I recently returned from a trip back home to Upstate NY. I try to go every summer, taking my wife and son along to see my relatives and friends. Sometimes the timing allows us to attend a reunion of my mother’s side of the family, but we unfortunately missed it this year. Instead I was lucky enough to attend my 25th (gasp!) high school reunion, and it was a blast to catch up with people I hadn’t seen since graduation. Some came from as far as California and Georgia, so I felt a little ashamed that it was the first reunion I had ever attended. It was also flattering to hear a couple of people comment about some of my blog entries. I sincerely encouraged a couple of classmates to start blogging, and I hope they decide to try it.
We drove up from NC in a rented Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. If you can believe my son’s preferences, it wasn’t as nice as the Chevy Tahoe we rented last year, an unplanned upgrade when our intended vehicle didn’t make it to the rental agency in time for our departure. My son’s rating system seems skewed in favor of larger vehicles with lots of electronic gizmos. I liked the Santa Fe’s better gas mileage, and it had sufficient room for our luggage and assortment of snacks and travel amusements. Granted there were only three of us. When we added my sister’s two kids, seating got a little cramped. The seats were comfy enough, but I was too short to see over the steering wheel without a boost. Luckily I sat on a pillow to avoid butt-thritis over the course of our 12-hour ride.
Driving around my old stomping grounds, memories popped into my head. The river through town was a favorite spot of fishing and canoeing with my father. My parents both competed in at least one canoe regatta that I remembered, too. I passed some houses where I remembered sleepovers with friends, sites of favorite restaurants now long closed, and familiar farms with overgrown fields and houses obviously populated only in summer. I even passed by a place where I once nervously stole a kiss from a high school crush. She took it back with interest as I recall.
We used an application on our phones called “Waze” to locate construction and other delays on our route. It proved valuable in helping us make good time, even if we did end up on some detours that induced carsickness in my son. Some of those roads certainly wouldn’t have been navigable in winter with snow to slick them, but they were fine with some added caution for potholes and deer. One of those critters stood in the middle of the road as we approached and took his sweet time leaving. We spotted another alongside the highway in VA. I wish there was a way to teach them to cross roads safely, without endangering anybody or themselves. I find it funny that so many hunters go home empty-handed during deer season, when the varmints seem to be everywhere. They must know to hide when hunting season comes around. If they’re smart enough to do that, you’d think they could cross the street safely.
Sheetz continues to be one of my favorite places to fuel up our vehicle and ourselves. Their gas prices are usually very competitive, and they have an abundance of tasty, freshly cooked fare to offer. Some of it is even relatively healthy. In addition, they have the standard convenient mart stuff for those in a hurry: snacks, sodas, and fresh coffee. It’s possible to get sick of eating that type of food, but with the variety they boast it would be difficult for me to tire of it if I weren’t watching my weight.
If you’re a Facebook friend of mine, look for some photos of scenery from my walks in the country. I’ll miss that fresh air, and the cooler temperatures were appreciated by the whole family. My son actually complained one morning of being cold, and I asked him to try to remember that feeling when we returned to NC.