Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Road trips

Posted on December 01, 2014 by jimparedes

(Note that I have a new category for my writings about my travels. You can simply click the ‘Travels’ on top to access them. YOU will also see them on the home page).

By Jim Paredes

Road trips are fun to do. I’ve taken lots of them. I like long drives with the family. I enjoy the changing scenery that a drive along a winding road especially in the countryside can bring on.

I have done many 200 to 300 kilometer drives to find great vacation spots to spend a few nights on. The thrill of discovering a new place makes me high.
But the most extreme road trip I have ever taken was in 1975 when my buddies and I drove a total of 16,000+ miles around the USA and Canada. We went from the West to East of the US, then up to Canada in Montreal and then crisscrossed the great Canadian Flatlands and the Midwest before coming back to the West coast again.

We were actually on tour as a singing group with other artists and we were there to perform for the various Filipino communities big and small all over North America.
It was also our first time outside our native Philippines and the whole experience was amazing. I remember how thoroughly exciting and enjoyable it was to be in a new place every so often, sometimes as often as every other day.
We were in a big van and the open road was an enticing thing to see everyday. Meals were at diners and fast food places along the side of the road. Home was anywhere we rested for the night before driving again. The trip took us to obscure places that a few people have heard of like Mystic, Bakersfield, Kamloops, Medicine Hat, and many more. It would be so exciting when we would get to the big cities like LA, or Chicago, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, New York, etc..

The great thing about these long drives like the one we had which stretched for three and a half month was witnessing the changing of seasons, accents, and architecture and fashion as we traveled cross countries. I remember discovering how delicious cherry pie was while I was in California. When I got to Mississippi, I went to a diner and ordered a slice of cherry pie. I knew there was something wrong when the waitress stared at me with a totally confused look. She could not understand me! It was then I realized that the people in the Midwest spoke with a really accented twang. As soon as I said ‘pah’ instead of ‘pie’, she understood, nodded and brought my order!

Autumn in Ottawa was just absolutely pretty especially to someone from the tropics who was being exposed to more than two seasons (rainy and dry) for the first time. The changing colors of the trees and landscape were pure poetry.

But it was the winter that really thrilled us. I remember parking our van by the road where one of the performers traveling with us took of all his clothes and ran in the snow to have a picture! It was crazy and magical. Snow to a first timer is beautiful beyond words. A place called Banff in Calgary, Canada is a good place to see and admire the season of winter.

A road trip this long can get tiring after a while. By the end of the second month, we made sure we had days when we weren’t cooped up in the van and were free to explore the town or city by ourselves. Too much of the same company can lead to friction.
Driving never tires me out. I have not lost my love for road trips even now in my 60s. I still would like to drive across Australia one of these days. Darwin, Cairns, Alice Springs and Adelaide are places this traveler would like to meet someday.

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