Road Warriors

Dear J-

The first long road trip I can remember taking was in 1979, when my parents went to Yellowstone with a like-minded uncle and their set of kids, nicely bracketing our ages (we were four and seven; they were three and ten).  I can see the lessons learned on that trip applied the very next year; instead of the board and blanket converting the back seat into a makeshift bed — we rattled around a lot, without seatbelts — the ten-year-old 1969 Cougar got traded in on a Cutlass wagon, just like the uncle’s family had (okay, they had a Custom Cruiser), save the nausea/rumble-seat.  Of course a CB radio was de rigeur — between listening to trucker chatter and keeping in touch with the family convoy, that was the peak of the CB radio craze.

I also remember that was the first time I had corned beef — part of the Yellowstone experience being “roughing it” in a park cabin and excitedly eating meals out of cans and outdoors on picnics (I can still remember my cousins’ delight at seeing Wonder Bread on the table).  No one ever expects to be livng in anything but the most modern times, but it felt like endless pioneer days to a four-year-old, regardless of the number of Motel 6 stays we made.

What I barely recall were the tricks used to keep us in line; I remember begging for various souvenirs (one, a kind of fuzzy bookmark/animal that would arch its back when petted, just because all the other kids were getting one; another, a thunderbird keychain that caught my eye) and books (another trend was starting to peak — the Scratch-N-Sniff — and there was a magnificent book they kept trying to say I was too old for, complete with smells of honey, campfire smoke, and skunk).  It now dawns on me that if it’s this hard to keep figgy entertained in a house filled with stuff and junk, how we’re going to pull the same trick while on the road is beyond me.



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2 Responses to “Road Warriors”

  1. junior Says:

    Oh man, you’re Peter Graves and it’s Mission Impossible. I don’t think it’s the tape that’s going to self destruct, though. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you…

  2. dearJ Says:

    It ended up being not too bad; we ended up clearing some room in the seat next to her so that one of us could sit there and attend to her (throwing toys has become a big pastime). It’s the after-arriving that you need to be wary; last night she was pretty restless, having taken an overabundance of naps.

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