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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 snack 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 featuring 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.

Liz: 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.

Sherry: 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.

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