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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

We're on the Road to Nowhere


Despite the fact that we had nowhere to go, and despite $3.15 a gallon gas prices, the PT Clan decided to take a road trip anyway. I think after the past few years of driving in the van, staying in hotels, and eating out at Kosher restaurants across the country, we just got used to taking a summer trip. So we took a mini-road trip this year (big hint there).

This year was different in that the ultimate destination was not my folks' house. We had gone each year to visit my dad, who was too sick to fly out to Wisconsin (and didn't have much inclination to do so even before he got sick). So now that he has passed on, we don't have a good reason to drive there, and although I would love to see my mom, she is clearly not ready to have the eight of us descend upon her house at this time.

So, what to do? We basically took out a map and asked, what's the most interesting place we can go in a one-day's-drive radius from Milwaukee? That has kosher food.

...

Yup.

Nowhere.

Nothing real interesting in these parts that we haven't already seen. We go to Chicago all the time, not really much of a trip there. And we've gone East and seen Indiana and Ohio and there's nothing really compelling out there for us. So we went West (another big clue).

And aside from the requirement that there be Kosher restaurants, I added a new one this year: I need a minyan. I need to say Kaddish. I haven't missed a single minyan since the funeral.

So the trip was a little more interesting in that way. See, in prior years, our only contact with the Jewish community on the road was the restaurant, and you don't really interact with people there. This year, I had to get in touch with the rabbi, go to the shul, talk to people, etc, and I actually do feel like I've gotten to know the community a little, even in the 3 short days that we were there.

The only problem with this is that the "vacation" aspect of the vacation was dampened considerably for me and the boys, since you really don't feel like you're on holiday when you still have to wake up at 5 am to take a drive to the Jewish neighborhood for shachris. And then drive back for mincha/maariv later in the night. With the hotel being 25 minutes away, that added up to about 2 extra hours of driving just to and from shul. A little draining.

But hey, who hasn't come home from a vacation feeling like they need a vacation to recover?

23 comments:

Neil Harris said...

There is something to be said for just packing up the mini-van and driving to a different city. Hope you enjoy looking at something different. Nice reference to the Talking Heads!

LittleBirdies said...

Hope you at least enjoyed. We are hoping to do somthing similar, but with 2 toddler/preschoolers. Should be an adventure!

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

So cool that is the best, no destination is the way to go. Great pic. Love road trips I just went to Sesame Place.

Jack's Shack said...

I'd be thrilled to pay $3.15 a gallon.

Rafi G said...

so where'd you end up going?

RR said...

Reminds me of when we were kids and my parents would herd us into the car to "go for a ride." Nowhere in particular, certainly not as ambitious as your road trip-just a nice ride in the car for an hour or so. I doubt anyone does that anymore!

So...where did you go? I'll take a guess- Minneapolis?

torontopearl said...

Funny, PT, how the "road to nowhere" somehow leads you back home too....

VientoSur said...

"...who hasn't come home from a vacation feeling like they need a vacation to recover?"

That happens to me after every vacation. And I don't pray or keep kosher. Sigh.

Wickwire said...

I too was reminded of my childhood days when we went out for week-end drives to nowhere. We almost always ended up in the mountains, which I loved.

orieyenta said...

I'm with Jack. $3.15 a gallon would be really nice.

Glad you got a chance to get a mini-vacation - those are better than no vacation, right?

BTW - love the Talking Heads reference and the pic.

PsychoToddler said...

Neil: I forced the family to listen to the Talking Heads CD on the drive over.

LittleBirdies: It's definitely more fun now that the kids are older. Driving with toddlers (we had 4 under the age of 5 at one point) is NOT fun.

swfm: well, we had a destination because we had to reserve hotel space. But we didn't have much of an itinerary.

Jack: At this point, so would I. We are the proverbial boiling frogs.

Rafi G: See RR.

RR: Nice guess!

TP: Yeah, we just turned around and came back the same way.

VientoSur: I sometimes think that it would be so cool to get on the road and eat whereever I want and not worry about packing sandwiches etc. So you're saying it wouldn't matter?

