The VIEW from here
I don’t much care for driving with a destination. If we’re going on vacation, I’d just as soon be in the passenger seat. Plus I drive like, well, a granny. Hands at 10 and 2, never speeding, you know the drill. I have trouble staying awake on long drives, too. Especially if it’s sunny.
But aimless driving is another thing entirely. I remember one day when I was in college at Oakland University. It was autumn, and I just set out with no destination somewhere outside of Rochester. I came across a farm stand, where I purchased a bunch of Concord grapes, and I drove along back roads, spitting the seeds out the window. I explored an old cemetery. I followed roads until I emerged back out into the concrete world, then I found my way back to the dorms.
That day stands out in my mind for no particular reason at all, except it was just pleasant. Just me, the car, my music and some sweet purple grapes.
When I became a mother, I had a little boy who decided he wasn’t going to nap. I noticed, though, that he’d sleep if we were in the car. That started a tradition, which lasted quite a few months, in which I’d drive the back roads of Lapeer County for up to two hours a day. I’d turn on a talk radio program that I loved, and just slowly cruise the dirt roads, with the lull of the voices, the engine and the road bumps helping my baby to drift off into dreamland. Those hours spent driving around with my boy also stand out in my mind as pleasant memories. Back road cruising is still one of my favorite pastimes. There are still areas in Lapeer County I haven’t explored. When I’m out on assignment, I’ll usually take the
“long way back,” and I’m often rewarded by something to photograph or write about for the newspaper.
We have some really great scenery here in Lapeer
County. There are roads, like those over by the
Area, that feel like you’re up north.
There are roads over toward Imlay City, where you are quite literally driving through acres and acres of carrots and cornfields. There are old bridges to see, and plenty of creeks. There are certain roads I know to drive when I want to see specific wildflowers, and roads that I know are impassable in my little car.
By my side, I always have my trusty DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer. The atlas is absolutely indispensable in my opinion. It’s taken me many places throughout the state.
I’m passing the love of exploration through driving on to my children as well. They love learning where the roads take us, and seeing all the sights of this beautiful county and state. We don’t have DVD players or use electronics in the car. Why would we, when there are far more interesting things to see outside?
Even now, during the gray, muddy days of winter, there’s plenty to see. If you’re feeling a bit of cabin fever, pop some popcorn, fill up some water bottles, pack the kids into the car and see where the road takes you.