It has been said that “the journey is the destination.” It is even truer when it comes to a road trip. And this is where my husband and I disagree. His mantra is the destination is the destination and the sooner you get there, the sooner your vacation starts.
As a child, I loved road tripping. My parents were either crazy or infinitely patient, but we used to travel the west in a sedan with five kids and a dog. I don’t remember anything negative about these trips. Maybe it is selective memory with a healthy dose of nostalgia but we always seemed to have a grand time.
I also have the same amnesia regarding road trips when I was the parent and the kids were small. No irrational fighting, no excessive bathroom breaks, and no nightmarish car difficulties in my past.
The whole road trip discussion surfaced when I expressed my desire to visit Mount Rushmore this summer. Thankfully, I have a daughter who is always up for an adventure, because otherwise I would have been going solo. Traveling through Wyoming and into the Black Hills provided many hours of uninterrupted conversation as well as long stretches of listening to music. Limited cell service thankfully took away distractions and interruptions. It was just the two of us and nearly 1,500 miles of road.
A road trip offers a glimpse of the country that you don’t get by plane. We got a sense of the vast expanse of the Great Plains when we ventured as far east as quirky Wall Drug in South Dakota. Every bend in the road of Wyoming exposed nature’s stark beauty. And the sudden grandeur of Devil’s Tower left us speechless. We arrived back in Utah on July 24, feeling a bit like modern pioneers. We had traveled much of the Mormon Trail on our adventure.
One of the best parts of the trip was meeting other road warriors from Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Florida in the Black Hills. Like the Simon and Garfunkel song we’d all come “looking for America.” We found a beautiful corner of it in our Toyota.
By MARK GRAY
My aversion to road trips comes from boring drives through barren deserts and repeated exposure to Chevy Chase “Vacation” movies.
I don’t find anything enjoyable about squirming children and tired adults scratching for another bag of Twizzlers or a sweating cellophane packet of trail mix.
And how about the great family “bonding” conversations:
“Are we there yet?” “C’mon, we’re all tired and won’t get there any sooner by arguing” “No, I don’t want to turn off that exit and see the Duct Tape Museum or the Granary Exhibit” “Listen, we’re out of the string cheese, you’ll just have to be satisfied with the gummy bears.” “Stop hitting your sister Р and I don’t care who started it.” “We’ve heard this CD five times; can’t we listen to something else?”
Granted, road trips with adults lack the drama of those with sulking children.
But the highways and byways are still full of miles and miles of desolation.
I have personally driven for one hour in “scenic” America without seeing a tree or rabbit within 500 yards of the road.
Therefore, I have an easy response to any suggestion of a road trip vacation:
“I don’t want to put miles on the car. Search online and get the most economical airfare. I’d rather deal with TSA agents than the Highway Patrol. I don’t want to drive farther than the Salt Lake International Airport.”
If we’re going to vacation in Disneyland, the kids should get more time with Mickey than with grumpy dad.