Wickwire: Mountains are cool. Not a lot of those in Wisconsin, though.

Orieyenta: Thanks. I must have talking heads on the brain. Must have something to do with my new theme song.

Sweettooth120 said...

RR - we do that all the time - get up and drive to no place in particular, even when our kids were smaller, though it is more fun now that at least one of them can read.

How far away is St. Louis from you? or Toronto? My guess would be Minnesota too.

Btw, Jack, our prices range from $3.05 - $3.20, unless of course you venture into the city or the more expensive neighborhoods. I've seen them upwards to $3.30 plus

Doctor Bean said...

Welcome back, pal.

Neil Harris said...

While I sold a majority of music years ago, I kept "Sand in the Vaseline" and "Naked". Every couple of years I give them I short listen to.

Neil Harris said...

Of course, I have them on cassette.

Anshel's Wife said...

Should I be offended you didn't tell me when you were in town?

PsychoToddler said...

If it were me, I would certainly be offended.

parcequilfaut said...

PT...
I can say fairly affirmatively that not keeping kosher on the road would not make it that much more relaxing.
This weekend we made a 175-mile drive down to West TN to go to a festival. We got lost and went to Kentucky and then came back. And we really wished we had had some sammiches, because we had to drive around on state highways, kind-of lost although heading in the right direction, in search of a barbecue place or equivalent, because we had missed lunch at the festie while lost and were ST-AR-V-ING. The same thing happened on the way out; we were almost halfway home before we found somewhere we wanted to eat. If we had had sammiches, we would have just eaten them, like we do when we go on trips with DAO Emma (whose vegetarian diet is unusual and can't really find road food at all.)
The road is fun and frustrating, whatever you bring to it.

PsychoToddler said...

I guess. I remember as a kid when we didn't keep kosher how much fun it was to stop at various diners along the way, or steak houses, and sit in a booth and order with my folks. There was a place in Miami called "One Potato Two Potato" that we always used to go to.

Eating on the road was always part of the experience. That's one reason the kids look forward to the trips. They like stopping in Cleveland and eating at the restaurants there. I guess if we lived in NY where there are 10 pizza places within a 2 block radius it would be less attractive.

You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

The Observer said...

If you think $3.15/gal is bad, try doing the same thing in the UK where it is just under £1 per litre, or, roughly, $8 gallon! Land of the $100 fill up. But the van we rented was a diesel and did 400 miles on one tank.

There aren't a lot of kosher restaurants in North Wales though. There aren't any, actually. Or minyanim, for that matter, so maybe you'd better wait 'til next year. But if you stock up and take an ice chest, you can get by for a few days on bread and cheese. Which the English Jews do know how to make, unlike it seems, their American counterparts. Maybe you've got it better in Wisconsin. I don't know. A post for another day, perhaps.

PsychoToddler said...

I understand that gas is more expensive overseas. But on the whole, they also drive smaller, more fuel-efficient cars and have less territory to cover. The US is a BIIIIG place.

Wisconsin has no kosher restaurants, but you can pull into any supermarket and find plenty of prepackaged kosher goods, butter, cream cheese, bagels, cereal, etc.

PsychoToddler said...

I remember the first time I drove cross-country to WI--I think I was actually moving here and my wife had flown with the kids while I drove the van. I recall pulling into a "Piggly Wiggly" with a giant pig over the front door and thinking "there can't possibly be a more non-kosher store in all of the midwest," but being surprised by all the kosher stuff inside.

The Observer said...

Well, that's the problem in the UK. Here, the kashrus industry has busily checked out and marked a gazillion items as kosher. Over there, very little on the shelves is marked as kosher, so you either have to have a copy of the "Really Kosher Food Guide" put out by the London Beis Din, or rely on fruits and vegetables.

As to the driving, there is, of course a good reason why they drive small cars: the roads are narrow. And lined on both sides by stone walls. (Think Bilaam's donkey.) Taking a Grand Caravan on the same roads, and driving on the other side, is a terrifying experience.