There is an old country song that says, “I’ve been everywhere, man!” And that is almost true for me. I am blessed that I have been able to travel lots in my life. As a preacher’s kid, we would go to the Southern Baptist Convention almost everywhere. Of course then, you drove everywhere you went, and there were no interstates. We went to Atlantic City, Detroit, Miami, San Francisco and many places in between.
Traveling when I was a child was such an adventure. Debbie and I would pack up books, Barbie’s, and anything else we thought would entertain us as we travelled. Mom would pack up sacks of groceries, while Daddy worked on the little Coleman stove that went with us everywhere we went.
We would drive down the road with Daddy telling us to “Look! Isn’t that pretty!” and Debbie and I with our noses in a book or Barbies spread all over the backseat, back window and floorboard. (We had no seatbelt law in those days. It was everyman for himself in case of an accident!) Mother would usually be sleeping.
When it got to be lunch time, Daddy would find a roadside park and get the Coleman stove out and fired up. Meals usually consisted of fried bologna on bread. Good times. We seldom ever ate at a restaurant. I can’t remember a single time. I do remember stops at grocery stores along the way. We would spend the night in those great old Motels, where you parked right in front of your room. I once made the mistake of remarking that a certain motel’s swimming pool had too many people in it. (Well, what I actually said was the pool was too full.) Daddy, never one to let anything go, teased me the rest of our traveling life together about whether or not the pools had too much water in them before we would stop to get a room!
The accents of the folks in different states always intrigued me. I couldn’t really understand why, just because you lived somewhere besides West Texas, it would make you talk funny! Like Daddy, I did love the scenery though. I still love the scenery. Even today, I would much rather drive anywhere I am going, simply because I love to watch the scenery change from place to place.
As an adult, I have also had lots of opportunity to travel. When Mike Kelly was still with me, he and I and my cousins – Tere and Gerald, would plan a big trip every year. Of course, I was the only one voting for driving so we flew to all these locations. We would rent a car in these big city locations and our two farm boys would man the wheel in the busiest of traffic. Our mantra was always, “Look for someone who loves Jesus. They will let you merge!” (As a side note, Mike and I were at the Franklin Graham crusade in Lubbock about 20 years ago. We are still trying to get out of the parking lot! Everyone there loved Jesus and was letting everyone else go in front of them!)
After Mike died, I began to travel alone. I had a lovely red 1999 Ford F-150 and I would load it and take off on road trips all by myself. There is a thin line between brave and stupid and many say I was teetering on this line as I travelled. Unbeknownst to many of you, I have been on a quest in my life to attend a ballgame at every major league park in the country. I lack seven. So, this was what my road trips were about.
I have been to Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Baltimore, Denver and Washington D.C. all by myself. I have had many adventures along the way. Some fun. Some pretty scary! I also have been to Rapid City, South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. Pretty cool if you ever get the chance. Are you aware that you can fill up with gas in the early morning hours and leave Rapid City heading down Highway 385 and go straight to Brownfield, Texas in one day? You sure can if you are ready to be home!
So, where would you go? What would you like to see? In these days of confinement, do some searching and some virtual tours. There is so much to see! Get after it!