Road trip to Florida brings back memories
Hinsdale 11/20/07 Western Springs Columnist: Vicki Gonia Doings photo by Steve Johnston
Updated: February 6, 2012 8:26AM
The length of Lyons Township’s winter break this year meant that I had time after the holidays to head down to Florida. Deciding so late in the game to make the trip meant that flying was out of the question, but now that my daughter has her driver’s license, I have someone to share the driving with me.
Most people think I’m crazy, or lying, when I say that I really enjoy driving to Florida from Chicago, but it’s true. It may be because I know the way without having to look at a map or GPS, or because I made the same trip with my parents and brothers so many times when I was young, and it’s like a trip down a really long memory lane. A memory lane with a 70 mph speed limit and the promise of sunshine and beach sand at the end.
There’s something about the act of driving for two days in a row that forces one to get into vacation mode. When I fly, I usually have to spend a day shedding the feeling that I’m supposed to be doing something productive. But driving allows that to happen naturally. Because you don’t have much choice--you’re driving. Endlessly. For two days. And though it’s certainly possible to respond to emails and carry on the normal business of life from the car, that’s rather dangerous to do when hurtling south at 70 mph.
Our yearly road trips to Florida when I was growing up are the stuff of family legend. Many of them passed by uneventfully, but there are, of course, a few standouts.
The hotel room Grace and I managed to secure (we have our dogs traveling with us, and there aren’t many hotels--or should I say motels--that allow pets. And often, when they do, they stick you in a smoking room) reminded me of one particular trip with my family.
We’d pulled up to one of the myriad roadside motels, though not my father’s usual choice. He went in and got us a room, and the six of us piled out of the car with our various pillows and blankets and school bags.
The room itself was, well, less-than-clean, but it was spring break and there was no sense in searching for a better one. There weren’t any. We went to dinner at a place called Captain D’s, a fried-seafood kind of place. While my father stood in line to order, we found a table. There was only one available, and there was a puddle of water beneath it.
By the time my dad returned with the foods, which had been wrapped in brown paper toweling, as they’d run out of wrappers, we’d all realized that the puddle was a result of the fact that the bathrooms weren’t working.
We looked at our food wrapped in towels from the bathroom, while holding our feet off the ground out of the puddle of toilet water, and by unspoken, unanimous consent, we all rose from our seats. Dad returned the food and got his money back, and we went back to the motel and raided the nearly-empty vending machine.
And then we spent the next few hours staring at spiders crossing the ceiling and listening to the rattling of the air conditioner. By 3 a.m., my father jumped out of bed and ordered us into the car.
Though I did manage to sleep a little on this trip (while wrapped securely in the blanket we’d brought in the car so I didn’t have to touch the sheets, which, I’m certain, would reveal a crime scene under the right lighting conditions), by 3 a.m. I was up and ready to go. We had half the second day’s driving done before the sun came up.
Does that mean I’ll never drive again? Nope. I’ll just plan ahead a little better and choose my stopping point ahead of time. Reservations are a traveler’s best friend.
LT’s Winter Garage sale will be held Friday, January 13 from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. and Saturday, January 14th from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Corral at South Campus. The garage sale benefits the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Donations can be dropped off at the rear of the Corral on January 9th, 10th & 11th from 10 a.m. - noon and 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Did you know we have a Medical Reserve Corps? I’ll have more on the MRC next week, but if you’re interested in finding out more about what the MRC is all about or how to join, attend the next meeting on January 11th at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall. There will be a speaker. Also, you may contact the MRC Coordinator, Tim Conley, at email@example.com.
Readers can contact Viki Gonia by leaving a message at (708) 824-8027 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.