June 3, 2013

Road trip!

Road Trip!

 So finally, I'm ready to share some vacation moments with you!  Vacation for my family used to be like this:
But now that the kids are grown up and it's just the two of us, we are much more civilized...

Except that instead of going to Chicago, which Google maps assured us was the most direct route to our first stop, my brother's home in Cincinnati, we chose the more sane route of heading south through Illinois and across the middle of Indiana, thereby avoiding all the insane Chicago traffic.  Driving through Chicago is taxing at best, always provoking and many times enough to make you want to jump from your car into traffic to put yourself out of your misery.  Driving an extra forty miles saved us close to two hours!  But even if we had run into a traffic jam (not very likely driving through farmland, but you never know....) I was prepared.  Remember my "Mrs. Robinson" bag of secret tricks?  I may not need to keep children entertained in the car anymore, but I can certainly keep my self entertained now!

atlas, magazines, books, puzzles....
I love driving through the open countryside, seeing farmland stretch out in all directions.  We always stop at the friendly Cracker Barrel on Illinois I-74--the timing is just right for a home style breakfast and a chance to stretch our legs after leaving the house at 5 am.  And what better restaurant to get into the Southern swing of things than Cracker Barrel....big old rocking chairs on the front porch, a friendly game of pegs while you wait for homemade biscuits, apple butter and a big plate of Southern grits. Grits with butter and a dusting of sugar...life is good.  And for the record, I managed to get it down to just one peg on my first try!
After breakfast, we rolled along the highway, watching for my favorite little town on this stretch of road.  Who can resist a town named Farmer City?  I bet the local cafe there has amazing homemade pies.  We are always too stuffed from breakfast to detour into the town, but one day I intend to stop!  After Farmer City it becomes a watching game for the anti-gun control signs, ala the old Burma Shave signs by the side of the road.  I'm not taking a stand on gun control here...I just like watching for these signs that are displayed along the highway as we drive past.

WHEN GUN CONTROL -- HAS US BEAT -- CRIMINALS WILL -- OWN THE STREET(etc. etc.  There are about ten of them displayed in fields near the highway)

I liked the old Burma Shave signs better--they were definitely more cheerful.  Since my husband and I are both musicians, this one always amused us.

And speaking of tuba (well, kinda), we certainly enjoyed our Sirius radio subscription on the trip!  A whole channel dedicated to songs of the seventies...what more could you ask for?  We sang Barry Manilow songs really loud for a couple of hours...we would have embarrassed the heck out of our kids!  But that's the fun part about vacationing with just your spouse...there's no one in the car to roll their eyes at you.  And I won't tell you how many times we sang Bohemian Rhapsody, acting out the lyrics...but it was definitely more than once.  The people in Farmer City aren't going to tell on us, so we're safe. 

Here are a couple of songs from the seventies that not only did we sing along to on our road trip, but the lyrics also remind me of setting out on the road, looking for America and all she has to offer.  Tomorrow we'll arrive in Cincinnati! 

America, Simon and Garfunkel

"Let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together"
"I've got some real estate here in my bag"
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies
And we walked off to look for America

"Kathy," I said as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
"Michigan seems like a dream to me now"
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
I've gone to look for America

Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said "Be careful his bowtie is really a camera"

"Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one in my raincoat"
"We smoked the last one an hour ago"
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field

"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all gone to look for America
All gone to look for America
All gone to look for America
 America, Neil Diamond
We've been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star

Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again,
They're coming to America

Don't it seem so far away
Oh, we're traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

To a new and a shiny place
Make our bed and we'll say our grace
Freedom's light burning warm
Freedom's light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They're coming to America
Ev'ry time that flag's unfurled
They're coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They're coming to America
Got a dream they've come to share
They're coming to America

My country 'tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty Of thee I sing

I'm wishing you a happy start to your week!

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