Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Favorite Road Trip

Our family loves to travel, any kind of travel.  We've gone many places around the world, but dear to our hearts is the all American "Road Trip".  As campers, we enjoy exploring this beautiful country especially state parks.

My favorite road trip was when we loaded up our RV and headed from the Chicago area to DisneyWorld.  We spent our first night at Spring Mill Indiana State park in Mitchell, Indiana.  That's one of our favorite parks and we've been there many times.  So it was familiar and my RV driver that I affectionately call "Crash", did a great job of getting us there and parking the RV (often a challenge).  It was October and we had beautiful weather.  If you've ever been to Southern Indiana in the fall, you know how beautiful the hillsides are, with changing leaves on the trees.

 The next day we headed for Atlanta.  Unfortunately, on our way, we hit the "closed-road-trap".  Despite carefully planning our route, we hadn't anticipated a closed road.  We were now forced to exit the highway and make our way in unknown territory.  If you've made a road trip before, you are saying, "uh, oh", aren't you?  We grabbed the map, but it wasn't long before we were lost and it was getting dark.  We saw a sign for "Fort Mountain State Park" and decided to call it a day and pull in for the night.  Alert! Alert!  Learning Experience, alert!  "Mountain" is not a good word when you are less-than-the-best-driver and looking for a place in the dark, hehehe.  Also, if a sign doesn't say how far it is to an attraction?  Be afraid, be very afraid, hehehe.  Two hours later, in the dark, we are still driving....  and driving... We were on winding roads, going... up.... and up.... and up.  Remember, "mountain"?  Then, of course, it got foggy! 

We kept seeing signs that said, "Fort Mountain State Park, Straight Ahead"  We knew we were going the right way - we just didn't know how far we had to go and how far straight up!  We found out the next day - in daylight - that it was a beautiful campground.  But, whew, what it took us to get there!  When we saw some of the drop-offs as we were going back down, we thought maybe it was a good thing that we couldn't see the night before!

We had a wonderful trip and still laugh to this day about our choice of a "Mountain" campsite.

Here's my three favorite tips when you're planning a road trip:

1.  Pack your sense of humor and be flexible.   Every road trip, no matter how carefully planned is going to hit some rough road.  That's the nature of the road trip, it has the "unexpected".  But if you face it all with a sense of humor and remember to enjoy the journey, you will create lasting happy memories.

2.  Create a fun environment in your vehicle.  You are going to be spending a lot of time in your vehicle, whether it's a car, mini-van or RV.  Take with you the things you love - your favorite music, books, magazines.  Even air freshener scent!  Audio books are a great way to enjoy the time.  A cooler and snack bag provide treats for the hungry or thirsty traveler and you don't have to stop every time.

3.   Try new things and places.  There are so many store and restaurant franchises now that it's tempting to stick with the familiar, but to get the most out of a road trip, be willing to branch out and try the small businesses in new places.

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