So 13 days ago I had a job interview and very unexpectedly that day landed a new job! Wow! The next 13 days became a whirlwind of craziness. I quit the current job and then all of a sudden had 2 weeks of time off! I needed to do something, go somewhere. Being last-minute for planning my options were limited. I couldn’t afford to fly to a whole lot of places but could afford to fly to Chicago or possibly Orlando near where my parents live. No offense to my parents, whom I love dearly, but visiting parents isn’t always a vacation and Florida in July, no thanks. So I started thinking about Chicago.
Why Chicago? Well for starters, I have 3 friends who live in or somewhat near there. Second, I haven’t been there since I was a kid so in essence it would be like visiting somewhere new. Third, if I chose to fly it was reasonable, even last-minute. So I decided I was going to chicago! Let the planning begin! I started looking at flights then thought about driving there. A little over 10 1/2 hours if I drove straight there. I thought about how much time I could take to travel and what all my options were. I decided I had one week I could do a road trip with in between other obligations here at home.
So it was pretty much Friday night by the time I decided it was a road trip for sure. I had an appointment Monday morning and could leave after that I was thinking. Time to plan? What? I had a busy weekend involving things other than planning! So in the little bit of time I did have I found out where to hit up some mountain biking on the trip and got hold of 2 of the 3 friends to see about visiting. Pretty much this was going to be about the most unplanned vacation I ever took and I was excited!
It’s Monday morning and I got a few last minutes things done and my appointment in before hitting the road in my car. Yes, I took my car, the Pimpmobile. I figured, I like risks, if my car breaks down then screw it, I will just work around that. I kept my fingers crossed the whole trip! So I finally headed out of Asheville about 11am and my potential goal was to get to Columbus, IN that night. Columbus is near Brown County State Park where I wanted to bike and from what I read looked like a cool college town and had a brewery so hey, it can’t be too bad. Of course I have not booked any hotels so was prepared to suck up whatever that would cost.
So I start driving and at first I’m excited, then I become anxious and nervous as I realize I’m taking a trip by myself in my car without others really knowing where I am at other than they know I’m headed to Chicago. After an hour or two of this anxiety stress I start to relax again and get excited again. Life is pretty good and I’m on an adventure, a true American adventure. So as I head up I-75 I start feeling like I need off the interstate and that I’m taking a road trip, it’s time to see America outside the interstate box! So I see a sign for a lake and national forest and decided that I should at least head off that exit and see how out of the way it is. I forget but it wasn’t far and as I’m driving towards the lake see a trailhead type pullout and stop and walk down the short path to an empty camp site. Not that exciting but it gave me a chance to stretch my legs and look at my map. Have I mentioned I don’t have a gps nor do I want one. I’m a firm believer of maps!
So as I relax a little I look at my map and find some back roads to hook me back up to the interstate in between Lexington and Louisville. It became so much more pleasant to ride these roads through the farms of Kentucky versus the mass of cars on the interstate. I think of the commonly seen bumper sticker in Asheville, “Not all who wander are lost” and I smile. That’s what this trip is about. Wandering, not pointlessly mind you, but letting myself take a detour if I so chose and letting myself go places and see things entirely for me and what I feel like at that exact moment!
I eventually get into Columbus, IN about 7:30 or so and have time to check out town and enjoy a couple of good brews at the Powerhouse Brewing Company. I’m excited to start the next day with some exploring on my mountain bike and then work my way up to Chicago. I think I went to bed with a smile on my face as I have given myself some much needed medicine, a road trip. It’s only day one!