Over the Christmas break, during my freshman year in college, I talked a buddy into driving nearly 400 miles out of our way just to see a girl. Not just any girl though, as she would eventually become my wife.
My family was living in Brunswick, Georgia at the time and a high school was driving seventy miles north to the Savannah mall to exchange a Christmas gift. I went along for the ride. As we crossed the I95/I16 interchange a road sign foretold that Florence, South Carolina was 185 mile ahead. Andria's family resided in Florence. An idea flashed in my mind and a plan was hatched. Since we had gas money (that's how I remember it anyway) Jeremy agreed to make the detour. I called Andria to make sure she was home and off we when.
The funny (and infuriating, for Andria) part was that we ended up meeting a a McDonald's off the interstate for fifteen minutes. She hoped we would follow her back to the house, but since neither Jeremy nor I told our parents about the change of itinerary I felt we didn't have much time to spare. Needless to say she was a little pissed. Andria, her sisters and mom went to the trouble of cleaning the house especially for me. I like to think I have repaid the debt in the years since. And it is one of the funny memories of our twenty years together.
So in reality, my buddy and I drove a total of six hundred miles on a whim to see a girl I had been dating for two months.
Who does that?
Apparently my dad.
During the road trip a few weeks ago to visit my dying grandmother our conversation broached many subjects. A couple of stories told of his time in the Navy, stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. On one occasion he and a buddy drove from Charleston to Macon, GA, visited with my grandparents for about an hour, then hustled back to base before they were reported late for duty the next day.
Another time he was driving from Charleston to Atlanta to see a girl he met in Daytona Beach while in high school. They were pen pals (a quaint relic of the past) and he knew both her home address in Augusta and that she was attending college in the Atlanta area. Well, Dad got as far a her parents' home in Augusta before her father explained the impossibility of continuing on to Atlanta and returning to Charleston before his next duty aboard ship. Twelve hours for at least a twelve and a half hour trip. Not to mention time to find his friend and make have a cup of coffee. Dad reluctantly faces facts and returned to base, only half way to his destination.
I have not taken many spontaneous road trips in my time. But I like to think this wandering spirit, this urge to strike out is a trait handed down from my dad. Part of that wanderlust that make ultramarathons so appealing to me.
On occasion you have time to take time. Other times you are short of time and must make haste. There there are the days that you recognize your own or imposed limitations and rearrange your course. Today feels like the latter.