We are preparing for a long road trip from Ocala, FL, to San Antonio, TX, in August. As much as both of us dislike days of driving, we are committed to attending our grandson's graduation from Air Force Basic Training.

Lately, the 8-hour trip from FL to our old home in SC has become tiring. So, the prospect of a 20-plus hour trip is daunting. Sitting in a car that long will be a challenge for these old bones. Even the 90-minute drive to our daughter's home here in Central FL can tire us out.

Please don't tell me that I should fly. I'm not a happy flyer and choose to keep my two feet on terra firma whenever possible. Yes, I am a chicken. Deal with it.

To make the long road trip less onerous, we recently purchased a laptop computer. It should be fun; taking turns playing games while the other drives. Also, I can write some columns- that is, if the roads aren't too bumpy for my fingers on the smaller keyboard.

By the way, the reason we got a laptop is interesting. During a recent major thunderstorm, lightning infiltrated our home and caused some damage. We lost our whole phone system, one television, and our computer. Instead of buying another PC, we decided on a laptop. Now we're portable.

But, I digress.

We have agreed that this road trip to TX will most likely be our last long driving trip. From now on if we need to get somewhere distant we will either fly (ugh), take a train or bus, or stay home.

Looking back on my life, I can recall some major road trips. Jim and I drove from PA to California to visit Jen when she was stationed there with the Air Force. We drove out using the northern route corn and cows and came home on the southern route desert and armadillos. We made side trips to San Diego to visit my Uncle Ed, Las Vegas to do some gambling, and New Orleans to sightsee. The trip was fun, but long and challenging.

When Jen was stationed in Germany, we flew to Frankfurt and rented a car. For two weeks, we drove throughout Europe enjoying the sights and the food. Sure, speeding on the Autobahn was scary. Running out of gas on that same highway was a memory best forgotten. We got to visit five countries, plus Monaco (that casino was amazing) and spent time at Dachau the Nazi prison camp. Also did a Rhine River cruise.

Other long car trips were memorable. We often drove from PA to FL to visit Jen and her family. We usually stopped somewhere in SC overnight. Little did we know that one day SC would become our home state. Then began the drives from SC to FL and from SC to PA.

Now we are truly planning to end our long road trips. They are no longer fun. We envy the senior citizens who apparently relish driving around our nation in huge campers. Perhaps we're missing something, but with the cost of gas and the length of time it takes to get somewhere, we choose not to try that.

So, as we pack up and find our way to Texas in August, we will be reminiscing about other long road trips we have taken. We'll put on a CD of Willie Nelson singing "On the Road Again," and plan out our next stop along the highway. Hopefully, the casinos at Biloxi will be welcoming on our return trip. After all, there's nothing more soothing for a tired traveler than a win at the tables.

DR. SMITH CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.