Learning to meander

When I was a child my father ruled when we went on a road trip and we were always on a schedule. Sometimes my mother and I would ask for a bathroom stop or a meal break for an hour or more and he’d keep pressing on because we couldn’t get off the schedule. As an adult I’ve tried not to let human comfort be trumped by the need to hurry and passengers are always free to ask for a stop at any time, which I’m happy to provide. But I still have that tendency to be on a schedule, especially since the roads are so much more crowded and more cities have major rush hour issues.

On the annual visits to Flint with my mother we’ve tried to keep the driving to weekends when we don’t have to worry about traffic issues so much. But this year my mother had a bad fall the day before we were scheduled to leave and we had to alter our plans by a day, which left us driving back on a Monday. The way back is especially hard because we really have to push to get going and down the road in time to get by Dayton and Cincinnati without getting stuck in a parking lot (but if we leave too early we have to contend with Ann Arbor and Toledo). This time my mind suddenly opened to other possibilities and I suggested that we leave later than usual, stop for lunch in Ann Arbor or Toledo and aim for an early dinner at a place we like just north of Dayton. Mom agreed and we tried the new plan.

We made really good time and picked a lunch spot that was quick so as we approached Findley we were ahead of schedule. We’re somewhat familiar with that area so we pulled off to have ice cream at a local spot that makes its own (Dietsch’s) and then took a drive through a historic area we like. We wound up arriving at our dinner spot exactly at the projected time and were leisurely about dinner to be sure the traffic would be quiet. The rest of the drive was calm and easy.

We got home feeling so much more relaxed and comfortable than ever before I couldn’t believe it took me this long to discover the joys of meandering on a road trip. All those stops really refreshed us – especially Mom, who has trouble sitting that still for long periods. We enjoyed every place we stopped and each round of driving was short enough that neither of us ever felt road weary. It actually didn’t take us much longer than those tense long drives before and what a difference in how we felt about the day! I’m a meanderer now!

This post is for ABC Wednesday, which is “M” this week.


8 thoughts on “Learning to meander

  1. I like to meander on our trips, though we tend to have an overall schedule. I love travelling with my family and discovering new places. It was so fun to meander off to Midway when we were travelling through Kentucky. My kids and mom still talk about that sidetrip. Thanks for helping us meander a bit! 🙂


    • I’m so glad you all enjoyed Midway –I’ve always thought it charming and so close to the freeway it’s a natural for a meander…


  2. Love your memorable story! When I was a kid, there wasn’t AC in cars so my parents insisted we drive after sundown and that we sleep in the car. Not much fun at all. I love your idea!

    abcw team


    • When I was a kid houses didn’t have air conditioning either — a lucky few had one room with a window unit — so we didn’t think much about it, we just got in the car and drove all day. Different times…


  3. That road would be such an enloyable meander. I’ve always been one to say “what does it matter if you are 1/2 hour late because you stopped to take a bathroom break or just stretch your legs a bit”. My husband used to be like your Dad but is getting better. When I drive I take my time and if I see a site I want to see I stop.Glad you and your Mom had a good trip.


    • It was, but I think to him the schedule was so important — especially since he didn’t like to drive long distance–that he thought we should get it that we had to keep it.


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