Road Trips: Part Deux

My last blog post dealt with some of my musings from the road trip my husband and I just completed. This post deals with the other half of those musings.

Unlike other trips to the Windy City where we stayed with some of the members of the other half’s family, since we had the funds available we decided to stay in a hotel. We don’t go with the upscale, four star hotels, but rather ones that have a good rating and are fairly inexpensive.

As a result, we ended up at one in the southern suburbs of the Second City, one known by its super number. While some of the negative ratings stated, of course, that this hotel was absolute filth, our stay was actually not bad. The housekeeping was limited and the continental breakfast was a bit lacking (though edible), but the hotel wasn’t bad at all. Of course, the other half and I don’t have high expectations when it comes to places to lay our heads at night either. As long as the hotel is fairly clean and the bed is comfy, we’re good. And there was a coffee place nearby, so that helped in our search for decent coffee.

Hotel lobbies are a fun place to sit for a bit and watch. There are people from all walks of life that walk through those halls, coming and going. There were people from out of town, including some German-speaking ones from who knows where (since while I like people watching, talking to people as an introvert is another matter). There were truckers and vacationers and people just passing through. There were conversations about travel plans and gossip about what others had done. But mainly, it was an exercise in just watching and observing, listening and musing. It was also a way to soak in some quiet moments before the raucousness of family shenanigans happened.

Inevitably, when family gets together, reminiscing occurs. One also realizes that something one does seems to be a family thing. Take common sayings, for instance. The other half often will say “to tell you the truth,” which with his native Chicago accent, it comes out “to tell ya da truwth.” His grandfather used to say that particular phrase all of the time. In talking with his family at the get together we had, many of them also say it as well, including his uncle. In my family, the phrase “here’s the thing” seems to be prevalent. I did not realize it was something I did often until my own cousin called my aunt out on it, and then my mother in a phone conversation did it too. The other half pointed out I say it a great deal as well. It made for a great deal of laughter when we discussed it with both sides in the Chicago area.

Often on road trips, one must inevitably stop and get some food at some sort of eatery. Hole-in-the-wall diners, little bakeries, and restaurants with local cuisine will always be better, in my own opinion, then any chain restaurant ever will be. But chains sometimes are the only way to go while actually on the road. A good portion of this last trip was spent eating good food with the other half, sometimes with family. We had home-cooked meals, deep dish pizza, Chicago cut pizza, breakfast from a tiny diner with awesome coffee, fresh empanadas, some delicious tortas and burritos and of course we did stop at a chain to get the coffee that America runs on since it was closest to the hotel. And of course, the other half found me a cannoli!!!

I also have discovered that while I enjoy visiting others, I also enjoy my own bed, my routines, and snuggles from my cats. While my little swath of the Midwest doesn’t seem enticing to others, it is where I call home and I was glad to get back to it. While the big city is fun to visit and wonderful for photos and memories, I am quite happiest where I lay my head, even if there’s any number of things wrong with it.

It’s like Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

Even still, there is magic in the moments of a road trip. There are details to be captured into stories that have yet to be written. There are connections to be made with family and friends not seen in years and stories and laughter to be shared. There are memories that have been made, ones that will live on long after people who helped to make them are gone. There was time spent elsewhere, enjoying new experiences that then allowed us to appreciate what we have.

Keep finding the magic, dear readers. Keep writing those stories of life, just as you write the words you need to find.

I know I will.

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