Like all things, road trips evolve as we grow older. What starts as a handful of college buddies stuffed into an old Honda Civic after a late night, Bud Light infused, dance party turns into a ‘we can still do this’ marathon driving session to a friends cottage in between work assignments, followed by the inevitable family-in-a-can journey where pee breaks are secondary to gas fill ups and every Dad gets to utter the infamous phrase: Don’t make me pull this car over!
I love the ritual of road trips.
Poring over maps marking the best route possible. Our goal? No major highways, plenty of small towns, cheesy roadside attractions, and out-of-the-way must sees. A sampling of the country beyond 4 lanes and truck stops; a chance to see the heart of a place and gather out-of-the-ordinary stories.
Not being campers means looking for the elusive ‘Vacancy’ sign at the end of each day. Finding the perfect, Mom and Pop run, motel with cute little balconies and flower pots is like hitting the jackpot. It doesn’t always work out, of course, and we have stayed in our share of dull rooms with orange bedcovers stinking to high heaven of cigarettes and god-only-knows what else.
Music can make or break a trip. In the past, I have spent hours and hours creating the ‘perfect’ mixed tape (you know, those things we had before we had playlists). During a long ago road trip to California all songs had to reference the Golden State in some way – California Dreaming, I Left My Heart In San Francisco – or be by bands from California – The Beach Boys, Guns ‘n’ Roses, The Bangles. Our rule is always that the driver gets to choose what’s playing…so choose your road trip mates carefully…
My absolute favourite part, though, is just sitting quietly and staring out the window watching the world go by. Crossing Canada a number of years ago, we witnessed the landscape slowly evolve from lush western rainforest, to sweeping river valleys, over mountains into prairies and through the rock-tree-lake-tree-lake-rock-tree-rock pattern of the Canadian Shield. It’s this slow reveal that I enjoy so much; seeing how one part of a country is connected to another.
This week we set out on another road trip that will almost complete our cross Canada route that we started over 10 years ago. On that trip we journeyed from Victoria, BC to Ottawa, Ontario. This time we’ll start in Toronto, Ontario and reach the eastern shore in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia; not quite all the way across yet but pretty darn close!
Our goal? A wedding. An energetic east coast wedding filled with friends and family, love and laughter, music and dancing. A chance to welcome a new member into the fold and shine some light on a family that has had its share of struggles the past few years.
I’m looking forward to both our time on the road and the scent of the salty air at the end. I’m making the perfect playlist right now…
The Global Bookshelf….Connecting Travelers To a World Of Stories[/box]