Thursday, May 19, 2016
Road trips. A term that brings to mind so many recollections, good and bad. Like most people of my generation, growing up in the 1960s, the term brings back memories of family vacations. Crammed in the back seat with my two brothers, no a/c of course. My Dad was still buying new cars and wagons at this time, so mechanical breakdowns were luckily not part of the experience. Except when he bought that three year old Corvair van. I remember that it had a small table in the second seat which he removed before our trip to Guadajara Mexico. We made many trips to Guadajara to visit family. He figured that it would be great for the trip, spacewize it was very comfortable. It did have a penchant for throwing fan belts, they had to make a very awkward bend and twist to power the cooling fan, unlike a VW with a straight shot. If you replaced them with the specified GM replacement part they were reliable enough, if you sourced a low cost generic belt you could expect it to fly off in short order. We made it as far as San Diego before my Dad took the word of a mechanic and stuck with the proper belts, which alleviated the problem. My baby brother got sick on the trip so Dad sent Mom and Baby home on the Greyhound, no problem. I just can't see that flying with my wife nowadays, though I don't really recall any drama over it at the time. I bet that my Mom really didn't want to visit the in laws that much anyway. Besides she got a two week vacation from us, which I'm sure she appreciated.
The thing about these childhood road trips was that as a kid you weren't in control of anything; lunch breaks, potty stops, sight seeing breaks etc. My folks were the thrifty types, so visiting roadside attractions or restaurants or diners generally wasn't on the agenda. A loaf of bread and a package of baloney would take care of lunch nicely. At least we always, always, slept in motels. My Mom refused to sleep in the car, so we were spared that indignity. My brother and I once took a vacation with my Uncle Nacho who was really a tightwad. We spent several nights on the way to Mexico parked on the side of some highway. My folks weren't into spoiling their kids but I never again complained about our traveling arrangements.
After my familial road trips I then moved into the period of my motorcycling adventures. I traveled all over the state, up north into Canada, the Southwest and points in between. My defining trip was a four week solo trip around the 48 states. I road my customized HD Sportster over 9,000 miles on that trip. I'll save these stories for another entry.
The next era was family road trips with me as the Dad. These will be the shared memories of my three kids and I'm sure these will be told and retold.