The big road trip for this year is in the planning stages. We know where we are headed and when, but there are still some logistics to be finalized. The good wife and I along with one of my cousins are traveling to North Carolina. Once there we will be visiting another cousin and the brother to our traveling companion. Yet another cousin, who lives locally, will be in Atlanta attending his son’s graduation from a university where he just completed his master’s. This last cousin is then driving up to meet us in North Carolina.

If you aren’t confused at this point, then perhaps you could swing by and help me figure this all out. Never mind, it’s really not that hard. I and three other cousins are getting together in North Carolina. Very simple, indeed!

The good wife and I like to take road trips, but we don’t always travel well with others. We are sort of freelance, loosey goosey, if you will. If we want to see something along the way and no plan exist for the inclusion of that encounter, it makes no difference. There is no plan, you see. Sure, we know the destination and desired time of arrival, but you only go this way once and you may miss the best part if your plan is rigid.

 There weren’t many big road trips in my life during the years of my youth. Once I left home that changed a bit. While in college, I liked getting together with friends and taking off for a weekend or longer if possible. These were trips of limited distance, but they were great fun. When I retired from my career with the State of Missouri in 2010, we embarked on “The Big Trip”. The good wife, my dear mother and our grandson piled in our van with me and we spent three weeks traveling to all points west. That was the last road trip that my dear mother will probably endure. I was aware of that while on the trip and took every opportunity to make it as complete as possible.

My first recollection of a road trip, other than to visit family, would have been to Silver Dollar City. Like any good road trip, my parents had packed a cooler with food. This money-saving technique kept a cost control that would hopefully convert into more ride tickets when you entered the park. I don’t know if it worked out that way, but a well-stocked cooler is considered a critical part of a successful road trip plan. I don’t know what my cousin’s view is on the cooler, but her parents were there on that trip to Silver Dollar City!

I am the youngest of the cousins. It should be clear that there will not be any children on this trip. If one person asks, “Are we there yet?” the duct tape comes out and their view from the roof should be phenomenal!

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing Solutions. He writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.