There and back - a special 2,000-mile road trip | Life in Ludlow

Ned Luce
Posted 9/3/21

I know that you and I have driven further. 

However, we may have chosen to avoid the heat of the Midwest summer and the states with less-than-stellar vaccination rates. 

Several …

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There and back - a special 2,000-mile road trip | Life in Ludlow

Posted

I know that you and I have driven further. 

However, we may have chosen to avoid the heat of the Midwest summer and the states with less-than-stellar vaccination rates. 

Several factors complicated and enhanced our son’s recent request for us to join him driving from our former home in Lee’s Summit, Missouri back to Seattle. In addition, you will see he and I seem to have less common sense than others in our family as they flew and we drove! 

The plan was for him and his family to take our oldest grandson off to Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

Then he, his wife, and second son were to head to Chicago to see friends, visit a college or two for grandson number two and then they, the wife and son, would fly back to Seattle. Herewith the first indication of a difference in common sense because our son was still in Chicago with the car; BJ’s and my car as it turns out. He then drove to Kansas City to catch up with BJ and me since we had already flown there. 

In a round of delightful partying with old friends it became obvious that we were there primarily to load me into the car to accompany my son on the drive back. 

I mean it is 100 degrees in Kansas City, along with featuring one of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S. so why would I be there? Our son had invited us to travel the 2,000 miles with him. Herewith more evidence of a difference in levels of common sense between BJ and me since she flew back to Seattle. I settled in for the long drive. 

When specifics of this trip became more lodged into my mind and I then mentioned it to friends here the universal opinion was “It will be a great bonding experience.”

Talk about trying to make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear! 

As it turns out I successfully suggested our son take our car as it would be a better ride for me in my own car. So, after he drove it from Seattle to St. Paul to Chicago to Kansas City the only problem was a faulty cruise control which seemed fairly minor as we drove along several stretches near the Lewis and Clark Trail and considered that those explorers may have had trouble with their cruise control also.

The first day included lunch in Lincoln, Nebraska, home of the “Cornhuskers” so we ate at “Big Red,” a large restaurant dedicated to the football team’s activities and the purchase of about 100 TVs mounted on the walls. 

A day later we were in Ogden, Utah in time for the baseball game between the Ogden Raptors and the Missoula Paddleheads. It was a delightful evening in spite of the layer of smoke smudging the mountains to the East of Odgen. 

The next day’s travel included an informational billboard stating that “Skidmarks are for the highway, our restrooms are the cleanest” soon followed by a potential campaign forecast of “Trump-DeSantis.” 

That evening we stayed at the River Lodge in Boardman, Oregon right next to the Columbia River. My son took a swim in the river shortly before a tow boat came around the bend pushing two barges. 

The best time of the trip was that evening when we laughed and sat in the Adirondack chairs near the river after the sun went down. I told my son that I would not sit down unless he promised to help me get up!

The last day of the trip included a stop at “Stonehenge,” a replica of England’s “Stonehenge,” in Maryhill, Washington above the Columbia River. I have now been to both and wonder why there are no restrooms at neither one. Why is there no consideration of the needs of the male prostate?

Our daughter in Seattle has questioned why she was not invited along on this “bonding” trip even though she and I took a similar trip over 20 years ago stopping at Arapahoe Basin, Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee for skiing along the way. I paid all the expenses. This trip with my son featured him wearing out his credit card on my behalf! 

Love a curmudgeon and have a great week. 

(Ned Luce is a retired IBM executive and Port Ludlow resident who just can’t wait to get on the road again. Until then, reach him at ned@ptleader.com.)

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