Wicked Tuesday: Road Trips

Sure, we’ve lost our alliterative allure, but we wanted to talk about road trips before Labornational_lampoons_vacation_movie_poster_1020548254 Day hits. Isn’t summer for hitting the pavement, for packing up the car, for seeing new sights (and maybe getting into new fights)? One Wicked is on the road right now and reports in from the Midwest.

What do you pack? Where do you stay? How do you pass the time on eight-, ten-, twelve-hour drives? Do you bring a cooler full of food and a box full of snacks, or do you search out those out-of-the-way diners and ice cream stands? Has anybody traveled Route 66? What about traveling with kids, or traveling when you were a kid? Talk road trip tips and memories, Wickeds!

Edith: Yeah. I just drove 1000-plus miles alone (in two days) to southern Indiana. I’m a AudioBooksMapssnack and lunch packer, because I’m no longer a by-the-side-of-the-road-camper and I keep in mind that motel bill. I checked out two audio books, GONE GIRL and CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY, that I’ve been wanting to read. I got my TripTik from AAA. Okay, I’m old fashioned: I like paper maps, I want to see on paper where I’m going in the long- and short-distance. I do have GPS on my phone, which helps on shorter trips. Tires and tank filled, I set out early Saturday morning and made it without major mishap.

But it’s always good to stay alert for adventure. On Saturday, after driving 500-plus miles in ten hours straight, I checked into a Super 8 motel and had a glass of the white wine I had cleverly put in my cooler. Then I set out for a walk on a busy thoroughfare not even IMG_0177featuring sidewalks, but spied a road that led back and away from the fast-food bustle through fields of green: soybeans. Kept walking in the late day cooling air until I saw a sign for … Moonshine. Yes! I walked up that drive to Blackbird Distillery, did some tasting, chatted with the charming proprietor, and bought a bottle of peach moonshine to take home. Stay open for adventure!

Barb: I love road trips! Last January, my husband and I drove to Key West where we stayed for the month and then back to Boston. We’ll do it again this year, staying for two months this time. I admit part of the reason I love road trips is because of my relatively recent hatred of air travel. It seems like every flight I take is delayed, crammed full of crabby people, including the flight attendants, and you get vague explanations about the “equipment.” On the road, you can throw whatever you think you might need in the car, leave when you want and go fast or slow. I’m pretty much the opposite of Edith in every way. No audio books, just music. We don’t pack any food ahead, and I can’t read paper maps and drive (maps require glasses and driving does not), so I love, love, love my GPS. I don’t go much of anywhere without it, even when I know where I’m going, because it keeps me from spacing out and passing exits. Two other apps are critical. The one that locates every Dunkin Donuts, especially important in the south where you don’t find them every half mile like you do in New England. What can I say? The coffee is good and the restrooms are clean. And an app called WAZE that alerts you to every cop, traffic jam, car-by-the-side-of-the road and anything else unusual. It’s uncanny.

RoadtrippinLiz: I love road trips too, much better than planes. I like the freedom of stopping whenever you want, changing up routes to see new places and generally feeling like an explorer. I’m a combination of Barb and Edith – a food-packing, book AND music (depending on my mood) listening, GPS-loving (I hate maps), coffee-app junkie, although it has to be Starbucks, not Dunkin. We travel with the pups a lot, and they mostly love road trips too!

Edith: I’ll tell you, having Clara and Mr. Tiffany on audio made six hours pass so much easier. I’ve never listened to an audio book since Charlotte’s Web read by EB White himself on three cassette tapes, and that was probably twenty years ago (and yes, it made our annual road trips with my sons to visit their aunt in Quebec so much easier). The narrator keeping all the main characters’ voices separate is impressive!

Julie: I’m surprised that my fellow Wickeds didn’t mention the Malice road trip this year. I was only on one leg, but it counts! Since my parents and one of my sisters lives in Maryland, I have made the Boston to Annapolis trip so many times I can’t even count. What has changed is my companions on those rides. For a few years, it was my Boston-based sister and I. Then she got married and had twins, and auntie started riding with the kids in the middle row of the mini-van, or shotgun if my brother-in-law didn’t want to make the trip. The snacks haven’t changed over the years. Cheese-Its, grapes, beverages (some with caffeine for the adults). Twizzlers.

When it was the single sisters, we’d always bring lots of music. And on the New Jersey turnpike we’d always listen to Les Miserables. With the kids, it is geared more toward them. Suffice it to say, I am happy that Strawberry Shortcake days are behind us.

