This summer has been unlike any other that any of us have probably ever known. The lockdowns and restrictions have changed how we “did” summer. Most of us would have headed off to the beach or gone to a favorite city, but stayed home as we hope that next summer will be different.
We too have not traveled as we usually do. We have plans for our big cruise in 2022, but our quick getaways to Vegas and such really haven’t happened since February. It made me get thinking about road trips as a kid and when Snake and I were first married.
My brother was a lot older so I really don’t remember road trips with him. He was in college and gone by the time I was 7 so I mostly have memories of having the entire backseat to myself as we traveled across the country.
My father loved to drive. He also loved to plan the route and figure out where we would stay each night. My mom was the planner of all things food and clothing related. We always traveled with a huge cooler in the trunk as well as a small one with drinks and a bag of snacks in the backseat.
Just about every spring break we would go from Colorado to Alamogordo, NM. My dad had been stationed there while he was in the Air Force and loved the area. We would sometimes go up to the mountains, but most days were spent at White Sands, sliding down the dunes and cooking on the small grills. One year a snowstorm closed the pass and we ended up having to stay in Las Vegas, NM at a horrific motel as everything else was full. I don’t remember the details as I was little, but my mom loved retelling the story about how she couldn’t believe we paid for that room.
My mom was the love of my dad’s life and he thought she was perfect. Except for map-reading. We learned when I was about 8 that she could not read a map. At all. We were heading into San Antonio just about rush hour and were going to stay at a motel on the far side. He had planned the route to go around the outside of the city so that we would avoid most of the traffic.
We missed the turn for the loop and ended up in the middle of downtown San Antonio. My dad was asking for right/left directions and she kept saying she had no idea. I was in the backseat watching as the conversation got more and more heated, as kids do. After an extra two hours in traffic, we made it to the motel. It was a rather chilly atmosphere that night. But from that moment on, my dad would show me the map each night for the next day and I became navigator.
After we got married, Snake and I started our own road trip history. The first ones were short jaunts to California or Colorado. But we had one epic one that lasted 4 weeks and we went almost 5000 miles.
We went from Tucson to Colorado (Mesa Verde) to Colorado (Denver) to South Dakota(Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse) to Wyoming (Grand Tetons) to Wyoming (Yellowstone) to Montana (Glacier) to San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego to Vegas to Utah (Bryce) to Utah (Zion) and home. We spent 2-7 days at each place and had the best time. We stayed in the national parks which was amazing and got to wake up to deer and bison and mountain goats along the way.
One of these days we’ll do another one. We’ll take off and go where we want to go and stop when we want to stop. Who am I kidding? We’ll go but the stops will be planned ahead. I don’t want to chance getting stuck in our version of the Las Vegas hellhole. And ideas categorized for all of the places we MIGHT go. But, it will still be amazing and I’ll have my favorite person by my side.