Notes from the Road

Things that an almost 30-year-old still finds exciting on car trips:

Rest Stops – On the NJ Turnpike, rest stops aren’t little cabins with bathrooms, vending machines and a few brochures. They’re more like giant mall food courts, and being on the road means the calories in that Roy Rogers cheeseburger and milkshake DON’T count.

Animals – My normally articulate self is incapable of seeing an animal without blurting out its name the way a child would. “Oooh, horsies!””Look, a moo-cow!” I think it’s because life in a city means the only animals you see are rats and their cousins, pigeons.

A truck – Yes, I saw a truck pass us and I couldn’t do the honk-honk motion (!) because the woman next to me in the window seat is one of those serious bus riders who emails her office on her laptop instead of firing off random blog posts from her phone.

Distant license plates – did anyone else play license plate bingo as a kid? Look it up, it’s a thing. Anyway I think that’s why I always notice plates from faraway states…I still remember the first time I saw one from Hawaii. I slept like a baby that night.

Snow flurries – There is something extra exciting about a little snow on a road trip. The way it swirls around on the highway before it sticks! How it looks as it is hurls toward your windshield! The taste of adventure on a heretofore monotonous trip!

Bridges – It doesn’t matter if they’re not particularly scenic. As soon as we’re on a bridge, my nose grease gets smeared on the window as I press my face against it to see…what exactly? Water! Boats! Maybe a bird or possibly even a dolphin!

Naps – Nothing, except maybe train sleep, is better than road sleep. To this day I have to fight to stay awake as a passenger of a car. Apparently I find hurtling forward at 60+ miles an hour in a heavy metal box to be quite soothing. My parents used to drive me around the neighborhood to get me to stop crying. How American can you get?

Here’s to road trips!

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2 replies on “Notes from the Road”

I love playing the Alphabet and license plate games. Not bingo, just listing the states as I drive. Nobody in my family will play Geography with me because I bone up on A, O, and X places. My second son hates the Jersey Turnpike. He will nap, but when he wakes up he moans, “What we’re still in Jersey??” I bought him a “What Exit” t-shirt.

Jersey turnpike stops have come a long way from nondescript cafeterias with bland congealed food laid out cafeteria line style, unflatteringly lit by fluorescent bulbs. Best part of the turnpike? Cheap gas that is full service. YES!

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