Summer Tour Stops

post by jefftk (jkaufman) · 2024-07-09T19:10:05.659Z · LW · GW · 0 comments

Last week, Lily, Anna, Cecilia, Harris, and I drove to St Louis and back playing dances. I wrote about one aspect last week, and will probably continue splitting thoughts across posts. Today I'm thinking some about our approach to stopping along the way.

I grew up in a family with a very strong "maximize time at destination" approach to road trips. We would often leave before daylight, with stops determined by the minivan's requirements for additional gasoline. We would eat while driving, I recall creative efforts to handle certain biological needs, and we'd generally try to get the trip over with as quickly as possible.

I did sometimes see other people taking a different approach, but it wasn't until the first time I drove a group of college classmates a long way that I realized people have widely divergent preferences here. We were driving a van to Dance Flurry, about five hours North of Swarthmore, and around lunchtime people started talking about maybe stopping for lunch. I (really!) thought they were joking, and said that since we still had more gas and had brought along a bunch of food we didn't need to stop. There was a revolt, and we did not end up eating while driving.

Over time, I've come around to a view where one of the great things about traveling long distances by car is the opportunity for interesting stops. It's often the case that there are intermediate locations that are better places to spend the marginal hour than your origin or destination.

Before this tour we put some time into thinking about nice places to stop, and we also did some looking up options while driving. We ended up stopping at:

There were also stops that didn't end up being so nice (usually: "too hot, no water, not much to do") but we generally kept these short, stretching legs and moving on.

I asked everyone to rate these:

Lily Anna Jeff Cecilia Harris
Niagara Falls 1 1 2 3 2
Gateway Arch 5 1 3 1 1
Bluespring Caverns 6 1 1 2 5
The Woodlands (Zipline) 2 1 6 3 4
Violin Shop 7 1 5 6 3
Brookville Lake (Swimming) 3 1 7 5 6
Lee Athletic Field (Island) 4 1 4 7 9
Pepper Pike Park (Green) 8 1 9 8 7
Golden Gate Park (Creek) 9 1 8 9 8

Overall, I think this dramatically improved the tour. While I love playing dances, and that remains my favorite part, some of the things we saw along the way came close!

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