Friday, June 18, 2010

The Back of The Station Wagon

Thoughts for Father's Day

A big reason why I love to travel is because I spent so much of my formative years traveling with my family.

Loosely defined that was mom, dad, and, for a few years, my sister (and her hefty bag of beer can sized rollers). Sometimes we got to take friends.

We traveled in a variety of huge cars and station wagons. They had names like "Wildcat". There was no such thing as a gameboy or an in car video system. Heck, for most of the time there wasn't even an 8 track. We played states, car bingo, and pretty much just watched the miles tick off across the American west.

If we were driving at night I'd try to tune in one of those massive three letter AM stations like KSL or KFI.

I planned the trips and made sure we stopped to read every historical marker and visited every tourist trap along the way. I know all about cast resin snakes, fireworks stands, and can recite the whole A&W family of burger's menu. I still dream of pecan shakes at Stuckeys.

If dad felt flush we stopped at a real restaurant like a Howard Johnson's. 

Most times we stopped at a city park or at a roadside picnic area under a tree and mom made PB&J's.

We visited virtually every World's Fair in North America and every National Park in the West. We hiked to Delicate Arch. We shivered in summer at Cedar Breaks and ventured into every crater and ice cave we came across. We admired petroglyphs and examined petrified wood. 

Mom and Dad

We stayed a night in Old Faithful Lodge. We visited our relatives in Colorado. We saw bears, foxes, elk, skunks, and coyotes. Most alive - some as roadkill.

There was a styrofoam ice chest and a couple of cartons of Viceroy's in the car. I drank the Shasta's and they smoked the Viceroy's.

Aside from those damned Viceroy's I was in heaven.

All these years later. I still think of the miles of neon signs and wigwam motels in places like Truth or Consequences NM - and those little tiny bars of soap they had.

We drove through lightning storms and rain so intense we could not see the line on the road. We pulled off to bask in the view of the beautiful rainbows that came later. To this day I adore the smell of pines after rain.

Nowadays mom and dad are behind the wheels of a big RV in heaven.

And I'm sure they are still arguing about which off ramp to take.

Miss them so.

Happy Fathers Day Dad. Thank you for sharing all that time with me on the road.

Roadboy's Travels © 2010

1 comment:

aborski said...

We had a 1956 Chevy Carryall now they are called a suburban.We took out the back seats and made 2 levels of sleeping beds for a family of 7.It is the only way take a true road trip,we never got cold!