Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ahhh, The Family Road Trip

My parents loved the family road trip.

Since my father was in the military, he would have 30 days off a year for vacation. He always waited until summer to use them.

The trips always started with Dad getting out the old Rand McNally, a Best Western Guide and a pad of paper. (These were the days before Mapquest.) He would then map out our route correlating travel times with Best Western Motel locations. Dad knew he would be doing most of the driving while mom read the map, and my brother and I sat in the back of the metallic blue Chevy Impala station wagon continually saying, "I'm not touching yoouuuuuu." It's a wonder dad never pulled the car over.

Lunches at roadside parks consisted of foods that would survive long times out of the refrigerator. Mom found something called "deviled ham" and another product known as "Cheez Whiz." She would use these together to fashion a ham and cheese sandwich with mustard on the white bread that stuck to the roof of your mouth. (Ah memories!) The best thing about these lunches were that we got to have chips and soda - two items we rarely saw at home. I think these counterbalanced the weirdness of the "ham & cheese" sandwiches. Once again, in mom's attempt to make this trip as economical as possible she found these cheese puffs that came in a canister made by Planters.

All of these things are what made the trip so memorable. There were no hand-held electronic devices, no dvd players for the back seat. Instead, my brother and I played Mad Libs and state license plate bingo. Sometimes we even sat in the cargo area of the station wagon - no seatbelt laws back then.

The best part of the trip was in the evening when we pulled into the Best Western Motel. My brother and I would race to the room to change into our swim suits and jump into the pool until suppertime - usually in the motel dining room or the nearby associated local greasy spoon. Afterward, we would go to bed because we knew Dad would want to get up before the birds. This is when my brother and I both found out we talk in our sleep. What would we say? Some secrets are best left unsaid.

As I grew older, I spent less time on these family trips, choosing to spend my summers in New York with my crazy cousins.

I miss those times. More importantly, I miss the simplicity of those times.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic memories! Document them, they are so not the same nowadays with the conveniences we have! I used to go from California to Texas in station wagon style, all my crayons were in a big margarine container and by the end of the trip they would be one big mess of ugly!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

*sigh* this is AN AMAZING story.....*sigh* I miss days like this!!!!!! And I totally LOVEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD state license plate bingo! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

miruspeg said...

Lovely story Annemarie. Sure sounds like we had a similar childhood.
Each summer our family AND dog would go on a road trip as well.
We would drive to Queensland up the coast road and for 2 weeks stay in a motel by the beach.
The memory that sticks in my mind is a couple of times we ran out of petrol (gas) because my father would only use Ampol petrol and sometimes there wasn't a station to be found. We begged him to fill up at another garage...but he was stubborn and assured us there was enough petrol in the tank.

Bree said...

This post brought a tear to my eye. My grandparents and I would drive around the country with an atlas every summer. I miss it :) thanks for bringing back fond and wonderful memories!!!

Michelle LaPoint Rydell said...

Awesome story! Sounds like a layout waiting to happen!

Nan and B.A.G.S. the pug said...

Thanks for finding my blog! Btw madlibs rock! I LOVE your background on yoru blog! coolness! Go St. Pats!

Octamom said...

Love this. And glad to know I wasn't the only one crossing the country in an Impala!


WNCRod said...

I miss those road trips and those sandwiches. I remember them well. I still love a good road trip, but I have to admit that these days I'm more likely to barrel on through to my destination than take the time to enjoy the ride.

MJ said...

Wow! You got to stay in a Motel! So hugely envious!! I mostly got the cargo area of the station wagon to myself! Thank goodness I wasn't confined by a seat belt!

MJ said...

PS: Your new side-photo is wonderful!

Fly Girl said...

I loved reading this story, Annemarie! What special memories you have of this time with your family. Before my parents divorced (when I was about 10), we only went on cross-country drives when we were moving to another state due to his military service. I never went on family vacations then or after my mom remarried. Probably never enough money for that kind of thing. Now, it's important to me that MY family go on vacations together! My husband, on the other hand, went on a cross-country trip with his 60+ year old grandmother and brother. They stayed at state and national parks, often "camping" in the station wagen. My husband kept a diary, which included an entry about chasing chipmunks and one about his brother's stinky feet! They left the day school let out for the summer and returned home the day before school began in the fall. Talk about a memory!

*** My scrapblog was added as a gadget... HTML/Java script thingy. I hope you get yours to work!


P.S., I've been so swamped with work that I haven't had a chance to visit blogs very much. I'm so glad I looked back on yours. I still need to read about the birthday boy...!

ABW said...

Great memories!!! We used to get all the Welch's sodas when we traveled--strawberry, grape....we thought we were in Heaven!!!!

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