An Old School Road Trip

Quote of the Day:     A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”     –Lao Tzu

It is really amazing all the good a road trip can do. TB and the gang took off Thursday night in route to a job for Friday morning in Hattiesburg and with the intention of doing something, we did not know what, by Friday lunch. We did know we were not returning home until Sunday evening. It’s the kind of trip we used to take when we were only two, with no planning, no reservations and no hesitation. And now we know it works just as well for three as it did for two.

For an hour Friday morning we scoured the internet looking for just the right bargain hotel deal in New Orleans. We talked the night before about the aquarium, the zoo, the park, where to eat and all the other little details you should have an idea about prior to embarking on a road trip. We were at last settled on a plan, but decided making the reservation could wait until after lunch. So we lunched and stopped for gas and provisions for the road. Standing at the gas pump, a warm southerly breeze suddenly set sail through my hair, leaving it more pleasantly mussed than usual. I thought I caught the scent of salt, from memory or the moment I could not be sure. Then I finished fueling up the car and the passengers and warily suggested we turn left instead of right on leaving the Hub City. The breeze was a messenger from the road trip gods, I reasoned. Let’s go to the beach instead. Because my gang of travelers are pros, they recognize travel inspiration when they see it. They enthusiastically endorsed my new plan; “ok”, from the passenger seat and “milk” from the back.

So we wound up in Fort Morgan, Alabama, less than a hundred miles as the seagull flies from my hometown and a mere dozen miles from Gulf Shores, Alabama, practically my back yard as a teenager. But a place I’d never been. My crew found a condo perfect for our needs and much lower than our original budget allowed. TB is a notoriously poor negotiator when dealing for my own purposes, so it is well that I have a shrewd bargainer on the team. For once however, it looked like our last minute maneuvering might backfire as the master negotiator reached an impasse, after business hours no less, with the condo booking company. The last refuge of the last minute traveler is to bite the bullet and pay top dollar out of desperation, an act of which I am much more willing to resort than my consort. But after an hour of haggling, exercising the walk away, and then striking out at the competitors for a better deal, it was decided we would, for the first time in our joint careers, be forced to do just that. I volunteered to go in and put up the big money and endure the shame of slinking back to the deal we’d so gallantly eschewed just a short time before. I went with the sheepish grin instead of the million watt megacharmer and the gods were pleased. For no reason at all, the agent “remembered” she could give a 20% discount to walk-ins and suggested I could knock off another twenty bucks by foregoing the travel insurance we didn’t even know was part of the previous rate. We ended up paying even less than expected, which was to be expected considering we were on a beach road trip in late February with storms in the forecast.

Our stay at the ingeniously named “Beach Club” was all we hoped it would be. We walked on the beach, took photos of our third wheel in all manner of poses and moods, swam in the heated pool, ate pizza, drank cheap wine (or milk), slept late, waited for the storm that continually threatened but never delivered and planned our next trip. We were there only 36 hours or so, but it seemed like more. Our batteries recharged. The recession receded. Our resolve to repeatedly retreat from reality was reinforced. And we realized our recent addition assuredly received the road trip trait, same as her folks, when we heard tears from astern as we headed north from the coast. “Hey guys,” I said soothingly, “I hear there are some good last minute airfares out there. Maybe I should see what I can find for a weekend in March?” From the co-pilot’s chair, “ok”, and from the jumpseat, “milk.” 

Look for notes from Phoenix in a few weeks. Or maybe Fort Lauderdale.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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17 Responses to An Old School Road Trip

  1. smilyj says:

    Pretty good. My wife bought me a tent, for some reason, as a present a year or so ago. I was like “wow…A tent”? But as we cannot always spend extra money but enjoy a night away as much as the next couple, I figured we could use the tent. So twice now, just for an overnite trip, we’ve found a nearby campground with primitive sites to go to. Somewhere that you have the illusion of really camping. The kid loves it. Starting a fire, cooking hotdogs(cheap dinner) and marshmellows, and sleeping in a sleeping bag. Makes a good trip. And I think my boy learns something from it. I remember doing the same with my dad.

  2. Jessie Lou says:

    Smilyj – I think the tent thing is great – it is as good in the backyard as it is at a campground. When my son was in high school they were always going to the island to camp so you are paving the way for things he will later do with his friends.

    TB – sounds like a good weekend – you are lucky to have found someone as spontaneous as you so you can pick up and go at a moment’s notice. Get you daughter used to the idea now and she won’t balk later – kind of like feeding them vegetables.

  3. face says:

    We “discovered” Fort Morgan a couple of years ago and have been back a couple of times. Its just a 45 minute drive to Dauphin Island and a ferry ride across the bay. We’ve stayed at a nice beach house at Kiva Dunes and a camp house with window units and wood paneling and had a great time at both. There are not many golf courses in the area as good as Kiva Dunes.

    Your other choice of the zoo and the aquarium would have been nice too. We did the zoo last week during Mardi Gras.

  4. Madd Dawg says:

    We stayed at that Beach Club a few years ago in July on a neighborhood trip, and it was very nice, but also very expensive, I felt sick all weekend knowing that we were paying that much—that was our last neighborhood trip.

  5. face says:

    MD, maybe we can pitch in and buy you a tent.

  6. Jessie Lou says:

    I’ve got one he could rent – even by the hour if necessary.

    All kidding aside – I know that sick feeling well and it can ruin your weekend if you let it.

  7. Madd Dawg says:

    We all may be living in a tent by the end of the year.

    (1) What are the hourly rates for that tent?; and (2) Is JL included with the tent or is JL extra? 😉

  8. Zeek says:

    That is exactly the question I was going to ask.

  9. Jessie Lou says:

    Let me see…..

    $2.00 a hour
    $50.00 a day

    The fun you could possibly have….. priceless.
    Batteries and Jessie Lou not included.

  10. larry says:



  11. Jessie Lou says:

    I was just trying to be funny – Batteries never come with anything.

  12. Madd Dawg says:

    sEan and Huck in the $2 per hour tent

    ^ ^
    O O

  13. Madd Dawg says:

    everything got shifted to the left when this posted (possibly because of TB censorship)—the further down the symbol is, the further to the right it should be.

  14. Jessie Lou says:

    I’m just guessing it ain’t good for Sean and/or Huck – which ever one is on their knees.

  15. smilyj says:

    Who is this sean character? Yes my Tent may come in handy before too long. The way things are going. I thought Obama was gonna make it so that even doo doo didn’t stink anymore. Well now everything stinks and my doo doo still smells like poo poo.

    And Huck is welcome in my tent. Along with JL. And Sweet. No MD.

  16. Jessie Lou says:

    If times get really tough I’ll remember that.

  17. Zeek says:

    Bring on the depression BABY!! It can’t hurt me, I say let’s all start from scratch on a level playing field.
    Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!!!
    By the way, has anyone heard if there are plans to paint the White House black, or atleast a nice cafe’ latte’ color??

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