by Lillian Csernica on April 14, 2016
No collection of travel stories would be complete without tales of the times I’ve gotten lost.
On my first trip cross country to Toledo, Ohio with my father, I remember how we got lost with in Missouri on a dark and stormy night. Even at age ten I’d watched way too many horror movies. I hadn’t seen “Psycho,” but I was pretty much on the lookout for the Bates Motel. Just when Daddy was about to turn around and try again, we spotted red and blue lights ahead. I think Daddy would have been happy to see a policeman at that point, just so we could get some solid directions. The lights were the flickering letters on a hotel sign. Never have I been so glad to see neon!
When I was still in high school, my mother drove me up to Pasadena, CA so I could visit a friend at CalTech. The important part of the story comes at the end, when we began the drive home. At one point we had to change freeways. I still don’t understand how Mom could miss the same off ramp three times in a row. Seriously. Three separate tries, three separate misses, even with me navigating. I have to chalk it up to the lateness of the hour. We got lost in the Chinatown area. It was so late at night that nobody was around other than two Chinese men out behind a restaurant’s kitchen door. I’ve never been able to speak much Cantonese, so I couldn’t ask them for directions. Sheer dumb luck got Mom back on the right road to the freeway and headed home again!
One night while I was staying in the Netherlands, I missed the last train home from the disco because I was busy dancing with a gorgeous Dutch soldier named Andre. He’d just turned eighteen and came home on leave for a few days. He asked me to dance, which is one reason Phil Collins‘ “Against All Odds” will always be one of my favorite songs.
When we realized the time, my host sisters and our friends had already left the disco. Andre and I ran through the streets to the train station. It was locked up for the night. My luck was golden that night because Andre had a friend with a car. This was very uncommon at the time. Andre and his friend were willing to give me a ride. (I know, this sounds insane, right? Every mother’s worst nightmare.) Fortunately, I’m good at remember landmarks. That’s how I got us all the way from the disco in one town, along the highway through the dark and to my host family’s front door. The girls were all sitting up waiting, expecting me to walk all the way home. I think they were miffed to know I actually got a ride!
On yet another of our convention adventures, Pat and I drove down to San Diego, CA for ConDor. This really wonderful con is held at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center. This place is huge, as you can see from the map. It is located on a road referred to as the “hotel circle.” We arrived late on Thursday night and did our best to figure out where on earth the street numbers were posted. We went around the circle three times! I tell you, we were both ready to scream. We could see the lovely white buildings, we just couldn’t get to them! We did eventually succeed. This was a very special trip for me, because San Diego is the city where I was born.