I’m not sure at what age travel became important to me (and even more specifically, road travel). As a young person living beneath the rule and roof of my parents, I was afforded travel opportunities that (I realize now) not all of my angst-ridden peers had.
“Let’s take a drive,” was a common suggestion that surged the air on any given Sunday afternoon. I was fortunate enough have been raised amidst a landscape where sea and forest–and consequently, back roads–were plentiful. The idea of hopping in the car and blindly driving down a random country road was a common occurrence after church.
As my sister and I got older, our parents progressively took us on longer trips. There was the road trip to Canada and the ferry ride to Victoria Island. The woman with the mustache who hosted our stay at the B&B will forever be engrained in our memories! Family reunions in Idaho gave us a new perspective on river rafting and sneaking into hotel hot tubs after hours (ssshhhhhh!).
The summer of my 16th year, Dad piled us into the car and madly drove us across the country to visit our Wisconsin friends. (Wild blueberry gathering and fireflies still top my “favorite travel memories” list!) Although we arrived in lightening speed, the blurred vision of the Ozarks and desolate landscape of the desert punched me with blunt realization that I had seen only but a microscopic part of the earth. Hawaii was my first encounter with a humid landscape; one I still favor to this day. Once again, my father–a man of intrepid independence–insisted on renting a car, leaving Waikiki to choke upon its own ridiculously crowded beaches, and fast-tracked our family directly into hidden coves up the coastline.
Probably unknowingly, my parents instilled into my sister and I the notion of “the search.” The “search” being anything from seeing our usual surroundings with new eyes, to the idea of escaping tourist traps and discovering the quiet and the soul of a destination.
As an adult, with the freedom of my own wheels, I’ve kept in the tradition my parents knowingly, or unknowingly, encouraged. Day jaunts to Big Sur or Carmel. Four or five times I have traveled up the Oregon and Washington coasts, camping in the company of banana slugs, hitting up concerts at the Gorge, taking tours of breweries and driving through redwood trees.
There was the flight to Boston and the “let’s take a drive to Maine” idea that subsequently landed us at Acadia National Park just in time for the sunset.
Death Valley, Vegas, camping in the Sierras…Even our honeymoon was a road trip! A rental car and a backseat filled with camping gear took us down the lone road through Joshua Tree, the zigzag Arizona town of Jerome, and on and on until we landed at a B&B in Santa Fe.
We even rented a car when we went to New York! Because the subway was our favored mode of transportation, we left our van parked at a friend’s house in Williamsburg for one night, only to find a brick through the window the next morning 😦
(Let this be a lesson in carefully considering rental car insurance!). Although we opted for public transportation for the majority of our time in Japan and Thailand, we still managed to see the sights by traveling via bicycle and songtao!
Why am I sharing all of this, you ask? We will be taking a road trip to California to see our family this summer, so travel has naggingly been on my mind. Although we will be going back to our “old stomping ground,” I know we will be on the search for new back roads. I can’t wait!!!
***I had entirely too much fun going through old photos and reminiscing about old road trips. I couldn’t get my scanner to work, so most of these are iPhone photos of printed glossy photos. Please excuse the “vintage” look 🙂 ***