Tom Kelly: Sunday Drive: Childhood memories of Sunday drives |

Tom Kelly: Sunday Drive: Childhood memories of Sunday drives

Tom Kelly: Sunday Drive: Childhood memories of Sunday drives

Tom Kelly

Growing up in Wisconsin, my favorite childhood memories involve climbing into the backseat of our car (always a Chevy) with my two younger sisters as mom and dad would lead us on adventures. While it’s a positive memory today, it probably didn’t seem that way to mom at the time.

As kids, we never really knew where we were going on Sunday. We would just stake our places on the wooden floor area dad had crafted in the backseat. As the oldest, I always had a window on the passenger side. I would watch endlessly as the rows of corn went fleeting by, along with strategically placed Burma Shave signs lining the roadway.

We would play games like travel tic-tac-toe. We weren’t much for singing songs. Mom researched our stops and dad, who ran a service station, would make sure the car was ready.

Welcome to Sunday Drive where every Wednesday this summer I’ll take you on adventures close to home here in Park City. We’ll explore some of the world’s most fascinating landscapes, all just a few hours away.

The beauty of a Sunday Drive is not just the destination, but the journey and sometimes the purpose. As a child, we occasionally became smugglers. Wisconsin is the dairy state and in the 1950s and ’60s, you couldn’t buy margarine there. For some reason margarine was important to us and we could make clandestine runs down US 51 to the Illinois border, joining other Badger state license plates loading cases of oleo into our trunks. On the way home we would divert to local backroads for some fried chicken at Tibbie’s, an old roadhouse restaurant near the dam at tiny Indianford.

Looking back, I think it was less about the money we saved on margarine versus butter, and more about doing something together as a family.

Once a year those Sunday Drives turned into weeklong vacations with each stop carefully chosen based on the next Holiday Inn along I-90 heading to the battlefields of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. The two-floor Holiday Inns with the exterior doors were perfect places to play hide-and-seek with my sisters.

It’s a different era today. But I still long for country highways and roadside restaurants. They still exist. But the little diners are harder to find and the country roads are even lonelier.

I’m looking forward to taking you along with me on Sunday Drives in the pages of The Park Record this summer. Along the way we’ll mix afternoon drives with weekend jaunts – around Utah and across the Intermountain West. You can put your GPS away and let us do the driving, mixing adventure and cuisine, with scenery and culture.

We’ll introduce you to places you’ve never known and put a new face on some of your old favorites. Some will be trips for the family SUV, and a few will be off road adventures for that Jeep Rubicon you bought for the kids but you don’t quite know where to take. It will all be kid friendly.

So, buckle up! I’m delighted to have you join me for a good old fashioned Sunday Drive.

Next Week: The rock art around Utah tells a story of life from over a thousand years ago. For Memorial Day weekend, I’ll take you to what many refer to as the longest art gallery in the world – a day trip to Nine Mile Canyon.

About Tom Kelly

A lifelong traveler, Tom Kelly has visited over 100 countries on six continents. But some of his best adventures have been in Utah and the Intermountain West, which he has made his home for 34 years.

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