Roadtrips are cool again

My wife and kids really wanted to visit the Dominican Republic or, even better, Costa Rica this summer of the Apocalypse 2020. Beautiful white sand beaches, all-inclusive, wonderful hotels, and excellent healthy foods. Not to mention the service and friendly people in those locations. Just what the doctor would’ve ordered – but not in 2020 of course.

2020 needs to be rebooted or do a complete hard reset of the BIOS.

I’ve got to admit, traveling to exotic locations for a pale Viking like me is amazing. My ancestors never made it to those shorelines, although my dad claimed that he was a pirate when he was a young man pale Viking. He might have ventured to the bounty beaches of the Caribbean. You never know with these Vikings.

Let’s face it, after spending 6 months in lockdown and a few months in quarantine, any sane family is dying to get out of the house. We love each other dearly, but we need to see some other sights and people. There are only so many adventures to go on in your own back garden. Just look at what happened to the family in “The Shining“.

There were a lot of late-night family meetings in July. Mainly around the family Mac as my frantically searched for possible travel destinations that did not include a lengthy mandatory quarantine. Prices were dirt cheap but almost impossible to get to any of the destinations.

Even travelling within the US was severely restricted.

In the end, we “settled” on a family road trip within NY state itself. There are so many things to see and experience, just within a few hours’ drive. To put this into perspective for my fellow Vikings in Denmark. NY state is 2.8 times larger than Denmark.

The Auld Home

New York is approximately 122,283 sq km, while Denmark is approximately 43,094 sq km, making Denmark 35.24% the size of New York.

As an example, if I drove 4 hours from my childhood home, I would have crossed the length of Denmark, and half the width. When I was a kid, those trips felt like an eternity. In the US, it is a trip to visit a cool National Park, a microbrewery, or a horse competition.

My family in Denmark drove to Spain and Italy during the summers. We spent almost two days driving to Spain with the camper in tow, while my sister and I were fighting for hours, reading books, or playing with crosswords. I remember waking up in the weirdest positions and still looking outside the window at the Autobahn. We had no access to in-driving entertainment such as movies, iPhones, or other portable devil’s devices.

The Autobahn was the world’s first motorway. and was built in Berlin between 1913 and 1921. It has since covered all of German, blessing millions of European travelers with excellent roads, traveling at high speed.

When we agreed to the 2020 family staycation, we also agreed that we would be spending many hours in the family SUV. We had already spent many hours in our family residence. Now we would spend many hours in a much more confined area … and we, of course, brought the crazy family Labrador. As if this was not tense already.

Three kids, buried deep in their iPhone/iPad or movies. Singalong, family conversations, and a random quiz were not favorites among the kids!

We spent the next week driving zigzag through NY state, seeing wonderful sights. It is hard to explain how wonderful Nature is in our home state, and makes us wonder why we never ventured off on weekend trips to experience it more.

Our journey took us to Lake Placid where the US witnessed a true miracle on ice, walked amongst the eagles in Tupper Lake, shopped in Saratoga, water-soaked spectators on the Maiden of the Mist, walked in Harriet Tubman’s footsteps, drank wine at the Finger Lakes, tasted real Buffalo Wings where they were invented, witnessed the Grand Canyon of NY at Ausable Chasm, hiked Watkins Glen, strolled around Cornell University, and listened intensely to the Women’s Right presentation in Seneca Falls. And dad’s favorite, the Bass Pro Shop.

The old family wagon was put to the test and we added another 1500 miles to the engine. It performed very well and was as comfortable or uncomfortable as we imagined.

What I love about these road trips is that we avoid staying in fancy hotels. We drive through beautiful sceneries and see the landscapes change as we go from South to North, and East to West. It is fascinating to see how much the landscape can change, just within the same state.

Not to mention the food we tasted and the people we met. The small off the beaten track motels we tried. Some resembled Bates Motel and quickly drove to the next available motel instead.

It was and is, an excellent opportunity to hang out with your family. We all slept in the same room, in different hotels, and had a wonderful time. You really get to reconnect with each person as we were not buried in our iPhone screens or flicking through channels on the TV.

A staycation is excellent and is probably totally underrated by many. We are drawn to wonderful tourist locations abroad, hoping to experience new cultures or just sunbath on bounty beaches. We fail to realize that we have so many wonderful sights to experience, just in our own backyard.

You should absolutely consider a staycation. It is well worth it, and so much fun.

We realized that, while driving and when arriving back home, there are so many more sights we want to see in NY state. Many are just within a couple of hours drive, and can easily be reached during a long weekend.

It is also important to note that by traveling within your own state during COVID-19, you are supporting local businesses and the local economy. You are helping restaurants survive. It is vital to shop and support local!

The clan at Niagara Falls, NY … yes, that is the tourist trap in Canada behind us.

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