Looking forward to hitting the road, any road, as the post pandemic travel frenzy has taken hold across the nation. All this talk of road trips reminded me of our family’s road trips, such as they were. You could not really call them road trips. More like Sunday drives where Dad had no idea where he was going or how we were getting back home. It would be more accurate to call them Lost Trips.
Picture this: the 1956 Ford in Forest Green; family of 6, Mom, Dad, 2 girls and 2 boys. One sister had a coffee can in her lap in order to address periodic car sickness. I don’t remember the exact configuration, but I’m guessing it was 3 in the front with oldest sister between Mom and Dad, and 3 in the back with next oldest sister and the 2 boys.
After traveling for some distance we would see signs announcing the number of miles to some town in New Hampshire, and since we had started out 2 states away, it was time for Dad to try to figure out how to get home. No point in consulting a map. He would just keep looking for highway markers that indicated the road went south. Sure enough, there was always a route that would take us back to the general vicinity of where we started.
My recollection (flawed as it must be) is that we hardly ever stopped, except perhaps to empty that coffee can. I also recall that it was dark when we arrived home. That means that these Lost Trips might have been in the 3 to 5 hour range. The only aspect of the trip that was adventurous was guessing how long it would take Dad to find a way home.
Maybe this sort of road trip is perfect for these not so safe times. No mask necessary if you never get out of the car. Cars are now equipped with DVD/video players installed in the back of the front seat headrests. The kids can watch the latest Disney flick while Dad motors up the Interstate. And no more getting lost, because there’s a map app right there in the dash. Put in your destination, in this case home, and get turn by turn instructions all the way back.
Yes, the adventure is gone and yes, it’s strange for the kids to each be watching their own movie, but the family is safe and somewhat together in their post-pandemic cocoon. Some day they might even be nostalgic for these times.
Jay Harrison is a writer and creative consultant for DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.