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Monday, June 22, 2009

Two words.

Written by Em

Once upon a time, boys and girls, air travel was for the privileged, the upper crust, the well-to-do. Hence, most of my Summer vacation highlights consist of me and my older brother sliding around the navy blue Naugahyde backseat of our 1976 Mercury Cougar station wagon.

Why yes, it did have faux-wood paneling.

Hours flew by thanks to my always-prepared mother and our membership to the Exxon Travel Club (Happy Motoring indeed). License plate bingo. Bury your cows. The alphabet sign game. Watching for the first Stuckey's or See Rock City billboards. Wrestling into the front seat in order to be the "first" to arrive in the next state.

Were there no seat belt laws in the '70s?

Growing up in Atlanta, the majority of our family getaways consisted of Florida visits - St. Augustine, Captiva, Fort Walton Beach, Disney World.

Disney World.

Disney World.

On one such trip, we had a little extra excitement in the form of our luggage being ripped off the top of the family truckster thanks to a bad storm and a little drive-by speeding semi suction.

I can still remember trying to comfort my hysterical brother (16 at the time. Kidding, he must have been around 9) who thought his beloved teddy was in the suitcase now being drug down the Interstate by said semi. And then there were our poor parents, in the driving rain, trying to collect tire-marked clothing as we huddled in horror - good times.

You can believe that's the last time my father used the luggage rack.

We did however score an extra side trip to the Citrus Tower in order to calm everyone's nerves. I clearly remember making wax dolphin figurines via a vending machine. And Dad adding something to his dixie cup of complimentary orange juice.

So as I gear up this week for our annual 12-hour haul to Florida for the Fourth, I'm frankly giddy with excitement over the Road Trip part of our adventure. Yes, we could fly, but why? I can obviously loose the luggage all by myself, thank you very much. Each boy has a bag full of coloring books, crayons, special snacks and maybe a new Hot Wheels or three ready to fill the hours. We'll play license plate bingo and bury your cows, and throw in a few modern-day additions such as iPod DJing and a video or two.

But it's really the feeling of family camaraderie that I look forward to the most. There's nothing like a road trip to make friends out of siblings, pioneers out of parents - it's Us vs. the Road.

And we. will. win.

Well, we'll see come Hour #11. I may find myself voluntarily strapped to the luggage rack.


  1. Have a fun trip! We hardly ever flew when I was a kid either. The trips got long but mostly were a ton of fun.

  2. have a great ride...

    I LOVE ROAD TRIPS! 2600 miles in the past month... yeah. goooood stuff. at least we left the pooch behind this time...

    some of my best memories of childhood sound a lot like your vivid description up there!!! love it.

  3. Road trips are really awesome. I can't wait to take my kids on a road trip..... maybe.

  4. Reminds me of our road trips from Miami to Sylvania, GA every summer for our family reunion. Me and my younger brother would sing the chorus
    "Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah" while my father sang "Little Bitty Pretty One". Wonderful memories you never forget!!!!
    Have a great trip!!!

  5. This brings back memories of my family's road trips in our red station wagon! Alas, it did not have faux-wood paneling...

    Speaking of no seat belt laws... my dad used to put the seats down in the wagon... and let us kids slide around while he drove! Ahhhh, those were the good days...

    We're heading to FL on the 4th, too!

  6. Be a Weiner....Stop at Pedros...

    gotta hit South of the Border!! Right?

  7. I remember similar childhood road trips, though we never lost our luggage from the top of the car and I hope we never do! I am sure my kids, and yours, will have the same good road trip memories.

  8. Thanks for taking us on your "memory-lane" road trip, Em. That was hysterical...your poor parents watching all your stuff in the middle of the road. (No wonder your dad added a little somethin' to his OJ!!) Good times, indeed.

    It reminds me of similar road trips we took when I was a kid. As a treat, we'd stop at Denny's Restaurant and I'd get pigs-in-a-blanket and a soda (A SODA!!) to drink. After all that sugar, we'd pile back in the car and the fighting with my 2 brothers would commence. Ah, sweet memories.

    Now, my husband and I started a tradition of burning a couple of CDs of our ipod music for our road trips. Our kids LOVE it. My 4 year-old daughter now knows all the words to "In Cars" by Cars. Love those 80's!!

    Anyway, have a wonderful trip to Florida!! Here's to the new memories you'll make :-)

  9. DUDE! We had that station wagon too!! Complete with woodwalls!

    But one attempt to show you up...

    Did you have a 1973 Ford pinto in the driveway with it to "dress it up"?

    Dallas to Calgary and back in a Pinto, baby. Good times.

    Loved it, Em. Great memories.

  10. As you know, we're doing Disney this year. But for's a 19 hour drive.

    We'll be flying.

    I admire you, seriously.

  11. I have a ton of great memories from car trips growing up. But middle son get horribly car sick so every trip we take now involves a DVD player. I feel sad that my kids miss out on all the fun of watching out the windows but I dont miss cleaning up all that puke.

  12. Hour 11? You're brave. Have fun!

  13. Those are such bonding times. . . in the end we really do have some good memories left after its all done.

  14. I love road trips. Even more now that I'm the parent. Which is really weird. Maybe it's because I'm so good at the alphabet game.

  15. Have a great time. I've been a willing participant in many a 17 plus hour drive. It always went better than I expected too. I hope we get a full accounting soon!

  16. Wow - brave soul nowadays to spend that much time on the road. I love to road-trip-it, but with kids...not so sure. Unless there was a little something extra to put in THEIR orange juice (just kidding! ) LOL!

  17. don't forget the benadryl. my memories are more along the lines of "if you don't stop it right this instant, i am turning this car around!" and the all time favorite, "are we there yet?"

    have fun and wear plenty of sunscreen! can't wait to hear how you all fare!!

  18. ps: you also get a gold star for not abusing your publishing privileges.

  19. I loved those road trips when I was a kid. We now make a 10-12 hour trip regularly to visit grandparents in Arkansas. "Are we there yet?" and the bickering start within 10 minutes of leaving the house. Usually tapers off within an hour...
    Still love those trips!

  20. Our road trips are my favorite childhood memories. My children may grow up in paradise, but I regret they know not the unique experience of a road trip.

    Bon voyage EM!!!

  21. Road trips are such a great memory! Have a good one.

  22. Hell YES to the road trip EM! You can not be a kid without some true blue family time on the open road. My heart just gets all giddy happy for you when I think of you and your man and your boys cruising on over to the happiest place on earth. :-) How friggin' exciting for you kids! I know you're gonna have an amazing time....

    Love this post.

  23. Sorry I'm late to this party, Em - its been a rough week! Anyway, we are in the midst of packing for a road trip to Southern Cal. DVDs are a big part of it, but there's only so many movies you can watch in one day... so we are big into the license plate and freeway sign games. I would REALLY like to know about "burying the cows"??? And now that we have the minivan, our teen stakes out her own paradise in the far back seat - no little sisters allowed! :)
    I remember a road trip we took when I was a teen and my little bro was 8 or 9 - man did we "disagree" in the back seat! BUT we did have fun - we drove from OREGON to GEORGIA! Yes! Mom had us stopping at every possible tourist trap along the way - I'm pretty sure I gave her countless eye-rolls each time we exited the car - but I'm glad for it now!


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