Summer seems sweeter in August. As back-to-school assignments loom and the occasional cool morning infiltrates a warm day, August invites us to hit the road and roll down our windows one last time. Whether you’re exploring the wonders of your own backyard or heading further afield, perhaps traversing the ‘M’ Road along the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, this last bit of summer feels more precious with autumn just around the corner. And, if you’re like us, you’re probably hoping to squeeze in just one more road trip before the season ends.
As part of our ongoing Summer of Wonder series, we asked readers on our Facebook page to tell us about their most memorable summer road trips and some of the stops they made along the way. We compiled some of our favorite responses below, from an unexpected visit to the starship Enterprise to stumbling across a human skull in the Sierra Nevada. If you’d like to join the conversation, watch for more opportunities to share on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Escaped Fugitives at the Border
“Several years ago, my husband and I were returning from a motorcycle trip in Maine. When we went to cross the border into Canada, there were armed guards searching trunks and trailers—they were looking for escaped fugitives. An armed guard asked if we had a body in our bike’s trailer. He didn’t make us open it and we were able to continue on our way. A few hours later, we found out that they captured the men within 10 miles of where we were stopped.” —Sandy Opitz, Sauk City, Wisconsin
Finding Star Trek in Upstate New York
“We travel full-time in an RV and were stopping for lunch around Ticonderoga, New York, last year. Atlas Obscura mentioned a Star Trek museum—how much of a museum could it be in rural New York? But inside was the original Enterprise set: bridge, transporter, sick bay, engine room, quarters. Apparently, William Shatner and other cast members would occasionally show up, meet fans, and even lead tours. It was phenomenal!” —Mark Donnell, North Little Rock, Arkansas
When the Fog Descends
“I got lost coming back from Blackpool, England, when I was 17. I had gone there for a day trip with my older boyfriend without telling my parents. On the way back, the fog descended. It was a thick, pea-soup fog. Somehow we left the road we should have been on and ended up on a narrow backroad. We crept along as slowly as the car would allow. We had the doors cracked to see the edges of the road—it was impossible to drive otherwise. The fog would swirl into the car giving it a really creepy vibe.
We eventually found ourselves in Kendal, nowhere near where we wanted to be. I phoned my parents to tell them I was lost. Weirdly, just as I was about to fess up to who I was with and tell them we were going to have to stay overnight, the fog miraculously lifted! I still think about that trip 20 years later.” —Kate Louise Boxwell, Durham, England
Was That a Time Machine?
“We were driving in the desert somewhere in Southern California, when we passed a huge satellite dish behind a gate. The sign out front said something about a ‘time machine.’ We had to stop! The guy picked up radio and TV signals from space broadcasting old shows. That’s all I remember. (Maybe our brains were scrubbed?) It was very bizarre.” —Bonnie Brown, Indiana
A Family (Hitchhiking) Affair
“In the early 1970s just before Christmas, with snow on the ground, my family piled into Dad’s red and white 1965 VW bus for a Sunday road trip through the Poconos. After a few hours, Dad decided to head back home. That’s when the 40-horsepower VW engine ground to a halt. Dad found someone willing to drive us to a diner in Port Jervis, New York, then he found another kind soul that drove us to Suffern, New York, where a neighbor picked us up and drove us home. Nothing like a family of five hitchhiking their way home on a cold, snowy Sunday evening.” —Steven Fleckenstein, Middletown, New York
Found: A Human Skull
“We were traveling over a High Sierra mountain pass in the late fall when we pulled over to take photos. We walked a few yards off the road and stepped near a shrub. We were shocked to see a human skull looking up at us! We knew we had to report it, but at that time we didn’t have cell phones so we had to drive to the bottom of the pass and get permission to enter the Marine Corps base to call law enforcement. Then, we had to drive all the way back up to show the sheriff the skull. We didn’t know if it was a murder victim, a lost hiker, or what. We later found out that it was the skull of a Native American woman who had died a long time ago. So....that was a very memorable road trip.” —Diane Martin, California
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.