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210510 May 10, 2021


Road Trips
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    Last weekend Sue and I took a road trip to Iowa for the high school graduation party of the oldest granddaughter. This was something new for us, for we had never heard of a graduation party like that before. Basically it was a come and go visitation with her friends and family and everyone brought graduation presents for her.

    But, that is not the heart of this story. What I really wanted to talk about is the road trip there and back. Maybe we are getting old, but the 10 hour plus trip we used to do in one day have now been replaced with a motel stop mid-way after about six hours of driving and then doing the rest of the trip the following day. We did a similar routine on the drive home.

    Back when I was in the Air Force twice I lived about 12 hours from home and those trips were always done in one long (and tiring) drive. It seemed 12 hours was just short enough it could be done in one day, but really too long to be driven in one day. Many times we would arrive long after midnight after the drive, but it seemed okay since we did not have to spend the money on a motel on the trip. But now we are either too old to enjoy that long of a drive, or are financially better off to afford staying in motels on the way.

    In 1960 I made the first long road trip I was old enough to remember. It was a trip from Huntsville to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to attend the 5th National Boy Scout Jamboree. It was not a car trip but a caravan of three buses of Scouts. We spent the night in Oklahoma City and again in Amarillo, Texas, and took us three days to get there. It was a very long trip, but a memorable one.

    I got to thinking about some of my early road trips which I took when I was still a student at Lee. One of the first ones I remember was a drive one weekend which I made with Bob Walker (LHS ’64) and his mother when we went to see his brother in Washington D.C. Today the trip from Huntsville to Washington D.C. takes about 10 hours according to my GPS, but back in the 1962-63 timeframe we did not have the interstate system we now have. In fact, my best guess is that it was more like a 15-16 hour trip on state highways where we still went through each little town, rather than around them. Oh, and there was no air conditioning in the car. I can’t remember exactly what time we started driving, but I know we drove all night long and by taking turns did not have to stop for anything but a couple of meals. I also remember we went inside diners and ate, rather than eating from a drive-through fast meal place like McDonalds. I still have a vivid memory of stopping in a diner about 2:00 am and having breakfast somewhere in Virginia I think.  And I still remember how very, very tired I was when we finally arrived there.

    I took another long trip with Bob’s dad as well. Bob and his mother were visiting family in Pass Christian, Mississippi on the Gulf Coast and his dad was going to go down to get them. He invited me along and we started the drive after he got off work one afternoon. It was probably about 6:00pm when we stared out. Again, it was a non-stop trip and was one of the first times when I was an equal driver on a route which I had never travelled. I had just got my driver's license and the idea of a long road trip sounded exciting at the time.  I remember driving through Birmingham and would brag that I never had to stop for even one red light. We arrived at the coast very early in the morning and he stopped at a bar to waste a little time to keep from getting to their house before everyone got up. I was 16 at the time, but there was no problem in me getting in the bar with him. We sat in the back room and I played slot machines while we were waiting. The trip home was easier since Bob was also available to share the driving task.

    Since I have been retired Sue and I drove from Memphis to San Diego one summer, but we took about four days to get there because we stopped in several National Parks including the Grand Canyon. Driving back we took the Southern route and visited Carlsbad Caverns and several other National Parks.

    But, these days we don’t push ourselves anymore, by choice. We now try to limit ourselves to about a six hour day and find a place to stay before it gets dark. Call us old if you must, but we have found the trips are just much more enjoyable that way.

    Now, it is time to hear about your road trips. I think Linda Taylor must hold the record for the longest one, but am Taylor willing to hear competitors’ claims. 

Road Trip Survey


        Memphis, TN - I'm ready for summer. We got up to come home from Iowa and it was 43 degrees outside. This is one of the craziest weather years I can count in many years. Major snowstorms, late frosts and cold temps in May. I am ready for some warm sunshine.

Pizza Survey

Taylor Wright , LHS '66, was 10 and he first had a pizza from Terry's. "I had never heard of pizza until I moved from a small town in Tennessee to Huntsville .We were visiting some friends that had also moved from the same town in Tennessee and they ordered pizza. Boy did I love that pizza and still do.You can tell by the way I look. LOL,? I still am booked on Terry's and Big Ed's."

Cecilia LeVan Watson, LHS '68, had her first pizza from Pizza Hut at 19. "I had my first date with my husband at Pizza Hut on the Parkway. Back then the pizza was hot and cheesy... "

David Mullins, LHS '64, had his first pizza at 13, also from Terry's. "I just love them."

Prentice Tuck,  Would have been LHS '64 but moved, had his first pizza at Shakey's as a 10-year-old. Now he says, "Best served with a cold beer. !"

Russ Sanders, LHS '66, first had pizza at Mandos on Governors Drive. "I was 15 - didn't like cheese until then. Pizza is much better in Italy."

Paula Spencer Kephart Smith, LHS '65, was about 15 when she had pizza at Terry’s on North Memorial Pkwy. "I love Big Ed’s & Mellow Mushroom now."

George Vail, LHS '66, had his first pizza at 8 in Vestal, NY, "My favorite food bar none !"

Belinda German Talley, HHS '69, first tasted pizza at Pasquale's Pizza on Governors Drive at 14. "I remember thinking that the pizza was good. Strange, but good. Somewhere about that time, I experienced my first spaghetti. How could we survive today without these?"

Betty Jo Key Scholter, LHS '65, was 10 and thinks her first pizza was from Terry's. "We really enjoy Marco's."