JUSSAYIN’ – Roadtrip snafus

A.C. "Mac" MacKenzie, Opinions Editor

Over this past weekend, I had to make the tiresome, five plus hour trek back home to Boston, Mass. to conclude some unfinished business at my place of summer employment. It was certainly a welcome opportunity to return to my family and to witness my beloved city and neighborhood just as the famous autumn colors of our trees were beginning to seep into the leaves. Nonetheless, this weekend’s eleven-or-so hour “round trip” would have been completely draining if it were not for my great love of road-tripping.

As a wee lad of about 13, I set out on my first — and greatest — road-trip, a month-long journey across the Midwestern United States with the Boy Scouts of America. The trip was filled with the visiting of national parks, the consumption of fast food, and the repeated exchanges of many still-funny inside jokes. To be away from home for that long a time at such a young age was a rare opportunity and I feel as if too few young people have been granted the option for such an adventure.

I believe that month I spent on the road at age 13 really helped me deal with the homesickness of living states away when I entered my freshman year at Le Moyne. That trip certainly taught me valuable life skills such as budgeting and how to prepare or break down a meal, likewise, it forged a previously absent sense of self-reliance within me. I value that month of summertime adventure higher than most other memories, good or bad. However, even now, seven years later, I am always still learning new things whenever I set out on the road. On this most recent trip I learned that there is indeed a place where the pavement ends and the road turns to dirt, and I can only assume that a man with a hook for a hand was lurking somewhere in the forest when my companion and I came to that place and banged a frightened U-ie.

Even the best roadtrips can hit major snafus such as this, but it isn’t the bad times nor the fear that make a great roadtrip, but rather how you and your travelling mates decide to pass the time. Perhaps you find that driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour is a little more refreshing with a playlist of pure late-90’s music: I’m not going to admit to blaring the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC and Britney Spears for a solid hour last weekend, but please don’t make a liar of me and ask me to deny it.

Another classic element of the American roadtrip is food: pretzels and potato chips half-crushed under knapsacks make a great treat, but eventually you’ll feel like stopping at one of the many highway service plazas (easily the collective most skeevy places on Earth) to purchase a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, a Big Mac or Whopper, or even — if you find one of the few service plazas with a Boston Market — an entirely prepared, traditional turkey dinner! Just watch out for Roy Rogers, at about $2.25 for a “small” order of French fries (realistically about thirty potato twigs), that joint has got to be one of the biggest ripoffs I’ve ever encountered.

Good company, good music, “good” food, and — sure — a few good scares, now that’s a great roadtrip. Jussayin’.