Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Good Old Family Road Trip

The long version of my response to this post, entitled How To Survive That Road Trip.
Loved the article! It takes me back to the annual road trips from Michigan to visit my grandparents in Rockglen, Saskatchewan from the mid-60's to the mid-70's. My mother would bravely drive me and my 3 brothers, 1500 miles, alone, before there were interstates routes and DVD's. The scenery was the entertainment and, at the tender age of six or seven, the trip seemed interminable.
Now, almost 40 years later, when I return to Saskatchewan, I find the scenery to be some of the most beautiful I've seen. (I know, I know. It's the prairie, quite desert-like, really.) I believe that those early road trips are a huge factor in how I see things now.
Having made this road trip with my own children with electronic gadgets, in-car video(a TV-VCR combo, strapped to the back of the van driver's seat, atop a cooler), books and toys, I feel that they just didn't get as much out of the trip as I did. Sad!
They missed out on sleeping two to a sleeping bag (Dangerous! Don't try this at home!), in the back of station wagon. They missed out on off-the-beaten path diners and motels, now near extinction from chain restaurants, fast food and hotel chains. We traveled in times of few "rest areas" and made do with pit stops along the side of the highway, along with infrequent gas station stops.
Back then, my parents didn't have a credit card, just a Shell/Conoco gas card. All gas stops had to be at Shell/Conoco stations. Because of this restriction, we became quite adept at the roadside pit stops. My children have no such talent. Pity!

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