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When was the last time you went on a road trip? It’s one of my favorite ways to travel, especially with my mom. We’ve been doing it once or twice a year for the past 20 years. Whether we go out of state or just a few hours down the road, we always have fun. And while road trips generally fall into two general categories - the planned and the spontaneous - traveling with my mom is mostly a hybrid of the two. Three weeks ago we loaded her SUV and hit the road, ready for some planned excursions and whatever adventure would come our way.

We typically plan our route ahead of time, sticking to back roads and avoiding busy interstates whenever possible. Our first night’s lodging is usually booked before we leave. And even if it isn’t, we make sure some of our favorite hotels are along the way. We almost always stay in a hotel that provides breakfast, so the first meal of the day is covered. We eat lunch at one of our favorite chain restaurants (often Mom has already bought gift cards to a couple of them). A mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack at Krispy Kreme or Dairy Queen is pretty much guaranteed at least one of the days. Dinner is a picnic in our room, followed by a game of Bananagrams and a Hallmark movie or reality show on the room’s television.

When planning our trip, we also take into account the sites and people we want to see. My mom and I both enjoy thrifting, so she carefully copies down the addresses and phone numbers of promising thrift stores along our route. Many times these are places we’ve shopped on previous trips.

If we’re traveling to an area where family or friends live, we make a point of setting up a time for a meal with them before we hit the road.

As much fun as it is to plan, we invariably end up doing some things that aren’t on our agenda. In fact, some of our favorite road trips have been ones where spontaneity prevailed.

If we have a week to travel, the leisurely pace almost always ensures some extra fun. We stop when and where we want to stop. Maybe it's a country yard sale with clothing stacked up on folding tables and housewares spread out on a grassy, roadside bank. Or maybe it’s a hole-in-the-wall antique store with unique kitchenware.

While I carefully choose an audio book for a solo road trip, my mom and I just talk. We rarely play any music. Instead, we have conversations about things we’ve seen, where we want to stop next, friends and family and life in general. And we laugh. We laugh a lot.

Sherry Asbury Clark is Co-Founder of Purdon Groves and a freelance writer. Her column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, appears each week in the Corsicana Daily Sun. You may reach her at sherry@purdongroves.com. For more information on Purdon Groves, a farm, table, venue and retreat property, check out purdongroves.com or visit their Instagram or Facebook pages.

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