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.