Friday Five--Road Trip!

Road trips. The ultimate childhood summer memory, at least for me, since I only went to "away" camp a couple of times and we didn't have a cottage anywhere.

Here are my Friday Five Road Trips!

Just like Mom's--except ours was a lovely metallic gold-bronze!
1. The first one that leaps to mind is a there-and-back-again from Michigan to Utah and back. It must have been three weeks worth of driving, entirely by my mother. I was only 16 and did not yet have my license (there not having been enough room in the driver's education class that spring). My grandmother was along, but it was probably for the best that she didnt drive. We drove out through Nebraska on I-80, through Lincoln to visit family of my mom's first husband (and my older sisters), then dropped south through Colorado, where we celebrated the US Bicentennial by driving through Estes Park and into Utah. We watched the fireworks in Washington DC on a motel TV that night. Then into Salt Lake to visit more family and for me to be outraged by a visit to the open-pit Kennicott Copper Mines (one of my purchases in Estes Park had been a copy of Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac, which I still think has some of the most beautiful prose ever written). From Salt Lake we went south-east to the Four Corners--where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona meet. Then it was due east to Albequerque, where my mom had lived during her first marriage--she was able to drive directly to their house, an amazing feat of memory, considering it had been at least 25 years since she had been back there! From Albequerque, we headed east to Dallas to visit family (yes, my mother has a large family--she is one of nine siblings!), before (finally) booking it straight north for home. I remember much more of the trip before Dallas, which tells me that by Dallas I was ready for home! We had been living out of the car (and our suitcases) for what seemed like forever by this point--and even though it was a new car (with air conditioning! quite a luxury at the time, but I don't know what we would have done without it in the SouthWest), I was tired of it.

2. A couple years later, we made a similar trek. One of my sisters and my niece, her daughter (about two at the time), joined my mom and I. This time we headed more southerly, through Illinois, so I could check out a couple of colleges (and meet up with a former boyfriend, the last time I saw him; although we've recently reconnected on Facebook and he tells me Illinois was a terrible time in his life). Again, it was west through Nebraska and then south to Colorado, but this time we stopped in Ft. Collins to visit one of my other sisters. After a few days there, we all packed into the car again (with the addition of another sister who had been visiting the Ft. Collins sister), drove directly east to St. Louis to visit family before returning to Michigan. My memories of the trip west are of reading Shogun in the back seat next to my toddler niece in her carseat (now a professor history in the UK and one-time Rhodes scholar finalist). On the way back, I made the decision I needed to find a job for my senior year of high school--and within two weeks, I had one. Those were the days....

3. Inumerable trips back and forth to my grandmother's as a child. She lived about six hours from us, so we could leave right after school on a Friday, spend the weekend, leave after Sunday dinner, and get home in time for a good night's sleep before school. In the summer, of course, it was even easier.

4. Trips from Washington DC to Michigan when my son (a recent university graduate!!) was an infant. We would leave after dinner, about his bedtime, and drive through the night. It was a 10 hour drive, so we would arrive in time for dinner at my stepfather's favourite diner. Going home, it was our favourite diner near home....

5. When I lived in Germany in the early 80's, we made a tour of the area around the newly-erased border into what had been East Germany. The rebuilding had not yet begun, in fact there were still Soviet troops in one of the cities we visited (it felt very surreal when we realized the barracks we were driving past was flying the hammer and sickle, and those young men sitting on the windowsills drinking beers and smoking were Soviet soldiers). It's impossible to summarize that trip in a paragraph...such contrasts, such an unreal feeling that part, at least, of the Cold War was over.

No, that's not me--this is a just an image of Soviet soldiers I found.

Summer is almost over. If I want to add to this, I guess I'd better get moving (sorry!)...


You had some great road trips!Loved the illustrations. Keep going.
Jan said…
Good memories and pictures to go with them! Thanks for playing.

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