Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Destination Known

In his latest column in Road and Track, Peter Egan laments the time constraints that forced him to pass by various attractions during a road trip/comparison test, and ponders the idea of going back when he has more time. This revived a thought process in which I engage once in a while: pondering road trips my wife and I would like to take.

The trips I usually consider are the ones we're most likely to take. Naturally these are fairly local, usually doable in a week or less. The reason for the destination can be pretty random, although we like to use a nearby, previously unvisited casino as an initial excuse. From there it's a matter of finding out what else there is to see, although in the case of one casino on our list, on I-29 at the North Dakota/South Dakota border, the very existence of such a huge operation in the middle of nowhere is a novelty. One that has recently come to mind is an area north of Sioux Falls, with the Royal River casino in Flandreau and the grave of an old friend in nearby Pipestone, Minnesota. (This one may be at the top of the list; I still think of him with some regularity.) I think we'd combine the previously mentioned casino in the middle of nowhere with a trip to Montevideo, Minnesota to see a former colleague who now runs a café there.

Then there are the trips that may never actually happen, but could, given favorable circumstances. One that I enjoy considering actually involves Mr. Egan: a drive past his Wisconsin farm southeast of Madison, just because I have read so much about this area in his columns and articles over the years. (No, I wouldn't stop in, unless he happens to be outside when we drive by; then I might say hello). My wife would like to go to Las Vegas again; she loves the place and an old friend lives there. I have never been there, so we'll probably do our best to make this one happen someday.

The trips about which I give the least thought are the pure fantasy drives that could be taken with unlimited time and resources. The possibilities are just too numerous, and the unlikelihood of being able to do one makes it hard to consider.