Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Memories Of Car Trips

Tell us about a memorable car trip you took as a kid. (Prompt from Nablopomo)

When I was a kid, we took A LOT of car trips. People didn't fly around with their kids as much back then (well, I don't think they did...we didn't). Some highlights from memorable car trips:

1.  When we lived in Aurora, Colorado, my dad would sometimes get us all in the Scout on Saturdays. We would get all excited, "Daddy, where are we going?"  He would say, "Crazy" and proceed to take a long winding drive on some backroad somewhere that wasn't paved. Usually, we would end up at Target. I was too little to read, so I thought that the store that had the red target was called "Crazy".  I loved going there because we usually got to pick out a new book.  I found out later that my dad took those drives to keep his leg bent for a period of time - he had to do that to keep range of motion after getting run over and being in and out of the hospital in traction for a year right after I was born.

2.  We drove from Denver to Chicago the summer before we moved to Wiesbaden, Germany. We were visiting all the relatives. I had just turned 6 at the time. I remember I had this multi-colored, striped bathing suit. The first night we were at my aunt Betty's house, I remember running around in that bathing suit until I finally just lay down in the middle of the living room and fell asleep.  That was the trip they had a terrible hail storm and one of the dads ran out to their car with a metal garbage can lid over his head. He got hit on the head (via the can) with a hailstone and got knocked out. The other dads had to run outside and drag him back in. I have never gone outside during a hailstorm...

3.  I remember driving all around Colorado when we went camping and fishing. Back then, no one really brought beverages with them when they were in the car. When we went on a long trip, my mom would pack up the cooler and put it in the back of the scout. When we got hungry or thirsty, we would pull over to the side of the road and have a PBJ sandwich and a little dixie cup full of Pepsi. We never really drank pop when I was a kid - just sips from my mother's cup unless we were traveling.  I have a slide of one of these little roadside picnics, but I haven't been able to get the scanner/printer/slide transfer option to work on my printer. I'm working on it, so hopefully, I will get some photos in here soon-ish.

4.  When we came back from Germany in 1976, it was December.  We flew from Frankfurt to London where we had a LOOOONG layover. There had been a problem with the first plane and we had to wait hours and hours before being diverted. We landed at La Guardia in NYC (which, by the by, closes at midnight due to noise ordinances in the city) after 2:00am, so we couldn't get a flight to Pittsburgh where my grandparents lived.  We stayed in the airport Holiday Inn with $10 in vouchers for all 4 of us to have some food in the morning.  Even in 1976, $10 was not adequate for 4 people in NYC in restaurants in or around the airport. I remember my mother exclaiming about the $5 hamburgers on the menu. We finally arrived in Pittsburgh where we stayed a few days and my parents bought a Pinto. There. I said it. I'm sure it was what we could afford...After a few days, we piled all our belongings into the Pinto and put all our CHRISTMAS gifts on top of the Pinto and started our trek to Dallas, Texas to visit my aunt.  I remember driving across the Mississippi River on some bridge and sending up a childish prayer not to let our gifts fly off the car and into the river. I was only 9 at the time, so I think I can be forgiven in light of the chaos of moving to a different country.  The gifts survived and we made it to Texas just fine. By New Year's, we had driven from Dallas, Texas to Panama City, Florida where the beaches actually looked like snow.

I've got a million of them... bunches from my childhood, some from my youth, some from adulthood.  It's getting late, but maybe tomorrow I will tell you about my trip to SF for a weekend. We drove. It was that trip that helped me develop my one of the first rules of travel:  Always stay in a place at least twice as long as it took you to get there. 

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