It’s been a long time since we’ve really done a road trip. As part of our rethinking of things given the vast changes we’re all experiencing we thought it was time to revive this old favorite. Yes, I love a good road trip.
I started road trips with my children many years ago because, as a single Mom with three kids, it was really the only kind of affordable vacation we could take. We drove many times to Florida and even did an all-out, cross-country, month-long road trip to LA and back … with a high school student from Paris who was spending the summer with us. I’ve done road trips to the Gaspe and to the Arctic Circle. All of these were wonderful holidays. So – in the name of fiscal conservation – we’re going to try one again.
David and I have never really done a road trip together. Okay – we did once drive to Washington, DC with my mother; she’d always wanted to visit the Holocaust Museum there so we took her. It was a tense and confusing time for us personally so although I think Mom had a good time we did a fair amount of tooth-grinding on that trip (no fault of hers for sure; just working out the kinks in the relationship). We’ve also done countless drives back and forth to Montreal (where his oldest daughter was going to school) and to New Haven, Connecticut (when Nili and Andy were grad students at Yale) and Ottawa (where they’ve lived – now with three amazing children – for the past few years). I think we put on about 1000 miles when we were in California for a week recently but that’s not a road trip, it’s just getting from point A to point B California-style.
No wait! We did do a road trip together once. It was on our honeymoon. We travelled to Israel, arriving late in the afternoon. We then had a drive of about 4 hours to a wonderful spa, Mitzpe Hayamim. Thing is, we rented a car with manual transmission, and David hadn’t driven gear shift for at least 30 years. I drove for the first couple of hours – getting us through the Tel Aviv traffic and well on our way towards the artist’s village of RoshPina (where the spa’s located). Then David took over and … I am rather embarassed to admit this … I promptly fell asleep. There he was, poor fella, on an unlit road going near to places like Um el Fahm and my old kibbutz Ein Dor (shady neighbourhoods) on roads that were not familiar, swinging back and forth through hilly terrain, shifting gears and figuring out where we were at any given point. Heroically, he did get us there safely (see why he’s my sweetie?) and – and this is true – with only minimal damage to our nervous systems. After a few days of being pampered, we climbed into the car again and drove all the way to Eilat for a week of playing in the sun; that’s Israel’s southern-most city and sits nestled up against the Red Sea … about a 12 hour drive from the spa. By the way, that should give you some idea of how tiny a country Israel is (if you don’t already know that); basically we drove from the North to the South in those 12 hours.
Anyhow – back to this trip. When we were in Buenos Aires in December we attended a synagogue that we really loved. The people were warm, the atmosphere was joyous, the music and the spirit were moving. The founding Rabbi – Marshall Meyer – who really built up that synagogue but subsequently had to leave Argentina in a hurry (undoubtedly due to political tensions) and, with a couple of his colleagues from BA, he became involved with a New York synagogue; B’nai Jeshurun (check out their website; we ordered two of their CDs and enjoy listening to the wonderful music each week as we prepare for Shabbat). We decided we’d make a special trip to New York City just to attend their services. That was the beginning of this journey.
There’s another important piece to this trip as well. When we were in the Galapagos a couple of years ago we made some new friends, Stanley and Lita. They are smart, funny, well-read, interesting … great new friends. And we’ve stayed in touch. David and I, having married in our 50s, have relatively few friends that weren’t either my friends or his friends “before”. We’re lucky to have the circle of friends we have, and still it’s really nice to be able to make new friends together. Stan and Lita came and visited us in Toronto last spring, and now it’s our turn to visit them – first at the New Jersey shore and then at their home in Philadelphia. Lita’s been busy organizing her end of this trip for us, and we’ve focused on getting ourselves to New York – with a day in Woodstock en route … a little trip into the past and an opportunity for a nice hike.
So – we’re off journeying again. As my schedule – and so my commitments – fills up again I can see that the opportunities to just take off for 10 days are going to become fewer and fewer. I still have to figure out how to balance both the freedoms of retirement and the things I still want to accomplish.
I’ll think about that as we drive along.