I love driving, I don’t care how far. I drove to California from Texas many times. Trips to Florida, Colorado, Wyoming, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky were no problem at all. I loved every mile.
I would have been a good truck driver. I always said the best job would be driving places and not having to do anything when I get there. Not to say that truck drivers don’t do anything but drive, I know better. They work hard and long hours.
I drove a dump truck for several months. I loved trips to the quarry to bring loads of chips back to the asphalt plant. I drove all day, back and forth. Then there were trips to the sand pit where I loaded the truck myself with a John Deere dozer/loader. I had to replace the two-by-twelve side boards on my truck twice after I splintered them by pushing the lever on the dozer the wrong way, dropping the loaded bucket with a crash.
I love driving from Michigan to Florida. The trip is half the fun. Seriously. Maybe more than half. I load my book app and we usually finish three John Grisham or Jonathan Kellerman novels during the drive. When we go to Tennessee or Illinois to visit our kids, we don’t quite finish a book on the way, so we have to think of excuses to go to the store in town so we can continue listening.
Anticipation of driving is also a big part of the thrill. I love getting ready to go. Although, the older I get, the harder preparing becomes. My grandmother used to say it was too hard to go anywhere because the anxiety caused by thinking about packing was too much. I didn’t understand it then. It do now.
After being in church work for thirty-one years tying me down every Sunday, it was tremendously freeing to experience that first trip to Florida during spring break. Mary was a teacher so we had to wait until the last day of school before we could leave. I had everything packed, and as soon as she got home we hit the road.
On that first trip, I didn’t think about the millions of other spring breakers going to Florida with us, so I didn’t make hotel reservations for an overnight stay. The first night in Ohio wasn’t a problem. The second night we slept in the car at a rest stop, with ten thousand other people who didn’t make reservations. I never made that mistake again.
There was another trip to sunny Florida when I had to complete a weekend class before we could leave. I was working on my Masters Degree in Professional and Educational Counseling. On that trip we listened to Dean Koontz’s book, “Intensity.” Oh, my gosh. I don’t think we slept good for a week. That was the last time we took Dean to Florida with us.
Early one morning during a stay on Treasure Island, Florida, we were able to watch the space shuttle take off. We could see the bright flame clearly, even though we were on the gulf coast and Cape Canaveral is on the ocean side.
We spent one Christmas together on Anna Maria Island. It was wonderful to walk on the beach in the bright sun on Christmas Day.
We will never forget the trip to Florida on the heels of the ice storm in 2013. We were without power for eight days. We planned to leave the day after Christmas and decided, power or no power, we were still going. To add insult to misery, the hotel room where we stayed on the first night of our trip was cold.
Trips to sunny Florida are a light at the end of winter’s long, dark, tunnel. The hardest part is returning to snow after walking in hot sand.