Archive for September, 2009

Road trippin’

September 8, 2009

We just got back from a very long drive: Brooklyn to Chicago with stops in Pittsburgh and Bedford, PA.

Charlie was a great rider. (Much different than we first took a road trip, from LaGrange to Gulf Shores. Then we had to sing “BINGO” a hundred times, loudly and way too fast, to keep him from crying.) On this trip, we saw almost enough cows, horses, barns, and sheep along the road to keep him happy, but the turnpikes were a little too boring for all of us. Next time, the back roads.

Pictures to come, of course, but here are the highlights: We hit Chicago’s Field Musuem (dinosaurs!), put our feet and whole bodies in the various fountains of Millennium park, played in the sand on the Lake Forest beach, talked and played and ate with Grandma Margaret and Janelle, saw Janelle’s high school (so awesome that I wish I was going there right now), stopped in Toledo for dinner, picked raspberries and examined puzzles with Pap and Elaine, fed the fish at Gigi’s latest digs, stayed at Bedford Springs Resort where we swam in the mineral springs indoor pool and made s’mores over the firepit, and we happened upon a fish hatchery in Allentown even as we spent an hour trying unsuccessfully to choose a restaurant for supper.

Last night, we were all ready to be home, but the travel bug that somehow bit me never lets me rest. We passed several spots that I would have checked out, if there had been more time: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; the Lake Erie shores of Sandusky, Ohio; old Bedford village; and the Crayola Factory outside Allentown.

There’s just something so wonderful about seeing the America that’s outside our own little corner. The national parks out West, which we saw in July, make me imagine what it was like for the explorers and pioneers and cowboys who built our country. And visiting places like Toledo, where beautiful old buildings stand deserted and boarded up except for spots of green on someone’s roof garden, show me that we are all in this recession together. We overheard conversations during our Spaghetti Warehouse dinner that could have happened in Georgia, in New Jersey, in eastern California. Americans are so similar, in spite of our separate geographies.

Jesse and I have thought, once or twice, about the narrow-minded best-place-in-the-world syndrome that often afflicts those born and raised in NYC. I hope that Charlie sees, in our trips, that beauty, fun and innovation exist throughout our country. That people, in spite of accents or social mores, are more alike than they are different.

Of course, our propensity for travel just might make him want to stay in one place–you never know how these things will go. He did say, whenever he was tired, that he wanted to go to “our home.” Hopefully that was just because he didn’t want to sleep in his car seat and was wishing for our bed.

Other fun CW quotes and “conversations” from the trip:

Jesse: … no offense.
CW: Elephants?

While looking at a brochure for a car and taxidermy museum in Ohio, Jesse read: …the deer was caught in Canadian electric lines.
CW: Electric LIONS?

Me: A horse! (in a field we passed while going 75 MPH down I-80)
CW: Can we pet him?
Me: No. But maybe when we get home we can stop by the Kensington Stables. They have ponies, and we could feed them apples or carrots.
CW: I have an apple! (He pulls one out of our snack bag.)
Me: Ah. You are fully prepared.
CW: A PEAR? There’s a pear in here?
Me: PREPARED. It means you’re ready.
CW: Ready to eat it?

Next trip: NQC in Louisville, KY!