A good road trip is never about the destination. It’s always about the journey. I drove 3.5 hours to spend the weekend at a lake house on Buckeye Lake last Saturday. The trip was rushed. I left too late in the day and had to drive straight down to arrive at a decent hour. The arduous drive left me feeling more stressed than relaxed. This is not the way to begin a weekend getaway.
The beauty of a jaunt at the end of a long week is the opportunity to turn off your cell phone, stash away the lap top and escape to a place where no one knows you. It is pure, unabashed freedom.
In my case, however, I’d made plans. Having accepted the gracious invitation to Buckeye Lake, I was obliged to fulfill a commitment. (My duty to subject myself to unfamiliar faces and loud music for the sake of catching up with a friend.) The people were pleasant. We enjoyed an evening of summertime festivities. Yet my inner-social-butterfly simply failed to metamorphose from a chrysalis. I just couldn’t scratch the itch to get out of there.
The adventurer within me was bent on a desire to explore the vast Mid-Ohio countryside in quiet solitude. In full honesty, the work week had exhausted me. I longed to escape the hustle and bustle of my suburban existence to investigate the mysteries of the pristine farm lands and sleepy villages they surrounded. So I turned in early and set my sights on making the most of my drive home in the morning.
Rising with the sun the next day, I bid a farewell thanks to my host and took to the road. I checked my GPS to ensure I was heading north and drove with no plan other than to meander my way home. (Note: This is how you start a great road trip.)
The 3.5-hour commute evolved into a 12-hour “choose your own adventure” tale. I ferried my way from Infirmary Mound Park in Uniontown to Roscoe Historic Village in Coshocton. I discovered the fabled basket building that houses Longaberger Headquarters off of State Route 16 (and turned around twice to see it again).
I even happened upon the hometown of one of my favorite college friends, Channing. A quick text and we planned to meet for lunch at The Depot Restaurant & Pub in Dresden. The thing that really made the impromptu rendezvous memorable is that he entertained my fancy to see the World’s Largest Basket, located in the center of Dresden village, and tour the Longaberger Homestead.
It is the detours that make life’s expeditions unforgettable. Don’t underestimate the neatly lined landscapes that abound in farm country. It is the long stretches of highway where there is seemingly nothing more in sight than cow herds and rows of golden crops that hold the best surprises. Next time you have a day or two off from work or school, take a day trip. Find out where those old country roads lead.