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Posts Tagged ‘family memories’

Road trips.  You either love them or you hate them.  Me?  I love them.  I always have.  I think it comes from driving cross country with my parents and siblings and keeping busy in the car.  We played games with what we had, ourselves, each other, and the road.  I remember playing a game where you find shapes in the clouds and another where you find recognizable shapes in the mountains.  We used to say certain mountains were dinosaurs.  My brothers knew all the dinosaurs so they were very specific about whether it was a T-rex or a brontasaurus or even a pterodactyl.  When we were in the desert, we tried to find recognizable shapes in the cacti all around us.

It was fun.  There were seven of us kids, all very close together in age (seven kids in nine years).  My dad drove our nine passenger station wagon and my mom rode up front with him and the youngest one between them in the bench seats.  Those were the days of no seat belts and no carseats.  We drove from the San Francisco bay area to the Texas gulf coast more than once.  A couple of those trips were extended all the way to Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico (yes, that’s the name of both the state and the capital city, not a typo) and many times we drove from the bay area to southern California and later, when we moved my paternal grandmother from Chihuahua to Baja, we would go visit her in Ensenada as often as we could take a three day weekend.

I remember sitting in the middle bench seat of the station wagon which had three bench seats.  Late at night, when everyone was sleeping and my dad was driving, I would talk to him.  He would tell me stories and riddles and jokes.  He and I have always shared an interest and a love of words and word play and of geography.  I think we established that during those trips.  I enjoyed that time with my dad.  He was a different perso when he was behind the wheel.  He was more relaxed and very focused on the drive.  I think that led him to tell some of those stories and to want to talk to me about places he wanted to go but had only ever heard of.

That’s where I got my love of road trips.  That love has continued through the years and I really, even now when I am so much older and it hurts physically to be in the car for so long, I still enjoy the trips, with or without company.  I’ve even been crazy enough to drive from Portland, Oregon to Hemet, California (a distance of 1100 miles each way) with just my grandson who was just three at the time.  It was just the two of us.  He sat in his carseat in the back and I drove.  I played kid music for him and I brought along a Kindle Fire tablet with games on it for him.  He had a container of snacks next to him and would ask if he could have something before helping himself.  It was a super trip!  Maybe next summer we’ll do it again.  He’ll be five then, so we’ll see.

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