I’m sitting in a hotel room outside Boston, trying to think of a way to work in an 8-mile run today. I woke up too late for starters. Didn’t wake up until my 16-year old was demanding breakfast. So we ate at the hotel’s buffet. Now I’m too full to run and she’s got a day of sightseeing planned before we have to get back on the road for (what should be) a 4 hour drive back to New Jersey. It doesn’t matter. I’m enjoying a weekend road trip with my girl and I can run another time.
I love road trips. And road trip songs (My daughter’s favorite from the Cars Soundtrack: Life is a Highway; mine: Radar Love)…and road trip movies (my favorites: Easy Rider, Thelma & Louise)…and road trip books (On the Road is on top of both our lists). Since I was a kid, I always loved seeing everything along the way. Flying is certainly more practical, but there are times when the road is so much more fun. Of course I grew up as an only child so there were no backseat sibling squabbles. Now I just love the time in the car with my girl. We always seem to have our best conversations in the car. Plus we are creating memories that will last a lifetime…which is more important than ever now since this weekend’s road trip was for our first official college visit.
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
I have road trip memories with my daughter dating back before she can even remember. There was the trip to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee just after she turned one. I was so overwhelmed as a young mother that I left all her clothes in a hotel room in North Carolina (they shipped them to me at no charge). I wish she could remember the Smoky Mountains or the ferry ride between Maryland and Cape May.
When she was three we went to Folly Beach, South Carolina. And when she was 7 we did the road trip every family should do – once – to Disney World and the obligatory stop at “South of the Border” since she didn’t remember it from the South Carolina trip. Honestly, never need to do that again. Actually, I’d be okay with avoiding I-95 – forever. On my bucket list however is a road trip out west. She mentioned this weekend that we should do a cross country road trip (I’m 90% sure she said WE). So although my girl is growing up maybe there is still hope that she’ll still want to do another big adventure with her mom after the college-visit trips have run their course.
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
The University of Maine was this weekend’s destination. On the way back we took this side trip to Boston. I told her it was kind of like a trip her dad and I took over 20 years earlier. On that trip we detoured by Lowell, Massachusetts to pay our respects at the grave of Jack Kerouac. She asked where that was and I said it was off this exit coming up. She said, “lets go!” and we did. I know that would have made her father smile. He once told me I was the only girl he knew that actually liked On the Road, and a few years ago he gave his daughter his copy when she went to him looking for a book to read that would impress her English teacher.
The best part of the trip is sometimes the detours. The unexpected twists and turns.
“The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
The road is always calling. The journey. An experience. Sometimes it’s on foot and sometimes it’s by car. Today it will be by car. Tomorrow I will run. Yes, Jack, the road is life.
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Edson Cemetery. Lowell, Massachusetts. August 2016