The Days of the Skylark

After graduating from high school (Mankato) and college (St. Olaf) in Minnesota, most everyone I knew headed west. No, not me. I headed east. My adventures began when I purchased a Buick Skylark, a little car that would hold all my belongings. I headed off to seminary (Colgate Rochester) in Rochester, New York and found I could do that trip in 2 long days of driving. By then, the Interstates were created for expediency. I recall how a 12-hour trip was very tiring. I would shift my left leg to the gas pedal and stick my right leg straight out to the passenger side. That brought some relief.

I often left Rochester on the Ridge Road headed to Niagara Falls. Then I would jump the border and travel across Canada, coming down to Detroit and on to Chicago. I hated driving around Chicago due to the traffic and toll booths. I don’t remember the exact cost of the tolls, but once I got behind someone who deposited all pennies into the hopper. My travel time was sure delayed that day.

That little Skylark got me through numerous long-distance trips. Once, I got caught in a flood and drove through water over my headlights. When I got to high ground, I heard such a screeching sound that I was sure I had ruined the car. I left it parked along the street and ran home in the rain. I arranged for a tow truck to retrieve it the next day. When they did, they discovered that I had been pulling a smashed up garbage can under my car. The universal joint was wet, but the car still ran. However, all good things must come to an end. The Skylark and I departed each other some five years later.

What is to come? Stick with me.

Once Upon a Time

You must take care not to pick up a bug when you travel. However, to travel means you already have a bug – the travel bug. I think mine must have begun when I was a child.

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Every summer, my family traveled from Minnesota to either Denver or Seattle. That was the beginning of my travel bug, whether I realized it or not. My mother’s family lived all around us, so we saw them frequently. My father’s family, however, all went west, so we traveled the blue highways before there were Interstate highways.

Most of the stops along the way were either in the middle of Nebraska or in Eastern Idaho. We would scan the roadsides for motels; there was never a need for reservations. Our goal was to spend less than $30.00 for the night. We did travel east once, though I hardly remember it.

My mother traveled all year long – on maps. I think I inherited the map bug, as I have always done the same. When I got older, I scouted out my own trips, studying the maps so intensely that, by the time to trip started, I could travel without a map.

Let me begin my travel sketches here. Please join me for the ride.

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