that area (and all points in between) are no longer just names and dots and lines on a map. They’re as real as anything and you proved it.

There truly is a joy in the journey.

Not too long ago my wife, our children, and I returned from a week-long vacation to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Here are some poignant lessons we learned while on the road.

· I have a question for all states south of Iowa: which comes first, the McDonalds or the Waffle House? You never see just one; they’re always right next to (or right across the street from) each other. Maybe they build them at the same time?

· 9-year old girls leave their stuffed animals in Knoxville. 14-year old girls leave their purses in Clarksville.

· Country Inn’s gladly pay the FedEx shipping charge. Hilton’s do not.

· While 72 degrees is a pretty nice air temperature, it’s an awfully cold water temperature.

· My parents used to get upset when I wouldn’t take notice of a different state’s scenery. I now understand their frustration.

· I drove around California for two weeks this year. Minnesota drivers are bad; but Illinois drivers are painfully inept.

· Paying the toll to enter Illinois feels like a rip off. By comparison, the toll you pay to leave the state feels like a bargain.

· If the United States had an armpit it would be Gary, Indiana.

· Cracker Barrel knows comfort food.

· The closer you get to the actual “south”, the better the Chik-fil-A.

· Even though your destination may be 1,500 miles away you can only see about 500 feet in front of you. Take each mile as it comes. Slow down and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

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