OK, I admit it. We’re old school. We took our honeymoon trip using the AAA TripTik maps and tour guides. So of course the same option was used again last year when we ventured down to S. Carolina for number two grandson’s graduation from high school. For some strange reason, we were routed through Atlanta. This year Paul wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again, so while preparing for this road trip, he visited AAA once more and asked for less Interstate driving, more scenery and no Atlanta. When he returned for the information, the map was identical to the original. He pointed it out to the agent, who immediately went on the defensive. I guess that’s how people deal with making mistakes today – they blame it on the computer or someone else. We should’ve known then that this trip would be interesting.
Anyway, when you don’t have the skill or computer savvy to punch an address into your phone, you rely on maps and the old fashioned way. One problem that arises is that you are now glued to the map for much of the trip. Trying to decipher mile markers from county roads and making sense of the highlighted areas can lead to great confusion and a feeling of forgetting about the scenery and focusing on the directions. My short term memory was put to the test as well.
As we left Minnesota, there was still snow on the ground. As we entered Wisconsin, there was still snow in places. Once in the highly boring state of Illinois, it was nothing but flatlands, wind mills, some farm equipment turning dormant soil and miles and miles of not much. The one state in which no attention was necessary for the map, there was virtually nothing to see. Go figure.
Once near the border of Illinois and Indiana, we started to see green grass, flowering shrubs and fruit trees within the rows of pines. There were cows and horses grazing in the fields. Their young bounced through the meadow, trying out their new legs. This is where the map diverted from the Interstate onto some country roads, lower speed limits a variety of homes and barns. Small towns popped up, with a great divide in the types of homes and architecture. Wide expanses of green encompassed my vision and I felt as though we were entering paradise. Thus began the scenic part of the trip. We stopped after driving for ten hours and spent the night in a motel – not the Bates Motel this time.
Indiana was a brief and fleeting moment on the map and we were soon in Tennessee where green took on a whole new meaning. There was chartreuse, forest, khaki, emerald and hookers green everywhere, interspersed with purple wisteria.. As I soaked in this panoramic pigmentation, we came to a fork in the road and my eyes had wandered from the map. “Which exit do I take,?” he asked. I struggled to find the TripTik, which was now wedged between the seats. The turn was coming up quickly as I struggled to reach the evasive map. My asthma kicked in, triggered by the anxiety of not finding the bloody map and not doing my job as navigator. “Never mind,” he said, “I see the sign.” It was then that it occurred to me that we should just follow the signs. Who needs AAA anyhow?
It also made me think that we often go through life in much the same way – without seeing the forest because of the trees. We really need to take more time to enjoy the adventure. We arrived in Nashville on our second ten hour day of driving. This is where the fun begins. My sister lives in Nashville and we rarely see each other, so it was the perfect spot to get the cobwebs out of my brain and laugh my head off for a day.
The saga continues tomorrow. Stay tuned for more adventures of the Aging Road Warriors.
The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost