There are two types of people on road trips: those who stop sporadically, sometimes unplanned and unnecessary, and those who will stop for nothing, not even for a bursting bladder. Occasionally the two types of road trippers serve as poles on a spectrum, with some travelers lurking somewhere in the middle ground. However, most road trips I have been on are one extreme or the other.
I am the former when I am with other people. Then, I want to savor every stop, looking for hidden gems with my companions. I want to craft adventure out of the spontaneous moments at gas stations and rusty dives. When I am alone, I am the latter. Often I trek 5 hours between two homes, most often by myself. Then I try to not stop at all, not for hunger, or thirst, or toilet breaks. In those moments I just want to be in one place, far from transit.
Both types of road trippers have their time and place. Sometimes we just need to be somewhere else as soon as we can. Perhaps because of an emergency, or a party your running late for, or a storm at your heels. Other times we need the soul feeding adventures that happen when the unplanned takes over. Random exits can become dead ends or provide beautiful oasis’, livening up a long journey.
On this particular 9-hour road trip across 7 states, there was one big stop that turned in one big adventure. After miles and miles of no food stops we were on the brink of slaughtering our own cow, but finally found tiny town with homey restaurants. One particular restaurant was in a beautiful 200-year-old house. There menu was small, but that meant the food was good. The owner happened to walk in and strike up a conversation. Grass-fed beef is her claim to fame. She gave us a tour of the patio then recommended some neat places up the mountain to visit. After feasting on our grass-fed beef, we went up the mountain.
Ohiopyle was the name of the town that we ended up in. It was right on a river with a beautiful water fall and loads of white water rafters. There was a little town with antique shops and a general store really similar to the one that once stood near my home. It was a town tucked in between a state park. The drive was windy and wonderful, taking us up and down mountains and through thick and lush forests. For hours we drove these roads until we made our way to our final destination.
This bit of fun would have never happened if we had decided to get takeout and keep trucking down the highway. Instead we stretched our legs and breathed fresh air. We stopped for a moment, instead of whizzing by the beauty, 70 miles per hour.
In the moments that we don’t speed past or meticulously plan, great things can happen. This has turned into another tiny stop for the books.