I was born into a family of drivers. My mother drove farm implements from the time she was 13 years old, and my father can’t remember a time when he wasn’t behind the wheel. Mom had a “lead foot”; Dad’s was lighter, but not by much.
My childhood included road trips galore: Niagara Falls, New England and the “Southern” tour were a few of these. The most memorable were the drives from Connecticut to northern Michigan in the days before McDonald’s, Buc-ee’s, and seat belts.
With the suitcases strapped to the roof rack, the kids ruled the back of the station wagon. Lunches consisted of cold fried chicken, hard-boiled eggs, carrot sticks, and cookies. Potty stops were by the side of the road. Most independent gas stations had outside-access bathrooms for the ladies who were not exceptionally clean.
It was 16 hours of either the Canadian route or the Pennsylvania Turnpike with endless tunnels. Sixteen hours went by in a flash – especially if my mother was driving.
Turnpikes were new, and gas was 25 cents a gallon. Traveling by car was cheap then. The only hassle was the relative lack of proper rest stops. There weren’t Stuckey’s everywhere you needed them to be.
Small wonder that I grew up enjoying the open road. My current car is a joy to drive on the highway. My friends groan at the thought of driving from Dallas to St. Louis in one day, and I relish it. I got to see first-hand the flooding in northeastern Oklahoma (which is considerable) and followed the terrain to the east as the Ozarks rise from the prairie. After all the rain, the trees and grass are a vibrant green and flowers are still in bloom.
Meanwhile, I am enjoying a great audiobook as the miles just float by. The sense of freedom is exhilarating.
You’d think that, at my age, I would tire of this. But no. Adventures await on the open road, and I can’t wait to see them!