Posted by: chlost | January 31, 2010


I love to travel.  I love road trips.  As a kid, my family took long road trips.  Three kids in the back seat usually, often a dog as well.  My brother came along later, at that point, we didn’t take as many trips.   I can vividly remember being in the UP of Michigan.  My father’s cousins lived there.  My father sent me to the front door of his cousin Kenny’s house, and I was instructed by my father to ask a question, then wait to see if I was recognized as his daughter.  My mother was horrified and embarrassed by this.  I thought that it was funny, but felt embarrassed to talk to someone I didn’t know.  We ended up staying at Kenny’s place for several days.  They had a donkey, raccoons in a cage, some other animals, and many acres of grass on their place.  I can’t imagine, as an adult, showing up at someone’s home with a family of five, unannounced, and staying there for a week.  In my father’s family, that was just fine.  They would have been offended if we had come through without staying there.  In the days without cell phones, we weren’t able to call along the way, but even so, I would think that we could have given a little notice of our arrival, perhaps before we left home.  Times were different. 

In my mother’s family, there really were no cousins, and there were no real road trips.  She remembers only one car trip-to Yellowstone Park in the early 1940’s or so.  My memories of my grandfather’s driving are of being in a car driving down the middle of a two-lane road at 35 mph.  If that is how he drove on that trip, it likely took two weeks to drive to Yellowstone from Wisconsin, and two weeks back.

My children love road trips as well.  When they were young, we drove to Chicago to stay with my sister and the rest of my family nearly every Christmas holiday.  We would celebrate Christmas day with my husband’s family, come home, take the tree down and throw it on the curb for the garbage pick up, and head out to Chicago on December 26.  When they were particularly young, we often would drive through the night, allowing them to sleep in the car for the 8 hour drive.  Then, when we arrived at my sister’s, they would stay up for the day, and we would sleep for a few hours.  It avoided the need to stop to feed and/or change young children.

My husband is a maniac when driving on long trips.  We have had several road trips where we drove straight through to our destination.  A 30-hour trip from Minnesota to Phoenix.  Another nearly 30-hour trip from Minnesota to Myrtle Beach, SC.  Several 24-hour trips from Minnesota to Glacier Park, Montana.   Understand, however, that the only reason the trip to Montana took 24 hours is that we have a routine of spending 3 hours or so in Theodore  Roosevelt National Park on the way, looking for wildlife and eating lunch.  Otherwise, it is generally a 19-20 hour trip.  Just so you know!!

Right now, I am trying to plan several trips for the next few months.  We are going to Oregon to see our daughter graduate from her Master’s program.  My sister and I are planning a trip to Virginia to celebrate my other sister’s milestone birthday as well as our mom’s 80th birthday.  Once we get to Virginia, we are planning a road trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I am really looking forward to these trips.  I think I am most looking forward to the road trip from Virginia to Asheville, however.  The plane trips are okay, but they are not anything like a road trip.

I know that many people have rhapsodized about road trips.  I agree with all of those thoughts.  I love the idea of just getting into the car and going.  I could do it at a moment’s notice.  I would love to just take off with no planned destination and no real timeframe for a trip. I can’t do that now. But especially when the weather is cold and snowy, it seems like a perfect escape.  I love the stops at the rest areas and the cafes, as well as seeing the scenery and the people along the way.

I’m ready to go!


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