Road Trip Through the South - August 1993

My first and only trip to the South was back in 1993. I was just a boy then, from a rural town in Western New York, and hadn't left left state before that year. So, yeah i was excited to take the road trip down to Florida. I'm thinking we took the trip some time in some time in August of 1993. I'll get to more about that latter.

Anyways, i have memories of us packing that maroon '86 Chrysler LeBaron full of food, drinks, crayons (mainly for my nephew), coloring books, and some games. Yeah, this was long before the days of smartphones and tablets. I remember that car clearly with its digital dashboard, hood ornament, headlight covers, and stock spoked rims.

The next morning, with my younger siblings staying at our cousins, we took off on for Florida. We stopped at the Genesee Farms Dairy Mart in Elba and then onto the thruway at Batavia. I don't remember much of the trip through much of New York State. My memory escapes me regarding most of the trip, until we were going through one of the Carolinas (probably North Carolina). It was probably some time after midnight. We were driving and, as the forecast said, the maximum of a meteor shower was occurring. I also remember something from hours before about the forecaster saying that North Carolina would be a great place to view them. I believe the meteor shower was the Perseids of August of 1993. It was cool that we were passing through the state, at precisely the right time, to view the meteor shower.

Another memory, in a different state (that i don't remember which state it was) was seeing the Three Crosses on a hill monuments and stopping off at a nearby store for a break and to get more items for the trip. A person (the cashier) quickly explained their story and also said something about a tall tale, but they didn't get into detail about that. I also remember, during a different stop, waking up and seeing my parents and my older sister were taking a rest outside this rest stop we were parked near. My nephew was still sleeping in the car at this time. I got up and remember getting some food and a can of pop from the store. Then we were back on the road. Another thing i remember is how the radio stations, through multiple states, all liked to endlessly play Sonny and Cher's, "I Got You Babe" all the time at night. A song that was nearly thirty years old by then.

Soon enough, we made it to Florida and met up at the house of my other older sister in Port St. Lucie, Florida. We spent the next day traveling around the local area and hanging out at her house. I remember waking up one morning and having King Vitamin for breakfast and talking with my sister while everyone else was outside. I remember a giant slug crawling across the concrete floor of the concrete floor of their porch and chasing lizards at night with my nephew. We also went to Jensen Beach (at least i think it was) near sundown and let the warm waves of the ocean hit us. Which was also the first time i'd ever been to the Atlantic shoreline, the other time being when i went to Boston for a school trip a couple years later. Anyways, we drove past a building with sprinklers that hit the car as we passed and over a bridge to get to the beach. Being young, it was the first time that i used one of those beach showers and remember thinking it was interesting. Though, i did know about them prior. Then we'd head back and my parents and i slept at a house of someone else we know. I remember having to cover up with a sheet, as i slept in the living room, because i didn't know how to turn the off the central air conditioning in the place. I didn't know where the controls were, so i just dealt with it. The last day, i went around my sister's house and collected more shells, a coconut, and even a lemon from her tree. We left on the trip back to New York, my parents and i, and the trip was mostly uneventful besides a few rest stops i barely remember. Somewhere the New York State border my father stopped in a parking lot, early in the morning, to take a few hour sleep. I remember going to sleep too and woke up after the sun had been up for a little more than an hour. We then left the parking lot and didn't stop until we got back home, in Elba. Unfortunately, we never thought to take photos on the trip. So all the photos and memories are inside my mind.

That night, with my siblings still at our cousins' house, we had pizza delivered from Dan's Pizza Depot. I was on a tire swing as the deliveryman pulled up and my mother had been waiting for them. I went in the house, got some pizza, and went back outside with some pizza and a notepad as my parents watched television and were resting.

I ate my pizza, watching the August sun getting ready to set, as i looked across the field and towards the woods far in the distance. The place felt quiet without my sister and nephew no longer living there. As the sun set and the summer breeze was light, that's when i wrote my first song in that long-lost notebook. I still write as a hobby, but that '90s road trip into the south was my catalyst.


The Field and Forest - Elba, New York. The Catalpa tree to the right (in the yard) is 
where the tire swing used to hang from.

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