|We found star fish in a place like this in Big Sur|
EARLIEST: Fairly regular road trips from El Paso, TX to Cloudcroft, NM. Some of my earliest memories of vacations are of this trek from the desert to the mountains, from hot to cool, from dry sand dunes to lakes and streams and fragrant trees. We stayed in a little motel court, fished in a nearby lake, and learned my dad's rule of fishing: "You catch 'em, you clean 'em, you cook 'em, you eat 'em!"
LONGEST: My family of origin took several summer trips from El Paso to California. The longest of these lasted two weeks and we went to San Clemente, Pismo Beach, and Big Sur. Miscellaneous highlights: the first time I saw blue jays and redwinged blackbirds, eating a halibut my mom caught, the redwood trees, day trip to Monterey and eating shrimp, camping in the pop-up camper, my sister finding a $5 bill (in the early 60's!) in the parking lot of a fancy restaurant where we ate dressed in very casual vacation clothes because my dad said that it didn't matter if you could pay!
WORST: (Let's hide this one in the middle of the pack.) A summer road trip from Dayton to Maine. I had always wanted to go to Maine, and it is still one of the favorite places I've ever been. The trip itself, a year before the marriage ended, was awful. Words have not yet been invented to describe the pain of that trip.
BEST: Always, kids in the car on trips near and far! When the kids were 2, 8, and 9 we moved from Dallas to Philadelphia. One leg of that move involved me driving with just the kids from Richmond VA to Philadelphia in our family van. One of the older kids was "riding shotgun" and trying to read a map while we all sang along to a cassette tape of "Camp Song Sing-A-Long" the songs they had learned at camp or VBS. At one point, I needed to have a look at the map, so we exited the highway somewhere near Washington DC. Immediately we found ourselves at a security gate outside of some kind of unmarked compound with armed guards coming out to ask us what we were doing there and making it very clear that we needed to be gone sooner rather than later. These are the kinds of things that happened before GPS and cellphone support for road trips! It was not as stressful as it was funny! And it was typical of the fun I remember having with the kids in the car.
FANTASY: The stereotypical RV fantasy: take the house on the road! There might be some fun people along (or not). There might be an agenda -- visit all the minor league ball parks or state parks or all the relatives or all 49 land states -- or not. It would be fun to just go and see and be out there, exploring.