Road Trips: Past, Present, and Future!

Road-Trip-Kit-Sidebar-Image-Gear-PatrolSome of my favorite memories of family vacations when I was a kid were the ones involving road trips.  We would either load up the station wagon or fly somewhere and rent a big car and drive around seeing the sites.

The memories I mainly recall are of car games, eating at great road side restaurants, nice naps with the windows open, and that glorious feeling of reaching some great historical monument, throwing open the car door, and running around in the sunshine.

ColeCoMy parents tend to remember things differently (of course): constant complaining from the kids, someone getting car-sick, fighting, the long monotonous hours of driving while trying to figure out the correct route from a foldout map.  These trips were in the days before GPS, satellite radio, electronic games (with headsets at least, the Coleco’s existed but the non-stop beeping of the football or basketball game made them persona non-grata in the car), and in-car televisions.

In my college years I took various road trips, both in groups and by myself.  The group trips were to save money on airfare and to enjoy my friends company.  The solo trips were to see what I could see, and to just get away without any restrictions.

The group road trips were filled with misadventures which, while at the time, were scary, exhausting and even infuriating, are now the stories we love to tell over and over again.  One particular event I will always remember was when a friend and I were driving from Texas to Colorado over Spring Break.  We got stuck in an unseasonal blizzard in the high passes of New Mexico. It got so bad we eventually had to pull off the road and stop the minivan due to poor traction and very poor visibility. Imagine our surprise when the sun rose the next morning and we discovered we were actually in a small town. Like I said — poor visibility! We also realized how dangerously close we had come to driving off the road and over a cliff….

There seemed to be a break in my long-distance wandering as I got older.  There were no more family trips and the pressures of work and life made it so I rarely had the chance, or even the desire, to take to the open road for any extended trip.  When I did drive, it was to get from home to some relatives’ house and back again — as fast (and perhaps faster) as the law would allow.

203680Now as I reach an age where I am (let’s say more settled), the siren song of the road trip is something I look forward to heeding. And as I write this, the episode of Frasier is airing where they take a trip in a Winnebago (one of a few road trip episodes, all of which I love). I keep wondering what it would be like to rent a reasonably-sized Winnebago (or the like) and take a trip.

In recent years we have taken plenty of trips to some great locations in our car or in a rented car. But how great would it be to take a trip in a vehicle that you could also sleep and cook in?  I am torn on renting and driving something that large — always slow on the road, heavy on gas, and take up huge chunks of parking space.

I will admit, my memory of past trips can definitely be selective. There are always the bad parts of road trips (which my parents easily remember): the boredom, tiredness, snippiness, and on-the-road food that can only be described as subpar. The grumbles are real and unescapable, and there is no laugh track or fast forward option in reaching your destination. 10 hours a day in a car is still 10 hours in a car.

Although moments may be unpleasant during the road trip, those moments are often trumped in memory by the sights, company, and adventures. When it comes to planning another trip, the low moments are forgotten, all you can think about is where you are going to go, the things you are going to see on your next trip, and the excitement of planning the trip itself.

originalWith the passing of time each trip seems special and remembered with more fondness.   Even the ones with your family! 😉

What is your next trip? And what does your family do to help pass the long hours and keep spirits up?

Michael Marcantel
Project Manager

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Talk Back

Posted on January 13, 2015

Totally had that football game. Now I am hearing phantom beep-beeping… When I was 14 my siblings and Dad drove across country (to PA and back) in a 1972 Dodge Van. We took the southern route to visit a Grandmother in Florida. My Dad was one to stop at EVERY historical land mark along the way. We saw a tornado (at a distance), drove through a tropical storm, stood in four states at once, and drove down Bonneville Salt Flats over 100 mph (in Dad’s hot rod ’72 Dodge van). Not that us kids liked my Dad’s choice of 8-track tapes! Dang, I could have written this blog. Why didn’t I think of that! LOL. Good times! 🙂

Ellen Brenner
Posted on January 9, 2015

I am a road-trip lover from way back, and have long entertained the pipe dream of acquiring a small RV — a VW camper van would be just fine — and hitting the road like a 21st century John Steinbeck or Charles Kuralt, blogging about my travels via laptop and mobile hotspot.

sharon-kathleen corner
Posted on January 9, 2015

LOL, we just came from a trip, and we play a sort of bingo, i make cards with odd cars on them and the kids have to find them and mark them off. Since we also do punch, no punch back when we see a VW bug, and flick when we see a prius, and smack when we see a fiat and ….the list goes on, the trip gets really painful.
My son is a soapbox racer and we have had the opportunity to travel to different tracks and hope to travel some more in 2015.
I will make bingo cards, we will get brand new movies the kids have never seen, and we will also get a book from the library to listen to…oh, wait, the kids use the headset for listening to the movie, and i get to listen to my book while driving…it is the best way to catch up on reading! Hubby will bounce between the movie and the book and drive us all crazy asking us what has happened and wanting us to go back some.
Oh, and next January, my daughter is getting married….in BUFFALO. She is just asking for a blizzard. So we will be driving in a snowstorm.
Oh my gosh.

Get On Your Soapbox