On The Road Again…

Johnny-on-the-Spot

images road trip

 

Travelling by car these days isn’t the same daring adventure it used to be.

Now with Google maps, you just plug in your destination and that “voice” tells you what routes to take and where to turn.

It even warns you about speed traps, broken down vehicles and even traffic snarls or delays.

The latter might be my favorite feature because I hate “parking” on interstates.

In the “old days”, we needed those “impossible to refold properly” road maps.

The glove box would usually have a good “state-you-reside-in” map and you used to be able to get those at rest areas.

By the way, when’s the last time you had a pair of gloves in that “glove box”?

I guess back in the early drives of motorized transportation, folks would have special driving gloves and even goggles that they donned before driving and they’d be stored in the glove box.

I would guess most glove boxes today have fast food napkins, the vehicle information book and perhaps the vehicle registration.

Mine also has two folding utility tools (complete with knife-file-screwdriver scissors) and I even have one with a tiny LED flashlight and a set of tweezers.

I have two tire gauges (which are useless) because I can click a button on the steering column to check air pressure.

I also have a tiny notebook that my oldest grandson doodled in while riding with me and I can’t part with it.

There’s also extra chewing gum and a tiny first aid kit jammed in there.

The first aid kit would only be good to care for a splinter removal,  which I can handle since I have those tweezers on one of my multi-tools.

My wife and I got into the habit of always travelling with an updated atlas on board.

Before  Google maps, you never ventured away from home without road maps and/or an atlas.

When we were with the USAF in Alabama, we’d  pack up and head north for our destination with those navigation devices at the ready.

The interstates make the trips quicker today but you do lose some of the flavor of the nation when you just stop at the interchanges.

Back-in-the-day, I-65  was not complete through parts of Tennessee and you’d have to travel on US 31 for stretches.

I always enjoyed that because that is where you’d see “Crazy Charley’s”, “Loco Larry’s”, “Wacky Wilbur’s” ( I made that one up).

These places were all the same.

They all had 3 t-shirts for $10, fireworks, pecan logs and unique beach towels.

The t-shirts were always printed on material the consistency of tissue paper.

One washing and they wouldn’t even fit on the kid’s Barbie dolls.

Never ever had a pecan log.

But I did buy a beach towel with a Yosemite Sam-like character waving the “stars and bars”, declaring “Forget, Hell!” printed on it.

Today that towel wouldp offend someone and have to be burned.

But it was a bit of Americana that has faded away although some of today’s refueling spots that cater to truckers still have some of that classic stuff available.

Makes me think of CB radios.

Time was most of us probably had one.

You had to have a “handle”, too.

Your CB name.

I don’t remember what mine used to be but I’m sure it was a classic.

Let’s see a show of hands if you ever uttered those classic words, “Breaker 1-9!”  on a CB radio.

One of the funny things was how even a Boston lawyer would get on the CB and sound like a character from “Dukes of Hazard”.

It was one of the charms of road travel in those days.

I always got a charge by flashing my brights when an 18-wheeler passed me to let him know he could come over into my lane and they’d flash the lights on their rig as if to say, “Thanks!”

You’d get updates on the “County Mountie”, the Staties” or “Smokies” and on some occasions you’d be advised of a “Bear in the Air” for a flying speed checker.

Travelling today should be faster but my wife and I have to stop in every state we pass through to send a selfie to our kids.

The “Welcome Centers” normally have something clearly indicating the state and we strike a classic pose and send it on to our daughters.

That does add a little extra time to the trip though.

And while gas mileage in our vehicles is better, although filling up has diminished, over the years, bathroom stops have increased.

Plus, Momma doesn’t like service station potties so that means that cat will only scratch in rest area facilities.

Those used to be “sketchy” years ago.

Many times, they were nothing more than outhouses.

There used to be a rest stop along State Route 13 in Fitchville, OH that was just that.

But, it also had a an old fashioned water pump.

Operate that handle and you could get some of the coolest, most-refreshing water anywhere.

It sort of balanced out the bad karma of the primitive potty.

Recently, my wife and I have done a few chartered bus trips which I prefer over flying commercially on those sardine cans known as as planes.

But hopping in the personal vehicle and taking a jaunt on your own still appeals to us.

Maybe I should try one of those pecan logs.

Not!

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