Road Trips

Road trips always sound idyllic.  There are songs and books written about lovely road trips.  The open road, the beautiful scenery, the quaint restaurants and the characters you meet along the way.  You always plan your road trip is going to be like this:

FullSizeRender (10)

(Me taking my brother for a little “drive”)

But sometimes your road trip goes like this:

 

vacation-movie-screenshot

(National Lampoon’s Vacation)

I have taken a lot of road trips.  Growing up we always traveled by car.  My grandparents lived 10 hours away from us in a little town in Southern Missouri, leaving us no good alternative other than to travel  by car.  So twice a year, at Thanksgiving and one other time of the year, my parents would load up the van with their three kids and the dog and travel down to my grandparents.  We took the trip often enough that we knew where  the best rest stops were, and where to stop for food and for gas.

Most of our vacations were also road trips.  We drove to Colorado and Yellowstone.  One summer we drove from Chicago to San Francisco.

The part about  a road trip is that you have to look at getting there as part of the fun.  As kids we definitely had our share of touching, poking and aggravating each other.  I’m sure my parents did not want to hear our squabbles over the back seat territory, smelly feet and stinky breath.  They also got tired of hearing us ask if we were there yet and that we were bored.  But we also found ways to entertain ourselves.  This was in the days before in-car entertainment centers and iPads so we played the license plate game, travel bingo and my youngest brother’s favorite, travel Yahtzee.  We would sing along with performers like Barry Manilow, John Denver and Kenny Rogers played on the eight track player.  No road trip was complete without a box of Cheez-Its and other snacks packed in a bag that Mom controlled.  We had fun as a family just talking and spending time together.  And we learned how big the country was, how crops grew, and saw that we were very blessed and privileged to grow up where we did.

I still often go on road trips.  My husband’s family lives in Buffalo, New York, which is about a 10 hour drive for us (I seem to keep ending up with family that is 10 hours away).  We could fly but air travel has become a hassle and does not save us as much time as you would think, so we often drive.  We do not have any squirmy children to entertain (yet), but we still  try to entertain ourselves.  We do spend time talking and listening to the radio, and when the trip starts to get really long, I play DJ with our downloaded music so that we can have a little in the car dance party (as much as you can sitting down).  But even then, we start to get a little bored, and unfortunately I cannot read in the car since it makes me motion sick.  On our last trip to Buffalo we started listening to the podcast, Serial.

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season. Each season, we’ll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order, starting with Episode 1. 

We often watch old episodes of Law & Order, so the description of this sounded interesting and there had been quite a bit of buzz about it.  I downloaded it on my phone before we left since we would not have access to Wi-Fi on the road.  Each episode was broken up into 45 minute to an hour segments.  We could easily take a break when we needed to rest our ears or the passenger needed a nap, but it made our trip go so fast because we had a compelling story to follow.  It also gave us something to talk about on the long ride (there is nothing interesting on the Ohio turnpike that can spark a conversation).  My husband and I had some interesting conversations about the theories presented in the episodes and tried very hard to “solve the crime.”  I think we only have one episode of Serial left, but we have at least 18 more hours in the car this weekend to fill up.  Season 2 of Serial, with a different story, is supposed to start later this year (hopefully before our two other road trips to Buffalo in October).  Do you have any good ideas for podcasts or audio books for road trips? And have you listened to Serial (I would love to hear your theories)?

–June

 

Advertisements

Weekend Away

It seems like everyone is on vacation right now.  My Facebook feed is full of pictures of people at lakes, in the mountains and man made attractions.  Because of work obligations and several out-of-town family weddings this fall, we are unable to take a week long vacation this year.  However, a few weeks ago we were able to get away for a weekend and it was amazing how refreshing just a short trip could be.

We went to Wisconsin Dells which is about a three hour trip from our home.  Wisconsin Dells is known as the “Water Capital of the World” as every other television commercial tells you.  Wisconsin Dells is also known for tons of tourist traps, go-karts, and the infamous “Ducks.”  Because we were traveling without children we managed to avoid all of these attractions, and had a nice adult weekend.

This area holds a special place in my heart because for several years my family had a vacation home on Lake Redstone which is about 20 minutes northwest of the Dells.  It was my dad’s favorite place in the world (and it’s always nice to be somewhere that brings back such happy memories, although it makes me miss him terribly) and we still have family that lives on the lake.

We traveled with my mom, her husband and my brother and stayed outside of the main Wisconsin Dells drag at Christmas Mountain.  We  had a lovely three bedroom townhouse which let us visit, but gave us all our own space.  So fortunately there was no couch sleeping for us which is important for a relaxing weekend.

We started our Friday night with pizza at Sarento’s.  We have been there several times and find one of the best places to sit is in the bar area to enjoy the live music.  The man that typically performs I think is “famous” for the area as he seemed to have quite a few groupies.  It is a fun change of pace to enjoy some live music with your dinner.

