Thursday, July 10, 2014

Road Trips

On the road again

Every year, sometime after our Eastham family reunion on the second Saturday in June, it has been our practice to take a road trip: my mother, my sister, and me.  Several of our trips covered bits of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We even stopped by Dollywood one summer and liked it way more than we expected. 

Always, as soon as we were on the highway, Mom would sing "On the road again . . ." She was always excited to take a trip. My sister says if you called and ask her to take a trip she would be standing at the curb with her bag packed before you hung up.

Mom was game for anything. Several years ago she rode the highest roller coaster in the world (at that time) at Cedar Point with my son Jamie and me. Recently Lynn and I took  her up Grandfather Mountain to stand on a metal bridge in a storm, just because we always wanted to do it, and this was our chance.

Mom, Lynn, Judi:  Mile high swinging bridge, Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina.

 More and more often I was able to incorporate some genealogy into our trips: a quick stop at the Montgomery County, North Carolina Courthouse, a side trip through Mayodan to see the cotton mill where my grandparents met, walking up a hill to the saddle of the Cumberland Gap.  I do a presentation about colonial migration routes, so last year we planned a trip through the Shenandoah Valley.

Mayodan, NC Cotton Mill

Mom and me: Fort Sumter

Mom and Lynn: Bridge Day, New River Gorge 

Unfortunately, two days after I arrived in West Virginia, my mother fell and broke her hip. Although she tied, she never really recovered from the fall and the effects of the subsequent surgery. We didn't get our road trip in 2013, and we wouldn't have another chance.

So today, before I finally head back to Oregon after the better part of fourteen months away from home, my sister and I are continuing our tradition. We are heading for Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia,  Winchester and Front Royal, Virginia, and Skyline Drive.  We'll drive along Skyline Drive, look at places our ancestors might have lived, visit museums, and in the Eastham family tradition, eat a lot of good food.  

It will be bittersweet, but we'll have to sing:

On the road again

Just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again

On the road again

Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again

                              Willie Nelson

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