Everyone thinks of road trips differently. For me, the earliest recollections fall into two distinct camps.
The first, the hate-love Dad trips to the desert. To look at wildflowers! Hated the long drive, hated that we were going to look at flowers. Loved the wildflowers and loved destroying my Toughskins climbing on boulders as big as a house.
Second, the endless Mom trips across the country. The goal? Time with the grandparents in Chicago and attending sessions of a Lithuanian heritage camp (urgent need to maintain the heritage in light of the Soviet oppression at that time). These were also a love-hate, though drawn out over many weeks rather than hours. Imagine, if you will, 3-4 young children trudging up a hill that was too steep for our VW Camper to make it up due to the family’s weight. Utter mortification was those times when we needed to not only walk, but also push that bus up the steepest grades. Can you imagine that today?
Of more recent vintage, the road trip morphed into a goal-driven endeavor. Plan it, pack it, do it, return home. When you have young kids these days, you can’t leave too much to chance. And, for the most part, these trips are a lot of fun, seeing interesting things and building memories for down the line. But they can also be a chore.
Current and moving forward, I’m sure there will be more of those, but I’m also hoping to enjoy some road trips with a less focused agenda, with more serendipity and more exploration. For most of the fam, this is utter nonsense, but I have my little adventure buddy who is usually up for anything. Throw in a hotel pool and he’s good to go. We had our first trip like that this past weekend, driving the Rock River Trail, which, by car, roughly parallels the Rock River National Water Trail. What a great, relaxing time, and we’ve agreed to make more plans like it. Cannot wait.
So what’s a road trip to you?
Organized and goal-driven or meandering and left to chance?