The next day the boys went golfing and my mom and I went to Baraboo for lunch and some vintage shopping.  I love Baraboo.  It is a small artistic town about 45 minutes from Madison.  It was home to the Ringling Brothers Circus in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Currently it is home to the Circus World Museum.  I love the vibe in the town.  It is built on a courtyard square.  I can’t imagine practicing law in that courthouse rather than the skyscraper one I frequently visit.

IMG_0643[1]

 

My mom and I had a delicious lunch at Vintage Port Catering.  This place used to be called the Java Cafe but it is the same owner and the same yummy sandwiches and it has a fun San Francisco vibe.

IMG_0637

My yummy sandwich

IMG_0636[1]

And my mom graciously posing with her sandwich.  Thanks Mom!

We then did a little shopping in some stores on the square.  Cornerstone Gallery carries art and jewelry from different artists some of which are local.  Also, if you are looking for a great art fair, Baraboo hosts Art on the Square in August.  Also, they are the sponsors of the Fall Art Tour in October which is a self-guided tour of various local artists’ studios.  I have not done this yet but it is on my list to do one fall.  We picked up some funky earrings here (although I forgot to take a picture).

We also did a little antique and vintage shopping.

IMG_0640[1]

These did not come home with me.  I thought they were rather creepy.

IMG_0641[1]
This did come home with me.  It is new but looks vintage.  I found this at Raven House. Raven House has artisan, antiques and vintage home goods.  This is a huge palm reading sign that I thought was very unique.

IMG_0651[1]

And my fairies got a new family member and a gnome.

And after all that walking we needed some iced coffee at the Coffee Bean Connection.  We then met up with the boys at my aunt and uncle’s home on Lake Redstone.

IMG_0647[1]

The view of the lake.

IMG_0645[1]

Relaxing while waiting for a boat ride.

IMG_0648[1]

Dega enjoying the boat.

We followed up our boat ride with a delicious steak dinner and grilled vegetables prepared by my wonderful aunt and uncle.

We went home on Sunday feeling refreshed and renewed.  Of course I would’ve loved to run off for a whole week (preferably the Four Seasons) but a little trip close was the temporary solution.  A good thing to remember that it only takes a little break from the every day to renew the soul.  I hope you all find a little time to take a trip this summer and enjoy the summer.  -June

Girls Road Trip 2015…..It’s in the Journey

Recently, May and June took a weekend road trip to the University of Iowa, in Iowa City.  Our reason for the getaway was to attend the annual Iowa Summer Writing Festival, which offers a large menu of enriching classes to all writers, no experience necessary.  We were there to learn about the art of blogging.  This was June’s third trip to the festival and May’s first.

We hear that so much about life is in the journey and travel is no exception, especially road trips. Many travelers are so focused on reaching their destination they miss out on some of the interesting scenery and towns along the way.  May and June decided to make the most of this trip by scoping out some possibilities ahead of time.  For us, it was the quaint towns and quirky little vintage shops.  We found a cute town along the way called Le Claire, Iowa, a historic town nestled right along the Mississippi River.

FullSizeRender (1)

FullSizeRender (8)

As we pulled into the parking lot, we immediately discovered it was home to Buffalo Bill.  Who knew?

IMG_2439

It was a beautiful day and we had lunch outside overlooking the river, and explored many of the lovely shops including a famous one that some of you vintage buffs may recognize.  Antique Archeology, home to the American Pickers television show.  As you can see from the following photos, we had a lot of fun exploring this little gem of a town and ended up staying much longer than we had originally planned.

IMG_2446

 

FullSizeRender (2)

We wish we could’ve taken this home and made it our official May Meets June vehicle

FullSizeRender (3)

A cute gift shop in a historic home, Grasshopper’s.

We also had a great time in Iowa City.  In addition to the informative workshop, we enjoyed everything the city had to offer including some great food and fun shopping.  The sudden downpour one evening was not about to stop us from enjoying ourselves.

FullSizeRender (7)

Yummy Sushi at Takanami

IMG_0567

Dinner at a charming retro diner called the Bluebird Diner.  May had the best ratatouille ever!

FullSizeRender (6)

Spotting Herky the Hawk

FullSizeRender (5)

And while vintage shopping at a store called Decorum, we spotted May’s dog, Sawyer’s doppelganger made out of paper.

Everything in life is a journey.  Taking a walk, commuting to work, meeting friends, etc… Being mindful and enjoying what each path has to offer, no matter where it takes us is part of the fun of getting to wherever it is we’re going.  When we were planning this blog we knew we wanted to explore being more fully present in the everyday.  This “business trip” gave us the opportunity to achieve our goal of completing our class but also allowed us to set the tone for what we want this journey to be.

Have a great weekend!!  Hopefully have some adventures, both planned and unplanned.  -May and June