Turkey Travel Time

The turkey travel season is once again upon us. Next week I drive to parts east to visit family for the Thanksgiving Holiday. That means packing up the car and driving to the Midwest. This year, it’ll just be First Reader and me for a change, because our regular passengers (grandkids) will be staying home.

We’ve been driving to parts East at this time of year for the last twenty or more years, to spend time with the kids and grandkids. I believe that even family members that live far away get to know their grandparents. I didn’t know any of mine well.

My mom’s parents passed before I was old enough to recognize either of them. My dad’s parents had forty-something grandchildren, most of whom lived on the East Coast. We lived on the West Coast. Even though my grandparents visited us semi-regularly when I reached junior high school, they spent most of their time socializing with my parents. Us kids were there, but we didn’t seem to be a priority—at least that’s how it felt to me.

I visited my dad’s folks a few times before they passed when I was in parts east. I reached out when possible, but I was never close to my grandparents, and I can’t tell you whether I missed out on anything or not. Because I didn’t know my extended family well then, I wanted to make it a point to know mine now.

Most of First Reader’s family live nearby, so we interact with them all the time. My family is a bit more scattered. My kids live nearby, but we don’t talk daily like First Reader and her kids. I blame it on my nomadic upbringing, I don’t make friends easily, and I keep my own counsel, for the most part. Their early life was much the same. They also lived a nomadic childhood and moved a lot. Now that they are close by, our weekly bowling league is our time together.

So, next week, we travel east to see the kids that didn’t move with their dads.

Most years, this trip is uneventful. We drive, stay somewhere about halfway, and continue the next day, reaching our destination in the early evening. The return trip is equally dull. Except for last year. That was the first time we ever had a weather delay returning home.

The weather reports had a storm rolling in. When the temperature dropped and the rain started, we decided to stop about an hour earlier than we originally planned. I think the state closed the highway within the hour. By the time we settled into the hotel, the storm had hit. We walked across the parking lot to a little diner in a veritable blizzard, glad to have our thickest winter coats available. The temperatures were frigid, and the icy rain threatened to freeze any exposed skin.

The next morning, the authorities still had the interstate closed. We were stuck, but at least we had a warm place to stay for the day. Around noon, we made the decision to hunker down and give it another day. I played board games with the kids, and we all napped extra. They opened the roads for travel after 3:00 PM. Since we’d already paid for another day, we took the time to rest. The walk to the diner was still frosty, but at least we didn’t have to deal with sleet.

When we finally hit the rowdy road, the first couple of hours were a bit hairy-scary because of the ice patches that remained. Yes, on that trip, we brought the 4×4, but four-wheel-drive doesn’t equate to four-wheel-stop. Newton’s Laws of Motion still apply. We’ve seen way too many 4x4s with the shiny side down because they speed on the ice, and forget they need friction to stop.

So, once again, we make the annual pilgrimage east to spend time with the littles. This year we’ll arrange the dates a bit differently, but we’re still going out. Who knows, it all might change next year, we’ll see.

FYI: I plan to get regular posts up for next week, but I’ve been running behind while trying to get finances in order. 

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