I am taking my vacation during spring break, this coming week.

This has drawbacks. The main one is that I will not be going into Back to School fresh from a vacation. Summer vacation is supposed to make me fond of the customers again before they begin obsessing over their plan books.

However, The Empress and I gazed at the calendar for now till BTS, and it is clear that May and June are both out, and my kids have no breaks between Spring Break and May, so this is it.

#2 daughter will be home from college, but both she and #2 son are working for part of the week. So any thoughts of a week-long camping trip are out. Also, we must take said daughter back to her school at the end of the week. So any road trip must end up in Liberty, MO.

At the moment, I am thinking that I should spend the first half of the week lolling around knitting and reading, and then have a leisurely road trip to Liberty and back.

We have taken a lot of road trips as a family. The perfect road trip, to my mind, is when you point your car roughly in the direction of your eventual destination and mosey on over there, stopping at all interesting places. “Interesting places” should ideally include, but not be limited to, the following: weird little museums, roadside stands with things like fresh-pressed cherry cider, small parks with surprising features and live music, bookstores (stocked, in an ideal world, with used copies of out-of-print books by favorite authors, and wonderful brand new unfamiliar authors in cheap paper editions), yarn shops with local handspun and imported craft magazines, and encounters with friendly and unusual people. You eat intriguing local foods and hear different radio stations. At the end of the day, you find a great campsite or rustic cabin with good plumbing and someplace to swim.

Of course, as we all know, road trips often include long spells of flatness broken only by scary roads and ugly strip malls containing the exact same chain stores that you have back home, nasty fast food, and spending 40 minutes driving around bootlessly searching for the World’s Largest Coal Scuttle which the sign suggested was just off the freeway. At the end of the day, you stop at place after place with no vacancy, finally ending up with a room at an overpriced motel where people scream at each other through the night. You also cannot, on many road trips, get a good cup of tea for love nor money. And sometimes hardly a shower, either.

Most road trips actually have both these types of experiences. The excitement of road trips is that you don’t know ahead of time the ratio of bad to good or the details.

(If you think that the excitement of road trips is the possibility of having exciting but non-fatal adventures with people you meet in bars, you have been watching too many movies.)

I have been thinking back on the high points of previous family road trips: friendly deer, Navajo tacos, an Albuquerque wedding, pig de-snooters and other artifacts of  exotic daily lives, breathtaking scenery, Sequoyah’s home, Dove bars eaten with knife and fork in a wrought-iron courtyard, paddle-boats, happening upon sculptures in a garden.

My wonderful husband is going up to pick our girl up today, so I can look forward to the road trip without also having a 12 hour there-and-back today.

I will research what exciting possibilities there may be between here and there.