Monday, April 9, 2012

On the road again

This week in the Land of Listicles, the big cheese Stasha chose our inspiration:
anything related to the ROAD!

While I could have turned this all dark and scary, gone all Cormac McCarthy's The Road on my dedicated readers, but I'm not that type of gal.

Just recently Bry and I had had a conversation about travel, something we really have not done too much of thus far as a family.

Growing up, my own family did a lot of travel. As I have mentioned before, my parents each come from large families. As one of eight and one of six respectively, my father and mother did not travel, EVER, as children. Thus with our little family of five, they made a point for us to travel and see the world.

Okay, maybe we didn't see too much of the world. Instead, we were more of a road trip family. Leaving from our house just outside Philadelphia, with the station wagon and then later, the minivan, my dad at the wheel, my mom as the navigator and the three of us in the back seat off we went, all over the greater east coast.

As inspiration, my list took me back to the time I was in the backseat. The time when I was a child and our family would take on the open road.

The 9 greatest road trips from my childhood

1. Wildwood NJ

Really, a trip that lasts only two hours should not classify as a road trip, but when you're under five those two hours are killer. The week after Labor Day, mid week, we would pile into our grey Chevy Cavalier Station Wagon first thing in the morning, stop by Dunkin Donuts for a dozen mixed donuts, and head down the shore. After about 30 minutes, the chorus of "Are we there yet?" would escape our lips as my dad would gently remind us how long by the number of songs from the radio. 
"Only five more songs left!"
For the record, if Inna Gadda Di Vida comes on that totally counts as three songs. 

2. Provincetown MA

My mom had this great idea that we should see whales. Of course, the place to do that is Cape Cod MA. In her course of research she came across a great deal at a hotel in Provincetown MA. 
This was the time before the Internet. The time before a quick click would have led her to the information that Provincetown is primarily a getaway for gay and lesbian couples.
I like to think this vacation not only gave us an education on humpback whales, but also on tolerance and acceptance, as we met some lovely same sex couples.

3. Aurora OH

Once upon a time, Sea World had four locations: 
San Diego CA, Orlando FL, San Antonio TX, and Aurora OH. 
Yes, OHIO had Sea World and we were there. 
My sister and I had gone to a week long swim camp at Grove City College, located just between Pittsburgh and Erie. My parents drove us, the six hours on Sunday, turned around to drive the six hours back home. On Saturday they drove another six hours to pick us back up and then another hour and a half we found our final destination: Sea World. We touched sting rays, saw dolphin and killer whales up close, and had a fantastic trip at this less crowded Sea World.  
Sea World Ohio closed in 2001

4. The Outer Banks, NC

We lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The Jersey shore was less than two hours away, but that wasn't enough. Somehow in the late 1980's, there was a mass migration by Philadelphia suburbanites in the summer  to this magical strand of beaches nearly eight hours away. 
The place: The Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Exactly the opposite of the chaos and overcrowded feel of the Jersey shore, the Outer Banks were serene, quiet, and laid back. 
After packing the car the night before, we'd rise early around 4 a.m. and pile into the car. While the rest of us slept, my father would head south. Coffee in hand, druggie music* on the radio he would drive. We'd awake somewhere in Maryland or Virginia. Continuing the rest of the trip complaining about the music, fighting over seat arrangements, yelling at my sister because she needed to pee again, and repeatedly asking, "Are we there yet?"
*druggie music is a term my siblings and I created to define my father's brand of '60's & '70's rock

5. Evacuation from the Outer Banks NC

My family tested our luck yearly as we often planned our vacation to the Outer Banks during the midst of hurricane season. It took five years until our luck ran out. I wrote about it here.  Arriving on Saturday, the forecast seemed bleak. The red flags prohibiting swimming in the ocean were out by Sunday, and by Monday, evacuation seemed imminent. On Tuesday, our luck ran out and we were forced to leave the island. With all other non residents, we packed up our belongings, piled into the car, and headed North. Bumper to bumper, hour after hour our car crawled along inching away from our vacation point. In the midst of the madness, my mother was able to find a hotel, in Williamsburg, Virginia, and our vacation was salvaged as we spent three days at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.

6. Baltimore MD

Again, not a true road trip, as the distance from our house to Baltimore is less than three hours, however when a child, or tween in my case, that time in a car with one's family seemed like an infinity. The most memorable moment from this trip was our first (and only) ride in a helicopter over the Inner Harbor.

7. Myrtle Beach, SC

Apparently North Carolina was not far enough for a beach vacation. After hearing raves from friends about Myrtle Beach, my mother planned the trip to South Carolina. Succumbing to the marketing genius that is South of the Border, we paid 50 cents to use the bathroom. A few hours later, we arrived in Myrtle Beach. One summer vacation at the resort in Myrtle Beach was all we did, later returning back to the tranquility of the Outer Banks.

8. Disneyworld

This may have been the mother of all road trips for our family.
My parents had instituted a policy that we could not do Disney until my brother was old enough to remember. I was in sixth grade that year, and felt as if I was the only kid on earth who had never been. Renting an Astro minivan we were ready. We included my parents, brother and sister, as well as my grandfather and grandmother. Seven in all. Each seat taken for the twenty something ride. Stopping along the way in South Carolina, then St. Augustine Florida, we made it with minimal long term damage.

9. Ireland

Our only family vacation that involved air travel.
 I had already started my first teaching position, my brother was in high school, and my sister was spending the spring of her junior year in college in Limerick, Ireland. This trip became our last family vacation.
Meeting up after arriving two days later, we piled into a tiny five seater car and played the perfect round of American tourist. Snapping pictures of the Cliffs of Mohr, kissing the blarney stone, touring the Guinness factory, and spending time sleeping in B&B's throughout the country.
This last vacation as a family of five, our most memorable.

Funny how that one word, "Road" can bring back all those memories of my youth.

Where does your "road" take you?
Link up this week with Stasha over at the Good Life and her Monday Listicles.


  1. Your family vacation to Ireland sounds incredible for so many reasons. How wonderful that you were all able to be together.

  2. What a great collections of memories. Thanks for sharing. Inna godda di vita totally counts as three songs LOL

  3. You sure had some trips and fun. I would love to do some of them, specially the whale watching one. Your parents really spoiled you with beach vacations, no wonder you like the sand so much!

  4. Those are some great trips! Jealous that you went to Ireland. My road takes me all over the south and midwest, and a few times along the eastern seaboard. But mostly my road takes me to people I love, a few that I loathe, and most who teach me some pretty important lessons.

  5. Surprisingly I know about The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Glad you did not go that dark route.

    Note: I know about it from hubs since he took a class of his writing, oh boy, was I scared. Then the movie came out and did not want to see it.

  6. What great memories you have! Whenever I get over to the east coast, I want to go to Outer Banks!
    And that trip to Ireland sounds amazing. I'd love to go there, too.
    Loved reading your list!

  7. Great road trip memories! Ireland is amazing, I hope you get to go someday!


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