Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On the road again...

My niece and her family drove back from vacation - Florida to Indiana - in one day last weekend.  That's a 12 hour day on the road.  My back side gets numb just thinking about being in a car that long.  Once in a while she would text me, and I could visualize what was happening inside the vehicle:  The two girls, a tween and a teenager, were probably watching a movie or playing a game on some sort of device(s) in the back seat; her husband was driving, insisting the radio be tuned to an NPR station, and my niece, failing every attempt to get the radio changed  to a cheesy 80's classic rock station and texting me in the process. 

Side note:  Good "lard" isn't a typo. I'll save that story for another day.
As you can see, we are easily distracted. 
Anyway, I shared all of this with my husband and that led to a conversation about the way road trips were "back in the day."  Our first real road trip together was from Chicago to New Orleans for our honeymoon.  I don't think I have to review all of the gadgets we did not have in the early 80's.  Just think of every amusing pass-the-time thing you can do while rolling down the highway today and it probably couldn't be done in 1984.  We had sparkling conversation, the license plate game and the radio.  That's about it. 
We had to follow real paper maps to find the way to destinations...  Maps that could never be folded the same way again after their inaugural use... Maps that were very frustrating to me as the head navigator.  We decided it would be fun to stop at Graceland on the way to New Orleans.  I took us on a route where we passed through heavy construction in a very nasty part of Memphis and we hit a barricade with the driver's side mirror.  I don't think John thought we were going to make it out of there in one piece, but paying homage to Elvis was worth it.
We talked about the drive home from Louisiana - a nice 14 hour trip.  We both agreed on two things. (1) At least on the highway, Arkansas was a flat wasteland that was mind-numbingly hard to maneuver without dozing off.  There may be some pretty areas of that state, but we sure didn't see them.  (2) We drove through not one but 2 swirling thunderstorms/tornadoes.  It was like driving vertically through a stormy figure 8. 
Then John asked me, "You remember what else happened during that trip, don't you??"
Um...  no.
I got "the head roll" and a look that said, "you've got to be kidding me."  It was as if I didn't remember a major event, like alien ships hovering over our heads or a Russian missile strike. No, apparently I forgot what every Cubs fan over the age of 50 should have locked and loaded in their memory bank. The Ryne Sandberg Game.
Okay.  Now that you mention it, I remember a Cubs game on the radio, blaring loud enough to be heard over the wind and rain.  Yes, I remember it being a good game for the Cubbies.  Do I remember a game that someone would be writing about 27 years later?  Heck no.  (The attached article was written in 2011.) 
So almost 30 years later, John and I are talking about taking a lengthy road trip again this summer. I will pack a car pillow, food, drink, and yes, maybe even a book on CD.  I will have my phone with all of its texting and gaming capabilies at the ready. And I promise I will listen to and remember any incredibly well played Cubs game on the radio - but the odds are greater for an alien invasion.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Your niece sounds like an amazingly adorable human being, one in which sharing a road trip would be EPIC.

    2. If one is EVER traveling through Tennessee (no matter which geographic region), one should stop by Graceland and pay homage to The King. It's the law and I think it's written in the Constitution somewhere.

    3. Thanks for linking to the article. It was necessary because some of us are severely lacking in Cubs knowledge. And I freely admit to momentarily confusing Ryne Sandberg and Andy Samberg. Not one of my finer moments.