THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION MEMORIES FROM THE ROAD W hen I was growing up, my mom worked for McDonnell Douglas building airplanes. She was a union employee. Every two years or so, the union would renegotiate its terms. Before the negotiation period, Mom would have to work a lot of overtime. That’s because the negotiations would take a long time, during which employees would be laid off. I guess you could say the company was making sure they could hold out for as long as possible. The reason I bring this up, apart from the fact that it’s a cool job, is that our family road trips would always occur during those layoffs. Our vacations always included stereotypical American road trips.
wasn’t a legal option. My dad told the officer where we were heading and where the tornado was, but the officer still didn’t budge. We felt like we had no choice but to keep marching toward danger. We inched along for a little while, but we eventually knew that driving any further would be stupid. “If they want to ticket me, they can,” my dad said. To be as safe as possible, we parked the car beneath a viaduct. Then we waited. I don’t recall exactly how long we were there, but it was definitely a white-knuckle experience. The car was rocking back and forth. At one point, I heard the telltale whistling sound that indicates you’re in the middle of a tornado. My 14-year-old self was thinking, “When will this be over?” Today, I probably would’ve thought, “I hope we have good insurance coverage.” Thankfully the storm passed, and we made it out unscathed. Looking back on it, adventures like those are part of what make road trips so special. You never know what will happen. We certainly didn’t have “get stuck in a tornado” on the itinerary that year. Was it scary? Absolutely, but it’s also an experience none of us will ever forget. Road trips offer us the chance to take a vacation where planning and surprise happen in equal measure. If you’re packing up the station wagon this year, I hope you’ll stumble across some magical adventures. -Melissa Emery WWW.EMERYLAWOFF I CE . COM | 1
We’d load up the station wagon, squeeze in, and hit the road. One trip would be a loop through the Southeast, the next would be through the Southwest. Growing up in St. Louis, we had the perfect jumping-off point to see every corner of the lower 48. To be honest, I don’t know how much I appreciated the trips at that time, but I still have a lot of memories from them. I remember when we got a National Park pass and visited as many parks as we could. We even made a stop at a “haunted” plantation. Our greatest adventure, though, didn’t occur at a planned destination. Instead, it happened on the side of the road in Kansas. We were stopped at a fish restaurant on our way back home when we heard a tornado warning on the radio. We didn’t really know what to do. We’d be heading right into the eye
“Our vacations always included stereotypical American road trips. We’d load up the station wagon, squeeze in, and hit the road.”
of the storm, but we weren’t about to sit in the restaurant for hours to wait for the weather to clear. Eventually, we decided to brave the conditions and head out.
It wasn’t long after we got moving that things got dicey. In a panic, we decided to pull over to the side of the road and hang on until the tornado had passed. A police officer pulled up behind us to let us know that sitting on the roadside
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