3 – he took the midnight train going anywhere

He asked me if I’d seen a road with so much dust and sand.
And I said, “Listen! I’ve traveled every road in this here land!

The first vacation I “remember” was drawn from pamphlets, pictures, and paraphernalia that validate the experience. I captured a faint collage of the opening showcase at the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. While my parents caught plenty of images of a pseudo-Shamu leaping from her pond, I more sharply recall the deer I tried to pet (and it’s attempts to escape my affections) at the adjoining wildlife park. An initial Cedar Point experience was tied only to a brochure with an image of this sweet coaster and a map of the attractions a 3-year-old couldn’t enjoy.

(*I googled “Cedar Point 1982,” but anyone with a working knowledge of the park would understand why the affixed image is inaccurate…)

Further into childhood, we took our first cross-country driving vacation. I can’t imagine any family of four affording three days at Disney World these days, but we managed. While my cognition of the events are much more in tune with reality, the trip served a greater love for road travel. For at least a year after that summer, I could correctly recite street-for-street and highway-to-highway the path from Bremen, IN to the foot of the Magic Kingdom. Who knows when these things might come in handy?

I still love traveling, and I REALLY love maps… quite the lost treasure in an era that asks technology to plot the path from Bremen to Orlando. My trusty road atlas from my ‘01 Escort rests faithfully behind my current passenger’s seat. I haven’t cracked it in years, but if we ever suffer a blackout and the small number of map outlets get blitzed like a snowy day in late November, I’ll be the wiser.

Ten years after my first theme park, I roamed Great America with fellow pubescents and conquered my first coaster. I thought for myself that day — when my friends decided it wasn’t yet their time, I found new ones. With the help of strangers, I quietly strolled the lines of the Batman and never looked back. I’ve ridden a few hundred since and suffered my only other “freshman fright” the following year. In honor of my final walk of shame, the aforementioned easter egg has officially been fulfilled.

… a handful of trips to Indy and a few treks to Chicago, with college bringing the mother lode. While flight provided the pathway to the northwest, Hawaii, and the UK, I’m partial to the car, van, or bus. Numerous relationships were built through camp, choir, and youth group, but all were strengthened by the emptiness of travel. We sang, we played Euchre, I fell into infatuation with some stupid girl… wash, rinse, spin, repeat. If these volumes chronicle the most instrumental moments of my life, this theme will be found throughout.

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