I love a car trip. It’s a sickness, no doubt, but I have it. I did a lot of miles in cars as a kid, between moving and vacations. In spite of the endless grain fields of the midwest, no air conditioning in central Arizona, and the endless miles of… well, NOTHING for the length of central Nevada, and the sure and certain knowledge that reading in the car would make me sick, I remember those long trips extremely fondly.
My parents always had a variety of car snack fruit, crackers, and the twin pack of Stanley thermoses. One of coffee, the other of milk. Gas stations could provide vending machines of soda, but not caffeine that my dad wanted to drink, nor the protein buffer against the crabby-hungrys. My parents were fans of getting where they were going, but figured there was little point in having everyone miserable along the way. Every day at breakfast, my sister and I would solemnly order pie for breakfast with sides of bacon or ham because you can’t beat the look on a waitress when she’d glance over at my father, and he would deadpan remind us to have the pie heated if we were getting it ala mode. Freaking out grown ups never got old. Still hasn’t. I’m still a fan of pie for breakfast, too.
Mostly, I suppose, I remember those road trips because my parents made every one a Great Adventure. Considering the number of car miles we logged, it’s sort of amazing to me that they never got old. Particularly when you add in that many of them meant we were moving. New town, new state, new school, no friends until we made them again… moving was always hard for that; but after the last day of school, there was a hyper-organized frenzy of packing and then the van drove off and we were on the road… and somehow it turned into a road trip. Once we were in the car it was all okay. The luggage, the bird book, the maps, the picnic lunch, car games, two cats, and ‘for goodness’ sake girls don’t bug your Dad in heavy traffic. It can wait until we’re through Chicago/Saint Louis/Albuquerque/Dallas!’ There were places to see, and things to explore. We were on a Grand Adventure. Every time. I love a road trip.