Summer is finally beginning to take hold here in the Blue Ridge and that means one thing, the open road. The kids are out of school by now and if you have not already signed them up for one of those 2 month summer camps, you’ll probably be tearing your hair out in a matter of weeks. There is a cure, however, and it’s a good one: the Road Trip.
Our July issue will feature five of the best weekend road trips in the Blue Ridge, from epic mountain biking to fishing to climbing, we can help you get your summer plans dialed. Below is a smattering of images from the “research” I did while on assignment as a little teaser of what’s to come.
And now a little history.
When I was a kid, my parents packed my four siblings and me into a 1986 Chevy Beauville 12 passenger van and took us across the country not once, but twice in a period of 5 years. I was too young to be involved in the planning or execution of these trips, but I do have vague memories of lines on maps and hushed talk of “scheduled stops” and things of that nature. My parents were very into letting things do what they do and not interfere too much. They were certainly not headband wearing hippies, not at the time at least, but you could definitely see that side of them.
When we went to the Grand Canyon on the first trip, my parents let my 15 year-old brother lead my 14-year-old sister and 11-year-old me on an overnight hike down into the canyon. We slept with no tent on top of a picnic table because we were scared of scorpions.
The whole family took a 10 mile hike from the rim to the base of the canyon, on a quest to find a cool waterfall my dad had heard about. It turned out to be this, regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world and the coolest place I have ever been to. We then proceeded to climb up and impress even the local tribe with our brave teenage rock jumping prowess.
We camped every night, ate lunch from a cooler at rest stops or random small towns, and played silly word games during the long stretches of straight highway. Of course, this wasn’t some 12-seat utopia; we bickered and whined just like normal kids, but we also treated each mass van exodus like we were bursting onto a new playground, a place we had never seen or experienced before that was ours for the taking.
This youthful exuberance is had to rebottle once we know the stresses adulthood, but that’s the beauty of a road trip. You’re mobile, away from normal life, experiencing new and exciting things you may have never experienced before. Who has time to worry about whatever it is you usually worry about? You can leave your cares and worries behind because this is supposed to be fun, damnit.
So let us help you plan a road trip this summer. Keep a lookout for the feature in our July issue.