Thursday, July 7, 2011

secondary highways

People are in a hurry even on vacations.  There's a lot to see in so little time, so we better get there soon.  I remember life before freeways.  Part of the vacation was experiencing the road side sights and small towns along the way.  The old scenic highways have become forgotten byways. The blockbuster hit movie Cars (2006) reminded us of this.

I remember trips where dad would pull the Kingswood Estate wagon aside a road side fruit stand so mother could get some Georgia peaches.  Sometimes we'd stop for a warm brown bag  filled with boiled peanuts.  Riding in a packed car without air-conditioning made an ice cold bottled soda taste so good going down. 

Traveling in those days was always an adventure.  There were things to see along the way and half the fun of the vacation was getting there.  Franchised fast food restaurants were still in it's infancy in those days, so not every city looked the same.  When it came time to eat, everyone in the car kept their eyes peeled for a good place to eat in or around the county we were passing through.  A good barbeque was always a Finlayson family favorite.

Every community had an old drug store offering sandwiches, fountain drinks and ice cream.  Drug stores were one of my favorite kind of places to stop.  Even then, it was like stepping back in time.  Every city had a city diner where our large family would pack around a table and be watched by the locals as if the carnival had come to town.  They weren't far off.

Every little town offered a new experience for sojourners passing through.  We'd find somewhere to stretch our legs and do a little shopping at a flea market or the local five and dime.  Are you old enough to remember trips like that?

The freeway made it possible for families to get to their vacation destination quickly.  Nothing wrong with saving time mind you.  Even so, I feel that much of the family vacation experience got lost somewhere along the way.  Back then, half the fun was getting there.

Happy Motoring!
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