Tuesday, May 20, 2008
because...getting there is [half] the fun.
last week, my family loaded up the family truckster and headed to colorado. it's been a while since we all were in the same car for over eight hours, and some may see that as something to dread, but to be honest, i was looking forward to it.
years ago, our road trips consisted of dad driving, mom reading a book, and my sister and i in the back of our station wagon. the entertainment consisted of following our route on a fold out map, waiting for dead spot in western kansas, where the scan function on the radio is unable to pick up any stations, and being the first one to see the mountains on the horizon.
this trip wasn't for a vacation, but rather to attend a college graduation, but i was still hoping for some road trip fun. heading out on this little adventure were the parents, the sister + boyfriend and myself. being a total of five adults we opted to rent a mini van for the venture. now, i'm not sure if all new mini vans are like this, but it was chuck full of gadgets that were not in our 86 station wagon. it had separate climate controls for the front and back, which would have saved many hours of bickering 20 years ago, a dvd player, with screens in the back, and satellite radio.
the future is now!
finding out about these features, we grabbed a few dvd's and headed west. not being in too terrible of a hurry, we made frequent stops. in between watching such classics as "vacation", and "planes trains and automobiles", we stopped and had lunch in a park in hays, tried to visit the 300lb prairie dog in oakley, (it was closed), searched for the most bizarre items in truck stops, and yes, still had a contest to see who could spot the mountains first.
we spent a few days in denver with the company of wonderful friends, attended a graduation that, besides a freak windstorm that stopped the ceremony, went fine, and even made it downtown to check out the denver museum of art.
the journey back was a bit quicker, however we did make time to visit the worlds largest easel in goodland, kansas that holds a huge version of on of van gogh's sunflower paintings. if you're ever in the area, it's well worth the stop. getting back into the car after visiting this modern marvel, i started thinking about the fate of roadside attractions. with cars coming equip with everything that you probably get too much of at home, i.e. endless music, dvd's, internet, along with the increasingly rising cost of gasoline, what will happen to these roadside oddities. will 4 dollar gasoline unwind the worlds largest ball of twine? will in-car entertainment eclipse the amazing feat of world's deepest hand dug well? will technology and the economy slowly dull these little gems that dot the great american road trip? were these kansas quirks solely the product of boredom and cheap gas? as we learn to be more independent from oil, will future generations learn to become more dependent with visiting these wonders only on wikipedia?