I am in need of a serious good ol’ fashion road trip!
I love road trips! My love of road trips began when I was 1 month old and travelled from Iroquois Falls to Toronto for Christmas1. In fact, most of my formative years’ road trips involved leaving from somewhere and going to Toronto to visit family. Somehow I (or rather “we” as there were usually 6 of us in the car at the time!) managed to survive all those family road trips without a portable DVD player, iPod or Nintendo. Back then, if the stars and planets aligned we lucked out with some car bingo books! Unfortunately, I learned early in life that I did not possess the ability to read, write or colour in the car. Road trips would sure have been improved if I didn’t feel like throwing up every time I turned a page! My parents certainly took us on some pretty spectacular “Sunday drives”. Family member visiting from overseas were treated to (or subjected to, depending on who you ask and who you had to sit next to in the car) treated to more than just a touristy day trip to Ottawa and Montreal. “Hell no! Let’s go to Stowe!”, we all chimed. Off we drove in our industrial-size Ford van (long before vans were chic and popular) looking more like the Clampetts than suburban daytrippers.
Beyond my primary years, I actually did have some road trips of ‘Animal House’ proportions while at university or visiting siblings and friends at university but my budget and debt load never permitted an epic trip to Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach (sadly my parents stopped going to Miami for March Break right about the time I really needed a lift!). Several non-disclosure agreements forbid my discussion of those epic road trips, however. Really, a true road trip does not involve someone plugging in the “estimated time of arrival” via GPS because a true road trip should probably include 2 bathroom breaks, 1 overprices greasy meal (that may or may not increase the number of bathroom breaks), at least one crisis involving relationships with family/significant other, one car repair or gas replenishment and – if all goes well – only one run-in with the law.
Since becoming a parent, we’ve taken some impressive family road trips as well, though at the beginning of parenthood they were skillfully planned to coincide with afternoon naps [of toddlers] so I too could enjoy the scenery facing forward! Some I would rather forgot like the time (when my own daughter was only 2 months old) it took us 8 hours one Christmas to go a distance that should have only taken 4 hours. We were en route from Ottawa to Collingwood and winter weather wreaked its wrath and we ended up having to stop in Toronto over night before continuing on to Collingwood the next day. The spontenaety of PK trips (pre-kids) has suffered some and now adolescent and teenage social / sport schedules rule our weekends. I am ever so mournful of the long months (ok, years) that seem to span from one road trip to the next.
It is rather fitting though, that my next road trip next weekend is to Cornwall – the genesis of so many of my most memorable road trips! Though only an hour and a half drive, my daughter is really looking forward this mother-daughter journey to her first hockey tournament of the season. She is her mother’s daughter, planning the car trip and the snacks with precision and care (ok, junk food in a shopping bag)! Today’s big chore together involves creating the perfect music playlist (for iPod of course) for both the car ride there and girls’ dressing room at the arena. No family road trip begins offocially until I sing a couple of bars from Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again”. C’mon, who’s with me? Let’s hit the road!
1. I’m not actually sure if this is true but let’s go with it for now.