Experiencing life’s many journeys

The presidential election has been held and that marks the end of one journey, but that is not going to be the main focus of this piece. I think we could all use a break from politics for some time.

The journeys I’m thinking about are the ones that my family took when we went on vacations. I realize for some people family vacations consisted of getting to their destinations as quickly as possible. With my family, more often than not, it was the opposite. We stopped at several tourist attractions such as the giant buffalo statue in Jamestown, ND; Wall Drug in Wall, SD; the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues in Bemidji and Mount Rushmore and the ongoing carving of the Crazy Horse Memorial, both in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Plus there were many scenic overlooks or historical markers that we would take time to see. Some times it was to take a break from being in the car for several hours, other times those stops were part of the trip.

Some of the places I’ve been to have changed over the years. A good example is Deadwood, SD, which was more of a tourist town in the times my family visited it. At one time, we took a trip through a wax museum called “The Ghosts of Deadwood Gulch.” It had life size figures detailing some of the history of the town, from the death of Wild Bill Hickok to when the community had a Chinatown in its gold rush days. The last time I was in Deadwood was in the mid 1990s and it had gained a casino or two, which had definitely changed things. Another example is the Crazy Horse Memorial. When I was a child the face was more of a drawing or a rough hewn shape that wasn’t really visible. Today, decades later, the face has emerged from out of the stone.

It wasn’t just trips in the spring, summer and fall, there were trips to Montana in the winter to go skiing in the mountains. There were car drives to the Twin Cities to see Twins games or visit friends or relatives who lived in the suburbs. Sometimes we would get together with family friends to go to ski areas around the Twin Cities. There were also trips to Duluth to see family or ski at Spirit Mountain.

My family would usually drive to our destinations and the way we spent our time in the car changed some over the years. In the 1970s it was listening to the radio or an eight track tape, in the 1980s it was cassette tapes either through the car’s stereo or on a Walkman. By the 1990s it was CDs, although my dad had a system that allowed him to load up several CDs so he had a more continuous play.

With Thanksgiving coming up and Christmas and the other holidays around the corner, I hope everyone has safe travels no matter how they do it. Also, take a little time to stop and enjoy the sights if you can, sometimes the journey itself can be just as fun as the place you are trying to reach.