Allow me my opinion on this:
I do not believe -- although technically, we were riding on bales of hay -- that I went on a hayride Saturday night. Ideally, hayrides should be loose hay piled on an old wooden wagon pulled by horses and traverse unbroken expanses of farm and field, orchard and woodlot, maybe cross a stream at a ford or old bridge. Followed by bonfires and hot apple cider, perhaps a taffy-pull.
I didn't actually expect that.
I expected a modern hayride. Something along the lines of a farm tractor belching smoke towards bales of hay in a metal wagon as we bumped around the fencelines of some fallowing fields. Followed by a bonfire and some form of "church food" which I don't eat.
Well, I got the metal wagon and the baled hay correct. However, the mechanism pulling our hayride, was a maroon pick-up truck. And as we sped along paved roads, through town, past trailers and trees... okay, and over a covered bridge, I couldn't help thinking how different this was from the image and expectations conjured by the word "hayride."
It also occurred to me that we were probably violating more than a dozen road safety ordinances; and parents who wouldn't dream of driving those same roads without strapping their child into a carseat were smiling as those same children stood in the haywagon. I do not understand the inconsistencies of my own generation.
And not to winge on about this (because we did have a lovely bonfire afterwards, complete with cold cider and roasting marshmallows) but I still do not understand why merely sitting on hay as it whizzes about town merits the evocative title Hayride. It's just not right.