Recently, I was on a trip in Upstate NY with my son. We were forced to take a detour, and wouldn't you know it- there were no signs to tell you how to get back on the main road. My GPS was also failing me, and wanted me to turn about and take the closed off road. It was raining, and I was starting to run late for a tour- this was getting aggravating.
My five year old was pretty happy in the backseat, telling me about the things he was seeing out the window. I have to admit that I was not really listening, but was trying to figure out where I was and how to get where I wanted to be. I pulled over, and yanked out my giant map, and pondered. As I put it back down in anger, I noticed something- There was a beautiful church ahead of me. I had been looking for a country church to photograph, and there it was, out in the middle of nowhere. And? It stopped raining. I took it as a sign that I should just go with it. And that is what we did. Kids sense our feelings, it was also a good lesson for me to show him that it is better to stay calm then to get mad when things don't go our way. Actions speak louder then words, after all.
As we ambled onward, we found a roadside pumpkin patch that had the gourds in all shapes and sizes, and my son had a great time choosing orange gifts for everyone at home (that boy loves a good pumpkin). As I dropped payment into the money box, he started jumping up and down and yelling that he had “found baby Spookley”. For those of you who don't know about this fellow, he is a square pumpkin that all of the other pumpkins made fun of in a Halloween DVD of the same name. He looked in patches in several states, for 2 years, convinced he would find his own Spookley. But a square pumpkin? Not possible, I told him. I was wrong- he did indeed find a palm-sized square pumpkin (yes, it had rounded sides- but it was as square as it gets). For fifty cents, he had his square pumpkin and immense satisfaction. It was a great time making memories with him, talking about how pumpkins grow, and pondering just how that little pumpkin grew in a square shape.
This was turning out pretty well, and we still made our tour with 6 minutes to spare. It was a beautiful day, and we had fun at the alpaca farm and with the animals. My son fed them, played with some puppies, and we left to go home. A few hours into the ride, again, we took a wrong turn- but ended up at one of the loveliest lakes I have seen in a long time. In the middle of a picturesque town, full of cute shops and “mom and pop” restaurants, we spent some time at the ice cream parlor and then took a stroll around the lake before heading home.
We enjoyed our “lost in NY State” time as much as our planned visits- leaving me to wonder if there was an art to getting lost, and just “going with it” instead of getting frustrated and cranky- or if NY State is just magic in October. Maybe a little of both. It also helps to always have your cell charger handy, a paper map (just in case your GPS is not behaving), snacks and a water bottle available, and a full tank of gas- because a good road warrior knows that one must be prepared for the unexpected.