Ten days. More than 2,800 miles. Eleven states, not counting that wacky District of Columbia. Four overnight stops. Enough cheap coffee to stew a yak.
Only one (no kidding) fast food stop. A plate of southern stroganoff in Asheville with pork medallions, cilantro pesto and a heapin’ pile of goat cheese grits. (Heaven in a bowl.) Streams. Feet in streams. Kid in streams. Barefoot with that icy, cold water tingling your feet. Smooth, slippery river stones. Picnics and Smoky Mountain air. Hiking. Chipmunks. Skipping stones. More cheap coffee.
Metro stations. Yankee beaches. Cousin’s wedding. Dogs who eat Swedish Fish. A tall green lady in New York harbor. The world’s slowest gas pump (still finishing the job as we speak.) And a vehicle that looked like the Clampetts paid a visit to “Sanford and Son.”
There’s nothing like a good, long road trip. Few better ways to experience large expanses of a great country like ours. How else can you be high atop a mountain ridge one day, watch pandas the next and then find yourself breathing in that wonderful Atlantic Ocean breeze on the pristine beaches of upper Long Island.
From forests of trees in the wilds of North Carolina to forests of skyscrapers in New York City. I think you can find bears in both.
Road trips are not merely a longwinded way to get from point A to point B. Rather, they’re a way to experience every single thing between point A and point B. Travel has become simply about how quickly you can get somewhere. How smoothly you can pass through airport security. How lucky you’ll be if your bags arrive with you. How poetically you’ll curse if your flight gets canceled. Generally, how miserable an experience you can have before you get where you’re going. You often need a vacation to relax from getting to your vacation.
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Pumped. Jazzed. Fired-up. Can’t contain it. The excitement is literally oozing out of my pores. My PORES! People are looking at me funny. It feels like I have fizzy pop inside me. Fizzy pop? I don’t even know what fizzy pop is!
I’m just so fired up that the World Cup has started. The World Cup! Heard of it? It’s only the biggest sporting event since the Roman gladiators took on the dinosaurs. It’s football’s — the “real” football — shiniest moment. The Cup. The Big C. When the whole world holds its collective breath then screams, “Goallllllllllll!” until the planet spins of its axis and into a black hole.
Here on our little island, it’s not such a big deal. But in other countries it causes people to forget to do simple things like go to work, breathe oxygen, take the wrappers off of food they’re eating and dress their children when they go out.
Suffice it to say: It’s big!
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“You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” It’s a question The Joker asks Batman right before he shoots him. A great movie line, and one I thought about while braving the unrelenting crowds that swarmed through the streets and rides of Disney World this Memorial Day weekend.
There are much wiser ways to take your life into your own hands. You can smear a meat-flavored cupcake on a sleeping lion. You can run out into traffic. You can charge into a biker bar and yell, “Ya’ll ride a bunch of girl’s bikes and look like leather pansies.”
All would definitely get you killed. But if you’re gonna’ go, you want the quick and painless route. Not to die a slow agonizing death in scorching heat while herds of tourists trample your poor, broken body. Crumpled on the ground as they roll over you with strollers and $6 beverages, you cry, “Why didn’t I check the calendar before I booked the room?”
You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? Yes, yes I have.
OK, it wasn’t that bad. As Memorial Day weekends go, I’d rate it as tame. Remember: I’m a third generation Floridian. Buried in our DNA coding are the tactics and survival skills that our forefathers used thousands of years ago to brave holiday crowds at primitive theme parks. They honed these skills while taking their children on rides like “It’s a Pterodactyl World” and “The Real Pirates of the Caribbean.”
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