Road Tripping the Light Fantastic

I've just returned from what (at least on the return trip) felt like the longest road trip of my life, but in actuality, it was one of the shorter ones. I grew up in a road-tripping family. My mom would regularly pack us kids in the car and make the 12-hour drive to Iowa to visit our grandparents several times a year. Back then there were no portable DVD players or iPods to pass the time, and I suffered from motion sickness if I tried to read in the car, so we passed the time by talking and singing songs.

Songs by Steve Winwood, Suzy Bogguss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Hal Ketchum are the ones I remember most as we drove those long highway miles. To this day, when I hear any of them I get a rush of nostalgia that's sometimes overwhelming. Our current culture of instant gratification means that not many kids get to share my experience of watching America go by through a car window. Instead, they're watching Yo Gabba Gabba and oblivious to their surroundings.

Our longest road trip ever was when we moved from Colorado to Virginia in 1992. My dad and Ginny rode together in a big yellow Penske moving truck, while Mom and I held down the Dodge Caravan along with Sammi (age 5), Jamie (age 2), Reagan the dog, Kitty and Fat Boy the cats, and Pretty Boy the cockatiel. It was a very long trip. The best part was probably when we got separated from Dad and Ginny while navigating through St. Louis. I remember Mom crying hysterically at a rest stop, and the roadies from classic country group Alabama helped us track down the yellow Penske truck. And all was well that ended well.

Comments 1

  • I maybe what is called “prematurely enthusiastic,” because I saw that map and got like SUPER excited, even though “B” is in VA. I thought you were going to Colorado, and would be in St. Louis, and we could meet up and oh how awesome would that be? … Yeah.

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