The weekend of June 17th Dave and I went to Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit, IL a 6-hour drive from our home in metro-Detroit Michigan… IF we had taken one of our modern cars.
Because it was a Triumph race weekend we took the 1979 Triumph Spitfire on this road trip.
The journey itself took 12 hours to get from metro-Detroit to Rockton, IL (our Airbnb about 10 minutes from the race track). US-Highways were our primary mode of travel making the trip slower, but more interesting.
We made stops in two small towns for about 1/2 hour a piece. We had a 2-hour lunch stop, a beverage cooler stop, and we visited the longest covered bridge in Michigan, and found a Sinclair station too! In some ways this trip was picturesque and beautiful and in other ways the trip was miserable in the 92*F temperatures with a car whose heat from the engine burned up our feet as we journeyed along.
So why do it?
Why subject ourselves to a road trip in a TINY car across three states?
We went because we’ve always talked about driving Route 66 someday, traveling the back roads and stopping at interesting locations.
We went because it was a great opportunity to take our little car and there wasn’t a good reason NOT to.
We also went because Dave enjoys driving his fun car and cars are meant to be driven.
Besides, I encourage adventure and what kind of adventurer would I be if I didn’t embrace new and unknown situations?
Especially in the safety of one weekend. I mean think about it… We are both smart and resourceful people so if anything went wrong we would be able to handle it.
One weekend won’t make or break us and who knows… it might even be fun!
As we prepared to leave I was VERY proud of myself for packing so little for our 5 days away from home especially since I had filled up my SUV the weekend before, for a 2 day, 2 night weekend… *inserting sarcasm here* The dog has SOO much stuff. Hahaha!
I was SO excited that all of my clothes and toiletries fit into FOUR small containers! The toiletries for the weekend, mostly sunscreen, bug spray and other “just in case” type items since we would be in VERY small towns all weekend… with a car I can’t drive.
In packing, we ended up having everything we NEEDED and not much else! We had clothes for Friday thru Monday, Dave had two sets for each of the racing days. We brought extra tennis shoes for Dave and sandals for both of us just in case rain and puddles made our shoes wet. We had a lawn chair (only one fit), my camera, laptop, and electronics for a work-from-Airbnb day. We had rain gear, a box of tools, a box of other car related gear, a soft sided leak proof cooler, and a small bag of snacks. Everything we truly NEEDED and a few extras stuffed in for good measure (24-waters, 8 Bai waters, and 7 Gatorades—Dave had one the night before). Whew!
Lesson learned: It’s SO much easier to pack for a road trip when there is plenty of space. When it’s time to pack a carry-on bag for a weeklong airplane trip OR pack a tiny car for a long weekend we have to plan ahead with the most smarts and efficiency we can muster. It also might mean my dining room table is filled with all the things that didn’t fit and will need to be put away when we return from the trip.
So… we had everything we needed, it fit in the car, we got a mostly good sleep the night before… we were top down and ready to go… until it started raining as we were getting into the car. Dang it!
I was bummed that it was raining and that the roof had to go up, it ended up being a blessing in disguise because the heat of the sun would have given us both sunburns and the conversation would have been almost non-existent… DAVE TURN HERE would have been our only chatting points!!! I’m pretty sure if we had left the top down that we both would have lost our voices before we even started the weekend of family and friends.
Dave had pre-planned a few points of interest along the trip and our first destination was the Irish Hills Towers not far from Michigan International Speedway (MIS) along US-12. Even though it was a NASCAR racing weekend we left early enough on Thursday morning that we avoided any pre-weekend enthusiasm and enjoyed the rolling hills and farm lands in this remote area of Michigan.
As we drove past MIS we also sailed past the Irish Hills Towers in an “oh there they are and there they go” type fashion. We came, we saw, and it wasn’t worth the stop.
A lesson in Life: Just because we planned to go doesn’t mean we are meant to stay and sometimes life is funnier when it doesn’t go quite as planned. We laughed as we caught a glimpse of this landmark and laughed even harder when we sailed right past it.
Life and road trips are supposed to be fun or at the very least enjoyable enough to journey again… and if they’re not you’re doing them wrong!
Believe me… we’ve done MOST of our road trips wrong… point A to point B travel isn’t any fun and our next trips from metro-Detroit to Milwaukee (to see Dave’s family) will have a few more points of interest so we can enjoy the long journey.
Before we left I told a friend about our travels and she sent me back a prayer text. Here is what it said “Praying that your travels are mechanically uneventful, that the conversation is rich and life giving to your marriage, and you see God everywhere you go. Be on the lookout for Him. He loves you.” She added a googly eyed android man too because every prayer needs one of those right? *smiles*
Well as we came into a small town Dave’s car started making a strange noise accompanied by a lurch… wonderful.
So we roll up to a tiny town and find the (only) gas station in this the cute town and as I make my pit stop (from all the hydrating I was doing). Dave opened the hood of his car and found that a part of his distributor came loose causing the engine to misfire… in plain English two pieces that were supposed to be attached to each other were loose. He grabbed a small screwdriver and plunged it into the hole to keep the two parts together dubbing himself McGuyver, and rightly so.
Not to one up him or anything, but I asked the girl at the gas station if she knew where the nearest hardware store was located, to my surprise she pointed across the street (remember small small town)! Yea not the next town over with the screwdriver holding together the thing-a-ma-jig!
Being super prepared Dave (aka Super Nerd), took out his calipers and did some fancy math to get the right # machine screw to look for at the hardware store. *tongue in cheek* We should all carry along our calipers… just in case. I joke, but they seriously were helpful so the joke is probably on me.
As I was heading to the hardware store on my own the Nerd I am thought about something… shouldn’t there be something to hold the screw in place better than a simple nut so I asked if he needed a lock nut and to my surprise he said great idea! Yea my Nerd skills are still in tact, not calipers and pocket protector worthy, but nerdy none-the-less.
We paid our $0.36 at the hardware store, placed the screw and nut into place and vroom off we went! *insert snickering because I’m immature, but we fixed our car with a screw and we might be a little nuts*
As we started driving off several retired guys looked out the diner window to see Dave’s cute little car. Several gave Dave a nod of approval… old guys are SO cool like that. They can give approval without saying a word or putting down their coffee!
Life Lesson: Fixing our minor mechanical issue was a fun detour! We could have been arguing and upset with the delay (like we have SO many times in the past), but we worked together, we both participated, and we supported one another… maybe just maybe we should do this every day. Show up, jump in, and let the minor things stay minor!
Life Lesson: Find joy in the small things especially in moments that remind you of times going by… the hardware store had pretty rough floors and an unfinished raw look to it, but it had everything I would expect in a true hardware store. It had small brown paper bags for our nut and screw. We simply wrote down the part # and quantity before we paid our $0.36… Thirty-Six CENTS. Yes Cents! It has been a VERY long time since I’ve paid with all cash let alone coins! It was a moment where it’s time to reminisce hardware trips with dad or grandpa because this scene will look different by the time we take our future kids or grandkids to the hardware store for a few small things that once cost $0.36 way back in 2017.
Today’s moments are tomorrow’s memories and stopping to enjoy today wherever you are is important so take stock of where you are right now because a few years from now your view will be different, your experiences will change you (hopefully for the better), and you can choose right now to look back on this moment with positivity even when you are in the midst of turmoil.
You are made of tough stuff and I am confident that your journey is going to be great!