Saturday, August 26, 2006

Fellow road trippers


Beale Street is a slightly tacky strip of music clubs, souvenir shops and walk-up windows selling beer. Think New Orleans with a little less panache. But the music is irresistible, and walking down the street you can hear it all: Elvis hits from an impersonator, first-rate blues, Sweet Home Alabama, a little BB King, Jimmy Buffet from a karaoke duo.

It was in one of the souvenir shops – sorry, friends and family, I did buy Christmas presents here – that I ran into Lee and Magen Geiger of South Jersey, a father-daughter duo on the ultimate road trip.

In a week, the pair has gone down Virginia’s Skyline Drive, the Tail of the Dragon Road into N.C. and Tennessee, Sante Fe, Phoenix, Vegas, back to Memphis … with a few days left to go. Along the way they bought a six-week-old “Min Pin’’ – a precious miniature pinscher named Koko that was getting lots of oohs and aahs on the street.

“It’s the ultimate father-daughter bonding trip,’’ said Lee. And what have they learned along the way? “People in Tennessee can’t drive,’’ said Magen, 15.



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Photos: Top, Lee and Magen Geiger with Koko. Bottom, Beale Street.

7 comments:

debbie kowalsky said...

How true that is--if you want to find out who your child really is, take a one-on-one road trip. My first was with my older son when he was in fourth grade and we went around Florida. My latest was this year with my younger son (now 16) going from camp in North Carolina to Maryland to visit relatives and then down the coast. From learning about their taste in music, their navigation skills, the places they find interesting and overhearing cell phone calls to their best friends (and camp girlfriend), you get a real insight into their lives and minds. And you never know what they will blurt out on a roadtrip when you're traveling 70 miles an hour that they never would have disclosed at home (or what question they might have for you). I can say that my boys feel very comfortable "sharing" with me and we now have experiences that can never be replaced. My older son and I went to New Orleans for the first time last year, leaving one week before Katrina hit. We have felt emotionally invested in the progress there.

Patrick F said...

Hi Jane
sounds like you are in St Louis today.
If you have time go to the City Museum in downtown St Louis. You didnt have it as a choice so I choose Blueberry Hill. Ask to speak to the owner Joe Edwards if he is there, he helped redevelop the loop area. Ask him about the City Museum!!
Pat

Sarah Eaton said...

Hello Jane,
I'm just now able to join your roadtrip, because I've been on the road myself. It sound like you've been having a great time so far. I'll post here the earlier e-mail I sent to you before you left and will then add suggestions for future stops.

What a great trip. It was just by chance that I was on the Herald’s website when I clicked on Travel on a whim and saw your blog. I made a similar seven-week solo trip last Fall to celebrate my retirement from the City of Miami. That trip was one of my most memorable journeys ever. I also just completed a six week trip to Oregon, Washington, and California, and am now in Montana until October. Although I have always loved to travel, I now have the luxury of time to really enjoy this passion. I thought I would pick some of my favorite places from these last two trips to send to you.

Any national park/monument is at the top of my list of places to visit, but the lesser known parks, such as Sequoia-Kings Canyon, North Cascades, Petrified Forest, and Theodore Roosevelt, are just as magnificent, and less crowded, than such classics as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

I also was fascinated by the western Oregon Trail sites (Scotts Bluff, NE; Fort Laramie, WY; Register Cliff, WY), Mississippi River towns (Red Wing, MN; Nauvoo, IL; Ste. Genevieve, MO), and national scenic byways in general. A few of my favorite scenic drives are the historic Columbia River Highway, OR; Northern Cascade Highway, WA; various byways within Custer State Park, SD; Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway, WY; and the road encircling Lake Tahoe, CA and NV. Other favorite small towns included Guthrie, OK; Las Vegas, NM; and Amador City and Sutter Creek, CA.

My favorite luxury inns were Rusty Parrot in Jackson, WY, and Canoe Bay in Chetek, WI; my favorite historic hotels were La Posada in Winslow, AZ, and El Tovar at the Grand Canyon; and my favorite small B&Bs were the Bronze Antler in Joseph, OR, and the Dunbar House in Murphys, CA.

Favorite museums included the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, WY; the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, CA; and the Civil Rights Museum in Montgomery, AL. Favorite architectural landmarks (old and new) included the Sundial Bridge (by Santiago Calatrava) in Redding, CA; the library at Mount Angel Abbey (by Alvar Aalto) in Mount Angel, OR; and the Gateway Arch, in St. Louis, MO.

Since you will be traveling while it’s still hot, I would suggest that you take the northern route to Seattle. The southwestern states are magnificent, but not as pleasant when it's hot.

If you'd like more details about the sites I mentioned, I kept an online trip journal at www.mytripjournal.com/RetirementRoadTrip.

I think readers would also be interested in your experiences as a woman taking a road trip alone. It amazed me how often I heard, “Wow, you are so brave,” or “I would never have the courage to do what you are doing.” I heard this from friends in Miami, as well as many of the people I met on the road. Happy travels.

Sarah Eaton said...

I'm so glad that you will be visiting Glacier National Park, and that your husband will be able to join you. Since I'm living in Montana for a few months, I'm taking short road trips throughout the state whenever I can. Glacier was one of my first destinations. I had visited the park about ten years ago, and it's as magnificent today as I remembered it.

I'm assuming that you already have hotel reservations and hope that you will be staying at one of the National Park lodges. Lake McDonald Lodge is my favorite, although the architecture is not quite as grand as Many Glacier Hotel or Glacier Park Lodge. The location, setting, and ambience, however, are ideal, particularly if you only have a short time in the park.

The eastern portion of the park was on fire when I was there, but the fire is now under control.

Traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road, an engineering marvel, is the quintessential Glacier experience. Although I love to drive narrow, twisting, scenic roads like this one, I chose to take a Red Bus tour this time. These vintage touring coaches, also called jammers, have transported tourists since 1936, and this is a fun way to take in the scenery and learn about the history and geology of the park at the same time.

Jane said...

Hi all, and thanks. Hope everyone in South Florida is OK with the storm coming. Patrick, sorry I had to miss the Museum...too many things to do! But I appreciate the suggestion, and hopefully others will see it and follow your advice.

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