Friday, July 09, 2010

On the road

Inevitably, it seems, I do not take simple summer vacations, at least if there's any kind of travel involved. It's not like I usually have anything in end. More often than not a piece becomes clear, and then others are built around it.

For instance, the first summer vacation I took had me driving to Glen Rose, Texas, where I visited a friend. From there I went south to Austin, a city I'd been fascinated with but hadn't had the opportunity to see until I planned this trip. It was then time to turn around and head north for the two-day drive to South English, Iowa. My mom was out there working for a year. After ten nights on the road I returned home.

There have been other patently ridiculous journeys, like the one whose first stop was in Toronto and last destination was in the Washington, D.C. area. Last summer took me from Birmingham, Alabama to two Arkansas stops and St. Louis, Missouri before winding up with family in northern Indiana.

This summer's vacation was looking like a more traditional itinerary. I'm going on a week-long family vacation to northern Minnesota. There's an overnight stop in Minneapolis-St. Paul on the way up and a to be determined resting point on the way back, but otherwise we'll be in the same location for a week. How novel.

I've ended up tacking onto it, though. Since my parents live within relative proximity to the train to Chicago, I'm going to have a mini-vacation of my own before we all embark north. The way things have worked out, my dad and I are going to go over for the day and see the Reds and Cubs play at Wrigley Field. I'll return to Chicago the next day and meet up with a longtime friend--we first met in junior high--whom I haven't seen in several years. And just like that I'm going to one day of Lollapalooza.

But that's not the end of it. About a week and a half after we return from Minnesota I may be combining business and pleasure to drive to Maine. The details haven't been hashed out, but I'm fairly certain the northeastern leg of my vacation is going to happen.

I've reached the point in the summer when I'm beyond due for taking these trips, yet there's also enjoyment to be drawn from imagining what might take place during my travels. From this perspective it all seems so bizarre. In x days I'll be attending a huge outdoor concert in the middle of one of the country's largest cities, and less than a month from then I could be in the middle of Maine?

As with my other treks, I may ask myself, well, how did I get here? Of course the places I've visited have been planned destinations. I'm not driving and seeing where the road takes me. Nevertheless, the fun comes from not having a clear master plan at first and marveling how it all falls into place. I've definitely made memorable vacations out of unconventional itineraries.

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