Posts from ‘Road Trip’
Having heard great things about the food and architecture of Minneapolis, my daughter was excited to learn that her college water-polo team would be competing in a tournament at a school just outside of Minnesota’s largest city. As things turned out, that early-spring trip was a whirlwind event that left little time for anything but polo, sleep, and travel.
Billed as the water-park capital of the world, Wisconsin Dells is a popular vacation and weekend-getaway destination for folks throughout the Midwest. Located in the heart of the Dairy State, “the Dells” is about a three-hour drive from Chicago–just long enough to feel like a road trip, and short enough to be tolerable with youngsters in the car.
My wife Kristin and I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary this year, and we decided that we needed to take an out-of-the-country vacation as part of that celebration. We were looking for somewhere reasonably close, to minimize flight time and the jetlag that usually goes along with it. Kristin is fond of Latin American countries, bird watching, and rugged-outdoors adventuring, and she speaks enough Spanish to get around quite well. Me? I really love old cars. Cuba checks all those boxes, so it was a natural choice.
The Florida spring-break road trip is cliché these days, but it was the thing to do when my college friends and I hit the interstate back in 1984. The trip from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale is roughly 1400 miles, and our goal, alternating drivers, was to cover that distance in under 24 hours. As I recall, we arrived at our destination in about 27 hours, but made the return trip in under 24.
Although hardly a sensible car, if you accept the Alfa Romeo 4C as a bargain-priced exotic, its limitations become a lot easier to overlook.
It was the summer of 1974. Having spent the day at the amusement park then known as Six Flags over Middle America, my family and I hit the swimming pool at the Safari Camp Ground at which we were staying for the week.
It was during a rather spirited session of Marco Polo involving several families that someone’s mother—not mine—interrupted the aquatic merriment. She had brought a radio poolside, and yelled for everyone to shut up and listen.
Compared to most people, I do quite a lot of highway driving. Unlike most people, I usually do it in silence. That would probably bore most folks on the bi-weekly, two-hour trek down to my weekend farmette, but for me, it’s a welcome chance to clear my head and think about things that matter … like how I’d spend the vacation time I rarely take.
But for longer drives, I have a different strategy. Before I even leave the garage, I plug in my stone-aged MP3 player that contains a collection of favorite road tunes and crank up the volume.
My kid has been horse crazy for most of her 13 years. As a parent who is more or less responsive to the wants and needs of my child, I donated a precious week of vacation time to a spring-break, horse-country road trip.
As luck would have it, Consumer Guide’s long-term Nissan Pathfinder arrived right around the time I was setting up my out-of-office voicemail greeting. Our handsome red test vehicle came well equipped, though not quite loaded. (Getting lost in St. Louis is still pretty much my fault—what was life like before navigation systems?)