M59Sherry: The Wicked/Malice road trip sounded like so much fun I thought about flying up to Boston and riding back down here! I’m glad I came to my senses because I heard the last twelve miles were brutal! Since my parents were teachers, the summers my dad didn’t work somewhere, were for road trips: a three week tour to the West, and two week tour to the East — that trip became a three week trip when we were hit by a car in Louisville, Kentucky and had to wait for our car to be repaired (the M above fell off our car) and trips to Florida. We sang a lot and played the license plate game. Remember Stuckey’s? We always liked to stop at them. And you can’t be married to someone in the Air Force without long road trips every few years when moving.

Readers: Tell us about your road trip trips and memories.

13 Thoughts

  1. I enjoy road trips, but only with a companion. If I’m driving, I have to be responsible and watch the road (particularly when I’m driving on the left!), so I miss some lovely scenery. I just got back from Ireland, where roads are narrow and there are lots of farm vehicles this time of year. People are usually polite about passing, but I’m happy to be stuck behind a tractor doing half the speed limit because then I can look around a little. And there are times when having a guide/map-reader along is really helpful.

    Funny how time seems to pass much more quickly when there’s somebody in the car to talk to.

    1. Wicked Jessie Crockett is the best passenger/map reader/sign spotter/EZ Pass holder EVAH. Just sayin’, in case you ever need to take a trip with her.

    2. So true, Sheila. That’s what I liked about the audio book – kind of felt like I had about twenty people in the car with me. Really helped with the solo drive.

  2. We drove from New England to Alaska and back taking many pictures along the way. We stayed in motels or B&B’s. Took breakfast stuff and sandwich stuff and ate our big meal out at noon. Wish we could do it again. Saw part of Canada along the say as well and entered AK through the Top of the World Highway from Dawson City. I could write more but I won’t here.

  3. I like the idea of road trips, but I get very bored in the car after a while. Or maybe that’s because the only road trips I regularly take are the ones from Southern California to San Francisco where my family lives, and that stretch of the 5 is dull and boring.

    However, books on tape really help, and there have been a couple of times I haven’t wanted the trip to be over yet.

    I am a stop along the way kind of guy because I need the breaks. However, I usually stop at fast food restaurants.

    I still really want to jump on I-10 and drive it completely across the country. Don’t see it happening any time soon, but I think it would be so cool to do.

    1. Did a partial I -10 cross-country roadtrip for one month in a tiny 1985 Mazda RX-7. All over the country, New Orleans, Dallas, Arizona, San Diego. Stopped to look at all the cacti, just was blown away that these things grew alongside the highway. Got lots of funny remarks about all my worldy possessions jammed inside the tiny hatchback. Fantastic time, will do it again…

      1. I used take great pride in all my possessions fitting inside a VW bug. Thanks for stopping by with your I-10 dreams and tale, Mark and John!

  4. My favorite road trip ever was the time that Steve and I rented a car in Copenhagen and drove through Germany and France to visit relatives. Maps in hand we got in the car and drove. We stopped at local places to eat and browse. We’ve always enjoyed those times when we could forego a lot of planning and risk having supper very late, in favor of maybe discovering something beautiful or interesting that we didn’t even know to look for. That meant one night having nowhere to sleep but at a truck stop on the Autobahn, something I will work hard to prevent ever happening again. Still it was worth it, as were the awkward moments after eating breakfast in a restaurant only to discover it wasn’t a restaurant but a bed-and-breakfast.

    I love driving for hours and never tire of it. I have never seen anything boring or uninteresting in scenery anywhere. I love the open spaces of the California Central Valley, the Pacific coastline, crossing Texas, the Nevada desert, wheatfields, cornfields, the Mohawk River, up the St. Lawrence, places where you can see for miles and places where you can barely see beyond the trees along the road. I love it all. The smallest things become the best fun. Discovering the best ice cream stand ever in Dansville, New York. The unbeatable seafood omelette that was the special of the day at a place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The beer and brats place in Madison, Wisconsin. And great fried fish in a little Wyoming town that we’d stumbled upon looking for something else. Then to go outside and see antelope grazing? There is something exciting about minimal planning in the luxury of time that has turned mistakes into adventure and the best times I’ve had.

  5. Stucky’s home of divinity fudge. When I was a kid, every summer was road trip territory. I remember driving through the South with my parents playing the license plate game (kids today have no clue of that one – too many specialty plates) and stopping at South of the Border (am I mistaken or did the road go THROUGH that cowboy’s legs). Such fun. These days I make it a point to drive the back roads part way and see what I can see.

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