Off the Beaten Path

Over spring break, we took a road trip to Pennsylvania to visit colleges. Yes, we are at that point in our parenting lives when college is on the horizon for our eldest. No, we aren't quite ready to let him go.

About a year ago, I downloaded the Roadside America app so that I could locate any roadside attractions and oddities as we drove to the cabin and, in preparation for this trip, I purchased the rest of the regions so that I could find points of interest as we made our way east. I've always enjoyed seeing crazy things and after our visit to the world's largest freshwater fiberglass fish, my family has learned to indulge me. 

So, as we drove, I frequently consulted the Roadside America app for nearby attractions and read them aloud to everyone. More often that not, we chose not to stop because they were either too far from the highway or not interesting enough for us. Our family seems to be most interested in things that are larger than life. Keep your ghost towns. We want to see a giant cowboy boot.

As we drove through Indiana, I mentioned that there was a giant mushroom with the following description:

The giant toadstool was originally part of a garden display built by Krider Nurseries for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. 

A giant mushroom with a hint of historical significance? We had to see that. So, we exited the highway and drove down a bunch of county roads, made a couple of wrong turns, got caught behind a few Amish buggies, and finally found our way to a quaint little garden off the roadside and there it was—the giant mushroom.

We took pictures and walked around the gardens which were beautiful and I fell in love with my family just a little more. Though we had a long drive ahead of us, they were all up for this detour. You hear so many stories about the struggles of raising teens and yes, we have those too. But I felt so grateful that our kids are the kinds of people who say, "Of course we want to stop at the giant mushroom!" As we got back in the car, I thanked them and they said, "Don't thank us. We love doing this stuff with you guys." I teared up a little, one of many times during the trip as I thought about how much I love them and how soon our lives as they are now will shift and become memories.

As Luisa guided the car back to our route, I made a cheap joke about there being a fungus among-us and the kids groaned, proving they are human after all. Luisa kept her eyes on the road and I opened the app and searched our location, looking for our next adventure.