road trip memories

I love road trips. There is something about loading up the trunk of the car, packing some snacks and settling in for the drive that makes me long to hit the pavement for our next adventure. I think back of the long road trips I took when I was younger, typically to and from Daytona Beach Florida. I loved falling asleep to the radio and waking up in a new town. I loved getting to weigh in on the best route to take – who in their right mind listens to a 12-year old? I loved the idea that the journey itself was part of the adventure. Maybe that’s why I have such a fondness for road trips. If you are going to be in the car for 5 hours or 25 hours, there is something to be said for the freedom of the open road. Feel like checking out the world’s largest pothole on your way through PA? What’s stopping you? But, if you are flying on that same trip, you are bound by the plane and somebody else’s schedule.

Memories are made in those late nights drives, such as the time by then-boyfriend, now-husband Troy drove to Lake Havasu Arizona. There were about 8 of us, including my best friend Nikki. We ended up telling ghost stories while driving through the Mojave dessert. In fact, I think the stretch we drove down was called “The Devil’s Playground”. It all started when we stopped for directions and the gas station attendant told us we should turn around and go the other direction. I thought the scenario seemed like a plot of a campy movie; one where the attendant would be purposefully telling us the wrong way to go, ensuring that we would get lost in the middle of nowhere and he would be the only one that knew our direction. In any event, it left us some good stories to tell.

Another great road-trip memory was the time Nikki and I drove to Florida for a last-minute vacation. We were waiting tables on random Wednesday night in college and started talking about her recent trip to Destin and how much fun she had. The next thing I knew, we were calling someone to pick up our upcoming shifts and calling a friend for a place to stay. The very next night we were on the road! That spur-of-the-moment type of vacation (which was awesome by the way) can only happen in college and is best suited for a road trip..

As I get older, traveling by plane seems to be the best way to get back in time for work on Monday. Unlike in my younger years, I now have to schedule my vacation around my work, rather than the other way around. But, I still appreciate a good road trip. I hope I my kids grow up with the same appreciation for freedom that only a road-trip can provide.

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Spiders and Snakes

I love traveling, but I also like coming home. Today was the end of a wonderful, fun weekend with my family. Last night we watched Jim Stafford’s show – it was actually alot of fun. His “Spiders and Snakes” song is fun and innocent – check out the video of him and Dolly Parton singing it on you tube (about 40 years ago). The comedy/music show was a great way to cap the fun weekend with family. I did, however, find the kid’s max. Three late nights finally did the kids in and they were plum tuckered out.

As you know, all good things must come to and end. On the way home, we stopped for lunch in Miami, OK at Waylan’s The Ku-Ku Burger. My philly steak was delicious, but after reading about them on Urban Spoon, I wish I had tried a milk shake, too. Apparently, the stop is a classic Route-66 burger joint and a must-visit when traveling through the area.

It’s always fun to stop somewhere new and different, especially in Small Town, America. I’ve never actually stopped in Miami, OK, but it looked like an adorable little town. Maybe someday we’ll make it back. One of the things I want to spend more time doing is traveling this beautiful state that I call home – OKLAHOMA.

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Branson, MO – family time

This weekend was spent in Branson, Missouri with my extended family. What a great way to make family memories – relaxing in a gorgeous cabin, swimming and fishing at Tablerock Lake, catching a show on the Branson strip and more. The weekend at the cabin was a Christmas gift from Troy, me and my mother to our family. Every Christmas, it seems as though we spend our precious time shopping for more “stuff” that the recipients probably don’t need. So, this year we decided to do something a little different. Who knows, maybe this is the start of a new family tradition. I’d like to think so. One of the great things about Branson, is that it is close enough from home that we can just take a road trip. With a dozen of us headed that way, flying would quickly have became expensive and not really any quicker.

Overall, the trip has been fun. Amelia has gotten to stay up late with the grown-ups! It makes for a long day, but I really like her getting to be a part of all the fun. Last night we cooked out – steaks sausages and brats – yummy! There was also plenty of corn to go around – three of us ended up bringing up corn on the cob. Guess that’s a nod to the season. Sweet corn on the cob, picked at the peak of freshness is one of my favorite veggies.

While the cabin is very roomy, we really could use one more bedroom so no one had to use the pull-out couch, which left a little (okay, a lot) to be desired. Other than that, I think the location was a success. Right down the street is a little corner market where Troy and Neal made some memories! Apparently, the cashier asked them to stick around after their purchase because he thought he was in danger of being robbed by another customer. Guess that was their good deed for the day – and they got a tin of Jiffy Pop in the bargain. Jiffy Pop should go well with s’mores tonight.

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packing time: travel distance ratio

You know what’s crazy?  When we went to Europe for 3 weeks, we took 5 bags for 3 people with plenty of room for souvenirs.  But, when I pack for a weekend getaway, I take an entire bag just for myself and its almost busting at the seems.  How is that possible?  I guess I just cut myself a lot more slack when I know I don’t have to strap it to my back for hours at a time.  I also take a lot less time to pack for a weekend trip – I just toss in whatever I think I might want.  But, when I am traveling internationally, I am very deliberate about every single item that makes the final cut.  I spend days or even weeks thinking about what to bring.  I spend 5 minutes when we are going a few hundred miles.  It seems the amount of time I spend packing is inversely proportionate to the distance I will be traveling.

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The things that matter

There are many reasons why I appreciate travel.  But, the one that I keep thinking about tonight is how travel forces you to think about what really matters, what’s really important.

Traveling makes me want to walk a little lighter on this wonderful Earth.  It makes me appreciate what I have.  And I don’t mean it makes me appreciate the creature comforts, but the things that matter – God, family, friendship, laughter.  In fact, travel makes me view the “creature comforts” in a different light.  Having “stuff” becomes less and less important – I don’t want to clutter my life with things.  I understand better that stuff will never make you happy (despite what culture tells us) but that making connections, building relationships, nurturing friendships – those are the things that matter in this world.  May you connect with what matters to you.

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Wanderlust – a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.  Yep – I’ve got it!  Those that know me, know I’ve been bitten by the travelbug and have a strong case of wanderlust.

I also have two young children, Amelia and Elliott, and I promised myself that I would continue to explore the world and take them with me.  So, my family and I recently set out on the adventure of a lifetime – three weeks roaming Europe and looking for adventure.  And, adventure we found!  Actually, at times, it seemed adventure found us; such as the time we spent an evening in the Italian emergency room.  It’s a great story, but, I’ll get to that one later.  I’ll hopefully get to all the stories later – and there are a lot of them.  I’ll bring you along on our most recent journey and you can laugh and cry with us.  I’ll share some memories from our past trips (Hawaii with a 15 month old, NYC with a toddler and a pregnant mommy, NYC with a giant double stroller, road tripping from San Francisco to LA and more).  I’ll also take you along on our adventures yet to come.  I hope you enjoy the ride as much as we do!

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