My family and I just got back from our Ramos Road Trip 2010. I wanted to take the kids to the Rockies, but we decided that was just too much driving (thanks Laureen). Instead, we drove south through Illinois and Indiana and camped in the woods of Kentucky for 4 nights. Ok, so our “camping” involved hot running water and Direct TV. But I know you would never judge me for that. It did involve unpleasant smells and vermin, so it was almost like real camping.
I like vacation. I like it for the obvious reason that it’s a chance to rest and relax. (Although, despite practice, I’m not very good at either of those things.) But I mostly like our vacations as a chance to build memories and to learn things about your country and about yourself.
You learn about history and geography when you stop at State Historical Sites. But you also learn a lot about humanity by stopping at scary Interstate truck stops. And by (accidentally) stopping in Gary. These are the life lessons I take away from vacations.
1. I learned that every bad thing I have heard about Gary, Indiana is true. My apologies to Michael Jackson and anyone else from Gary. What an indescribably depressing place. We accidentally stopped there at 10PM on our drive south. The hotel desk clerk warned us not to leave anything in our car overnight “cuz someone stoled his shotgun right out his truck last night.”
2. I learned that here are a shocking number of McDonald’s between Wisconsin and Kentucky. And we actually stopped at a shocking number of McDonald’s (9) on our 6-day trip. Don’t judge. A girl needs coffee. And southwest chicken salad.
3. I learned that Neenah really needs a Chick-fil-A. But not a Waffle House.
4. I learned that there exist entire “dry” counties where you can’t buy alcohol. And that these counties are usually very large and not worth driving out of at 9PM to get a beer. Except on your 4th night of camping and eating camp food.
5. I learned that Kentucky has a confused time zone identity. Whatever time zone Kentucky is in, Louisville is in a different time zone. Mammoth Cave National Park has tons of signs warning us that it is in Central Time Zone. Which we thought we were in already. I asked the worker at our campground what Time Zone we were in . He said he didn’t know. So, I asked him what time it was. He said he didn’t know. I left it at that. The clock at the Ranger Station said 5:20. My iPhone said 6:20. The clock in our cabin said 3:47……..
6. I learned that 6-year-olds only care a little bit about the Civil War. And that 9-year-olds do not care at all about the Civil War. People in their 30’s are newly fascinated by the Civil War. And people in their 90’s that you meet in the parking lot stopped caring either way about that war.
7. I learned that Kentucky is really beautiful, with green rolling hills and a rich, fascinating history. Wisconsin is beautiful too. The more I travel, the more I appreciate Wisconsin. Indiana is….. meh. Indiana does have a lot of windmills. And colleges. I guess Indianans aspire to bigger, more beautiful things……..
8. I learned that Subey-stores are worth 20 points and that Subey-commercials are worth 10 points. This is VERY important. And watch out for pseudo-Subey-stores. They’ll wipe you out. (See previous blog post.)