Today is my dad’s birthday (Happy Birthday, DAD!).
I feel that it is only suiting for me to write a post that both appreciates him for my love of travel as well as appreciates all the travel opportunities he has given me. In doing so, I’m going to return to March 2009.
It was a cold night in Detroit, on the eve of Spring Break. I ignored my feelings of jealousy after hearing weeks of warm spring break preparations as sorority sisters, friends and neighbors boasted their plans of sun, sand & umbrella-topped cocktails somewhere in the tropics. I was also packing my bags… not for that ‘typical’ wild college Spring Break, but to return home with mom & dad since my dormitory was locking its doors. I tried not to get down… a crazy Spring Break wasn’t exactly my travel style anyway.
As I did the final sweep of my dorm room before departure, my dad called with the 5-minute pick-up warning. I tried to hide the blueness in my voice, but I think he picked up on it. I don’t even remember how the idea was born, but as we maneuvered home up the highway, the conversation somehow took a turn to “why don’t WE go somewhere for spring break?” That next morning, our bags were packed. We were off on a road trip. My uncle agreed to join.
That next day, we loaded up the car and took off with no real plans established. And this was our mini road trip:
We started big, going international, hopping the border to Canada (before the days when we needed a passport). Our first stop was a little park with a waterfall called Rock Glen. We slipped over icy rocks as we crawled to the base of the waterfall.
That wasn’t our last waterfall. We journeyed to Niagara, which is exquisite in the winter. All the trees are coated in a layer of crystal. The rainbow was brilliant. Some of the icicles were bent at awkward angles from the intensity of the wind. We jousted with sturdy ice swords. I’ll say my dad won the ice battles since it’s his birthday.
We returned to the states and fought our way to NYC. I say “fought” because watching my dad navigate through city traffic was no joke. We said hello to Lady Liberty, stood in the center of Times Square, made money on Wall Street, then lost money when we realized a $5 footlong at Subway in NYC isn’t really $5.
We moseyed along the empty boardwalk in Atlantic City. I played ‘chicken’ with the waves which only resulted in soggy shoes & socks. It was a cold, dreary day, but that’s okay, because there were CATS. EVERYWHERE.
I put on my manly pants for a tour of the Battleship New Jersey, a ship that seemed way too compact even for a short girl like me. We didn’t leave the area until we posed in front of the Liberty Bell and dived in to a Philly Cheese Steak in Philadelphia.
We swung around to Washington, D.C., visiting most major monuments and spent some time at the National Archives, where we feasted our eyes on that famous line, “We The People…” No, there were no Nicholas Cage moments in the making of this road trip.
After visiting our nation’s capitol, we paid our respects on the sacred grounds of Gettysburg. While we didn’t find any ‘ghost cannonballs’ we did find a great CD at the visitor’s center to listen to as we steered around the battlefield, witnessing a sad history unfolding around us.
The road trip ended at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, where I finally saw the place that my dad visits annually when fallen heroes are honored.
Now THIS was the best spur-of-the moment spring break trip any travel-loving girl would appreciate. Don’t I have the best dad ever? HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST DAD EVER.
I still owe him a trip to Egypt to see the pyramids.