Travel is a celebration of time off and the chance to see new things.
My inner soul at times craves wide open spaces, uncrowded roads, and a meandering off the beaten path.
“Have you ever noticed how friendly travelers are?” my aunt said, as we took a small road trip from her house in Indianapolis to the Oliver Winery.
Mildly busy, the winery was full of good vibes and fantastic energy. Inside, a wine tasting was underway, a building with a pristine gift shop and a decked out inside standing bar.
Quiet chatter, some giggles and wrinkled noses here and there, the group seemed a jovial bunch.
A couple celebrating their wedding anniversary asked us to take a photo of them. They were glowing with that “wine” happiness to the point that I wondered which of them was the designated driver, or if they really were going to take themselves out like that on the happy highway.
Things a public safety reporter thinks about.
Nevertheless, my aunt was right. Everyone in the room and outside, was sipping wine and having picnic lunches under tree canopies that arched over the winery and the steep, majestic grassy embankment that led to a small lake below. Conversations unfolded as to where people were from and where they were headed.
In the midst of middle America, what appeared to be a Sultan, sat nearby with his wife, both dressed in brilliantly shiny satin embroidery and white tunics. He was leaned back against a bannister, as she sat gracefully on the picnic bench. A broad smile came across his face as he saw us. He did not speak, but a smile is universal.
My bestie and I had brought my aunt to meet my second cousin, and we unfolded our picnic and talked about travel, traffic, and other things. I mentioned how many trucks were on the interstate on our way up to Indiana from Florida.
My bestie said as often as possible, she likes to get off the interstate.
And we did.
Upon leaving the winery for the day, we took a series of turns, guided by GPS.
The road became more narrow, the trees taller, the forest denser, and the road turned into gravel and rock instead of pavement.
Of course, my aunt not being the country sort (never mind we come from a farm family lol), was not enthused about this sudden scenic route.
She is riding with a deputy (who is also a scout), and a reporter, both of which have a sense of adventure, and suddenly, my aunt says, “where are we??”
She is not liking being off the beaten path. But the beauty thereof was amazing.
“We are somewhere,” I told her. “GPS says so.”
The bestie and I are both laughing.
Behold, a sign. The Monroe Morgan State Park.
The road did become extremely narrow at one point. Roads did not used to be wide, and we figured the route we were taking was the one the oldtimers used to use. After about an hour, we suddenly resurfaced from the forest to paved roads with stop signs and beautiful, smaller farms with exquisite barns.
My aunt breathed a sigh of relief.
When was the last time you explored the unfamiliar?
We had many such explorations during our July trip to Indiana.
And it proved to me that there are still places in this country where you can go to get some fresh air and be in the midst of God’s creation.