Our family is always on the move. We knew that before, but the last month has really made me realize how much we are usually away from home. Lots of times, it’s chasing the kids around to various activities, which they really miss and we… kind of miss, I guess.

But not being able to take the little getaways, with family or friends, is what’s really a bummer. A trip to Top Golf to celebrate a friend’s birthday, a weekend visiting the bars and restaurants in LaCrosse. I even wish we could take the kids to a hotel with a waterpark. I have never said that before in my life.

And some big trips that we’ve really looked forward to have been cancelled, which really affects the psyche. Sure, vacations are fun, but sometimes the anticipation and preparation are what gives us positive vibes for weeks ahead of time.

Sommer had to cancel a trip to Vegas with her mom and aunt. That sucks, especially considering she was going to win A LOT of money! 

Years ago, on the weeks before 9/11, we were preparing for a trip. We were supposed to fly into Washington DC on Friday, September 14 for a wedding.  With the airlines grounded, and concern over more attacks, we didn’t know what to do. 

We decided we weren’t going to miss the wedding, so Sommer, my friend Monte, and myself took off Thursday for the drive to Maryland.

For anyone that’s driven that way, the farther east you go, the more crooked and crazy the roads get. And, since our phones didn’t have google maps at the time, we had to rely on an atlas and pre-printed maps.

We came to a fork in the road near the Northeast corner of West Virginia. It looked to me like a particular un-named road was a lot straighter than the highways and interstates, so I convinced our crew that it would be a shortcut.

Don’t ever take a shortcut through West Virginia.

The road was definitely NOT straight, and the folks weren’t used to outsiders driving through. But they were friendly enough, with their single toothed smiles and tobacco stained bibs. The men were mighty nice too.

We made it to the wedding, as did the groom’s sister, who was also the Best Man (no story there, other than she was). She and her husband had packed the car on Wednesday from Seattle and drove across the country to be there, which made our trip seem pretty easy!

Everyone that made the trip did so for the sake of love, America, and the allure of an open bar.

A month or so after that memorable trip, a group of guys decided we needed to hit Mardi Gras once before we all got married and settled down. There were still a lot of uncertainties about travelling, especially to large, American made events. Once again, we put our fears aside and booked the hotel. We decided to drive, both to save money, and ensure that we could get there and back should something happen.

Porchy was pretty excited to get there, and I think he drove 21 of the 23-hour trek.  We finally got to the hotel, checked our bags at the front desk and got lectured by the concierge.

“You boys watch out for the Hurricane drinks,” she warned. “There’s enough booze in one of them to kill all of you.” 

We thanked her, and walked out the front door and onto Bourbon Street. It took us about 13 steps before we were inside the first open-air bar, and it was about 10:00 am.

Scheffel ordered first. “Give me a HURRICANE!” He shouted confidently.

“Which glass,” sighed the bartender, obviously not the least bit impressed.

“Naked Mermaid,” he replied.

“Same,” said all the rest of us, except for one.

She grabbed the tall plastic glasses that somewhat resembled a tall female body and poured our premade sugar and booze filled cocktails.

“And you??” she quizzed Ty.

“Give me one too, but in the alien glass.”

For some reason it was the funniest thing of the whole trip. We all survived, but it was close a few times.

It might be awhile before any of us are able to take trips just for the fun of it, but now would be a good time to start planning them. If nothing else, it’s a good way to get the positive juices flowing.

And when the bars and restaurants open up, make sure to head to CBG and ask to see Ty’s alien mug. I’m sure he still has it.

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