Saturday, April 23, 2016

R is for Road Trip

R is for Road-trip. Today’s blog entry has nothing to do with writing; unless you are a travel writer. Who doesn’t love a good road trip? There was a time when I would pack a lunch, load up my dog and hit the road for a day trip every month or so. When I was in college, back in the last century, I loved to take off on a solitary excursion with Toot.
Toot was a cocker/lab mix. He had short tan fur, floppy ears, and big, soulful, brown eyes. We would hop in my little economy car ($5 filled the tank) and hit the road. Toot liked to hang his head out the window and let his ears flap in the breeze. We traveled as far as that $5 would take us, exploring Petit Jean Mountain, near Little Rock, Arkansas several times. We also took a few trips up to the Missouri state line and Table Rock Lake and state park. Those were great days.

My most memorable road trip was one I took with Mom. (I think it was 1990 or 91.) We left the dogs at home. We traveled from Conway, Arkansas to Table Rock Lake for a camping trip. We stopped at every flea market, antique shop and yard sale along the way but finally made it to the campground. The clear waters of Table Rock called to us, so the first thing we did was take a swim. The long summer days were sure to provide plenty of daylight for us to set up camp. Unfortunately, by the time we had a shower and dry clothes it began to rain. (This was the olden times before cell phones with weather apps.) We decided to just wait it out in the S10 Blazer. A mighty storm raged as we huddled in the car. It was hot but we couldn’t roll down the windows. The wind, thunder, and lightening pounded us all night. We slept, but not much. Undaunted, we carried on with our plans.
The next day was spent in Branson, Missouri. (This was when it was still a quiet little town.) After checking out a winery and several flea markets and antique shops (naturally), we decided to get a motel for the night. Since we were planning to camp, our budget was limited. The motel was a bit of a dump but the sheets were clean. The next morning I was awakened by Mom’s off key rendition of Happy Birthday. When I covered my head, she put a quarter in the “magic fingers” and the bed began to vibrate and shake. I’m still laughing. (Many of you have no idea about “magic fingers”. It was supposed to be a coin operated massaging bed, but it just vibrated and shook awkwardly. This particular bed was probably left over from the 70’s.)

We took scenic Highway 7 for the trip home. It is a winding road with beautiful vistas and views through the rolling Ozark Mountains. We stopped at a place called Booger Hollow; tourist-y but cute, and then found a little café for pie and iced tea. The place didn’t look like much from the road but seemed bigger on the inside. This lovely country restaurant was built on the side of a deep gorge with a magnificent view from the back porch. That porch was the best part. All around the open porch hung dozens of hummingbird feeders. When I stepped out the door, I was surrounded by thousands of humming birds. The waitress commented that they were attracted to my red shirt. The tiny iridescent avian buzzed close around me. It was enchanting.

I have taken many road trips since that one. Though I can’t remember exactly what year it was or which birthday. I will never forget the storm, the magic fingers, the thousands of humming birds, and Mom singing, badly.  R is for Road trip. #atozchallenge

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