Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Roadtrippin' on Memories

Just recently went on a small vacation to southern Indiana. The trip sure was an adventure, considering I live on the outskirts of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and it took about 8 hours to drive all the way down to the southern tip of Indiana.

The trip reminded me of some of the summer road trips I've gone on in the past. My parents used to take me and my brother to places here and there when we were younger. They stopped after we got older; considering we complained about being in the car alot and my brother can truly be annoying when he's not in the mood to do something. Most of my summer road trip memories are during the early part of my life, the 1990's and mid-2000's.

I vaguely remember touring a fairly big chuck of the American South in the very early 90's (or at least, what I felt was a large part of it and it's hard to remember if it was all one trip or several..... childhood memories tend to blur together). I remember going to Booneville, Mississippi to visit my aunt and her son, who had graduated from high school. All I can remember from that trip was being sick during that trip and feeling pretty miserable, since I wasn't used to the summer heat and humidity. The town was one of those old true southern towns that was divided along racial lines, the train tracks being the dividing line and if you didn't know your way around, you'd know it without even having to ask. That trip was truly something, because we were also able to visit the nearby Shiloh National Military Park, which was a Civil War Battlefield way back when. I think it was one of the places that helped spark my interest even further into that era of America history. Another place that truly sparked my curiosity was able to see and walk around space rockets and military aircraft at the U.S. Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville, Alabama, where we stopped to visit my uncle who was stationed there for the military.

Another fond memory that I have of family road trips, was when we went on an all out Lincoln hunt for some reason I don't recall now.... by going to Springfield, Illinois to visit a bunch of Abraham Lincoln sites in the area, toured Amish country, and even went to the state fair. My favorite part of that was going to Lincoln's grave and rubbing the big Abe statue's nose that is in front of the monument.... which is a tradition I'm told for all. Me and my wife Chenon went to the fairly recently built Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum a few years ago when she tagged along to one of my journalism conferences. That truly ended my Lincoln hunt for all things Lincoln...... nah, I'm sure there's still plenty of hunting..... since a massive, and heavily rumored to be ugly, Lincoln statue that's still out there to be photographed by me. I've already come across his deathbed that I happened upon by complete accident while touring the Chicago History Museum, which was a fine surprise by me. So, judging from experience, digging up Lincoln memories will be continuing on.

One of my biggest regrets is not going on road trips on my own, or with college friends. I lived in Des Moines, Iowa for two whole years without really seeing much of anything. It's a truly sad fact considering that I have always had a desire to see the American West. The farthest I ever got was to the Omaha Zoo....... and that trip wasn't anything worthwhile.......

One crazy adventure did come out of my time in Iowa though, during a very boring and uneventful weekend. I decided to lend my car to a lovesick girl and her roommate, since practically I was the only person on campus that didn't have a life and was actually still on campus. So, because I didn't have anything better to do, and no desire to actually let someone borrow my car, I went along for the ride to the other side of Iowa..... to some small, out of the way village way up someplace I don't recall now. We drove into the evening, just so this lovesick girl could spend a couple of hours with her boyfriend at some park and not feel so heartsick anymore. I vaguely remember being totally ok with the idea just to see if I could date the girl's roommate, but that wasn't meant to be, since a few minutes into the car ride, I discovered that my own roommate had just recently started dating her already..... but all the same, a good adventure all the same. I was promised a batch of chocolate chip cookies and gas money for this very worthwhile trip.... I got the cookies, which I vaguely recall were not the best, and I don't think I even got any money for it as promised. But, all the same, a good adventure that I like to recall from time to time. Especially since I didn't have to do all the driving.

Simply looking forward to the next great road trip..... wherever that road may lead to.....

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