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One for the Road: A Legacy of Road Tripping


I grew up in a family who loved taking trips.  Whenever there was a school break or a long weekend, there was something planned.  My Pops is a masterful planner of all things, loving the research of locations and the comfort of knowledge making unknown territory a little more known.  Predating smart technology and even cell phones for a time, I remember Pops always having detailed packets of maps, local attractions, phone numbers for parks, roadside assistance, health care providers and insurance (so many broken glasses/lost contacts along the way!), and anything else he considered pertinent.  We mocked him mercilessly for this, but I have to admit that we all came around to respect and follow in his example as we became drivers ourselves.
Being the youngest of four children, I was not alive for the majority of the tent camping era of our family; rather, I benefited over the longest span of years from my parent’s purchase of a 27’ long RV camper.  It had a bed above the cab for my parents and two sets of bunk beds in the back, giving my parent’s a little bit of space between sending us to bed and eating brownies in the little bit of living space (at least, that’s what I always assumed they were doing and cried about when being sent to bed).  In between was the living space where the majority of my on-the-road road trip memories were made.  There was a couch on one side and a table with booth seating on the other side and for a very short while, we were allowed to sit wherever we so pleased so long as there was a seat belt.  But then arranging the children least likely to harass one another (hands, feet, facial expressions, eyes)  mandated assigned seating.  There were endless rounds of MASH, the License Plate Game, and Alphabet Game, boundless books read, coloring books filled, and crossword/sudoku/word searches completed, and infinite inside jokes made in the finest fashion - by life happening and everyone laughing (and typically some one with hurt feelings at the time, but we’ve all healed by now).  In our family, stories of "over the horizon", your mama jokes, smoke detectors, missing toy cars, Cabbage Patch dolls, and vinyl partitions never get old and always promise big belly laughs of things newcomers will never find nearly as hilarious as we do.
My parents felt like seeing places outside of home was enriching and educational and they were absolutely right. Holiday weekends kept us in or near Texas whereas longer breaks allowed for us to make it to further reaches of the United States.  We had a sticker map on the side of the RV where we got to add states (but only if we spent the night there - drive through states did not count) and so we were always excited to embark in a new direction.  We saw mountains, beaches, canyons, caverns, prairies, forests, monuments, historic landmarks, old churches, fruit and nut stands, truck stops, and more.  Along the way, my parents were good at sneaking in teaching that supported all school subjects, social/relational skills, and applicable life skills.  There are moments, conversations, and lessons that have stuck with me and make me exited to start facilitating similar experiences for my Grady boy.  Though he is only 6 months old, I want a love of nature, of people, of hard work, and of Jesus in and above it all to be deeply ingrained in his heart, and I know that road trips shaped all of that in me.
Had we been an oily family back then, I think we would have needed (by the gallon) Lavender, Peppermint, Cedarwood, Copiaba, Purification, Digize, Frankincense, Joy, Theives, RC, PanAway (starter kit plus basically!).  Maintenance of our body systems and attitudes. :)
-Patricia

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