Our first trip we ever took was around Lake Michigan. We stopped in Holland to see the windmills and the candle makers and the wood shoes. We stopped in Mackinac Island in the Upper Peninsula. One memory that sticks out from that trip was our search for a hotel one night. It was pretty late in the day, and there weren't many places to stay. We had found a chain hotel, but they were booked solid. The only other place we found (Remember, this was back in the day before cell phones, let alone smart phones.) was a little motel that advertised $25/night. We weren't exactly excited to stay there, but we didn't have much choice.
We walked into the office and were greeted by the sweetest elderly couple you ever could meet. We stood and talked with them for a good long while. If we were hungry, the wife would be happy to MAKE a pizza for us. There was a big blueberry patch in the back, and they told us to make sure we loaded up any container we had before checking out. Once we got to the room, there were little signs all over it telling us what to do if we needed more towels, alerting us to the free donuts and coffee in the morning, and the channels which came on the TV. The notes were all in the woman's handwriting.
On our second trip, we headed west from Indiana. We made it all the way to Oklahoma City that year. It was quite soon after the bombing, so the day there was quite emotional. The fence was still up, adorned with all of the signs, stuffed animals, balloons, and other things mourners had left behind. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like it, and the images have stayed with me.
We had loads of fun being our usual, silly selves through the rest of the trip, though. We stopped at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, got stopped by cows (and eventually buffalo) crossing the road when we went to the buffalo preserve, and we saw the arch over St. Louis for the first time.
One stop was in a tiny, tiny town where the first Native American Heisman Trophy winner was from. COW wanted a photo in front of the man's childhood home. When we got to the site, there was a sign sitting right in between two houses. With all of the historical places we've been to, we assumed the log cabin was the home we were looking for. We got out, COW struck the Heisman pose in front of it, and we drove to Main St. COW thought my dad would love a postcard from there, so he went on a hunt along the road. It was pouring down rain, so I stayed in the car.
I watched him go in the store, come out and run across the street. A few seconds later, he came out and ran back across the street to a new door. He did this same thing three or four times while I watched and laughed my head off in the car. Finally, he came back without a postcard. He said each place he went suggested another one.
I laughed and laughed and laughed. You know all of those people were messing with him. In a town that small, surely everyone on the street knew who did and did not carry postcards. They just kept sending him from place to place so they could make fun of him at the next town meeting.
Oh, and the house? COW did ask at one of the places he stopped. It wasn't the log cabin. We had to go back and take another photo.
Our last vacation before kids took us south. I was actually almost 7 months pregnant with Phoenix at the time. Our last hurrah if you will. We took the Natchez Trace for part of our trip, and had a lovely time stopping at places along the way. We managed to make it all the way to New Orleans, where we spent all of 5 hours. We took a fantastic 3 hour tour, just us and the tour guide we met in the back of a little café area. There was a little bit of everything on that tour, from architecture to food to history to voodoo in the cemetery. When in New Orleans, you can't leave without tasting the local fare, so we had some lunch on the patio of a little local place. Delicious.
Once the kids started coming, we had to give up the purely adventurous trips. There is no way we were going to be hunting for a hotel at night with four kids in tow. However, we have kept that adventurous spirit. We usually leave a day early for vacation in order to give us time to stop along the way and explore the places we drive through. You never know when you are going to come across a park called Balls Falls.
Feel free to jump in with your own Epic songs!
Have a lovely day!