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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My First Road Trip

Continuing with our Top Ten Tuesday series, here’s another one of my favorite all-time moments. This one occurred in 1984, just like the post from last week—only this event occurred a few months earlier—shortly before I started college. At the age of 17, I filled a cooler full of pop, and stuffed my duffel bag with a few days worth of clothes, and I carefully studied the road atlas before embarking on my first ever solo road trip. I was about to drive from Omaha to St. Louis to visit my dad, sister and stepmother.

The route looked easy enough. I only had to take three interstates to get there. Rather than trying to find my dad’s house, he told me to meet him in the parking lot at a hotel called Noah’s Arc in St. Charles, Missouri, just off Interstate 70. I think it was a Best Western. He told me that I couldn’t miss it because it had fake giraffes and various other animals sticking out of the roof.

I pounded the pops on the way there and simply enjoyed my freedom. If there’s anything like a 17 year-old on his first road trip, I don’t know what it is. As I got close to the eastern edge of the state, I knew I should be entering St. Charles soon. Sure enough, I did, and shortly thereafter I saw Noah’s Arc on my right. I exited and drove into the parking lot to look for my dad. I was a tad bit early, and I didn’t see his car, but I figured I take a peek inside to see if he was there. I walked through the hotel lobby and I didn’t see him. I tried calling him a few times from a pay phone in the hotel but he didn’t answer.

I went back to the car and accidentally drifted off to sleep. I don’t know how long I slept, but I woke up when I heard somebody tapping on my window—which just about scared me to death. I looked up and there was Dad. Turns out, he was parked on the other side of the hotel and had been waiting for me over there. Don’t ask me why I didn’t look over there or what took him so long to find me, I have no idea. I was just happy to see him and even happier that my first road trip was a success.


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