It didn't count as a road trip.
Last weekend, we settled for a quick jaunt up to northwest Tennessee to spend the Fourth with Bess' parents and assorted relatives.
By northwest Tennessee, I mean a stone's throw from the borders of Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.
OK, it was actually a 900-mile round trip, but it doesn't count as a road trip.
On a road trip, you travel strange roads and see new things. Though this time Google advised us to go through Tupelo, we stuck to our usual path through Muscle Shoals, home of the Swampers.
"Who pick me up when I'm feelin' blue. Now how 'bout you?"
But I digress. The trip was nothing new, but we did learn a few things. You know, because we're lifelong learners.
Whatever that means.
Anyway, we learned that 80 degrees in July is blissfully cool. Out on the porch, we learned that hummingbirds up close sound like high-performance motorcycles.
We stayed at Vilja, the sprawling log cabin that Bess' father named after the wood nymph from "The Merry Widow."
I'm not kidding.
The standard breakfast at Vilja is fried pork tenderloin with biscuits and brown gravy. This year, there was for some reason a shortage of tenderloin, biscuits and gravy. Instead, we learned we could somehow make do on waffles, peaches, country ham, smoked salmon omelets and chocolate Danish.
We're resilient like that.
We learned other things. Like we learned that Tennessee peaches taste almost as good as Georgia peaches.
We learned that a paddleboat is the ultimate fishing vessel, because without putting down your rod and reel you can paddle forward or backwards while still casting and trolling.
We remembered that nothing is more exciting than top-water fishing.
Except when the fish aren't biting, and then nothing is more boring.
We learned that Bess' brother had made a set of cornhole goals or whatever you call them, from materials left over when he remodeled his bathroom. So we played a lot of cornhole, and we learned that it's a great family sport because anybody can throw a beanbag, and nobody gets too angry if they lose because, well, you're playing cornhole.
We also learned that duct tape comes in mighty handy when one of your beanbags springs a leak.
We even learned something on the way home.
We realized that after stopping at Love's truckstops all around America at all hours of the day, we've never seen anybody purchase anything being cooked on all those hot metal rollers.
And when we got home, we learned that soccer isn't necessarily a low-scoring sport. The USA women were winning 2-0 in the World Cup, and about a minute later they were winning 4-0.
We felt like winners. We were whipping Japan, and we'd just finished another successful trip.
Or whatever you call it.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.