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Memories: What To Bring On A 524 Mile Road Trip

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain

Memories: What To Bring On A 524 Mile Road Trip... Hold your horses; we traveled by car...

What do you remember from your childhood travels? Were they good or tedious memories? We traveled a lot when I was a child; by caravan, ship, train, plane and automobile. Travel was a huge part of our lives; partly because of my dad’s work demands and partly because my family loved traveling. While most of my memories were entertaining, light and even a doozy, there were a few trips along the way that were a drag; the road stretched forever… But that’s not what this post is about. Of all the trips we took, our plane trips, thankfully, were the least memorable. We hopped on and a few hours later, we hopped off. Our caravan and automobile rides were the most entertaining; mainly because they were long distances, required a lot more preparation, took more time to complete, and covered many sites and stops along the way.

What I do remember, even more than some of the road-trips, was the enormous amount of time that went into preparing for our sojourn. Days before we left, the two designated cars were checked thoroughly; tires, lights, gears, brakes and such, then both cars were filled with gas. We often traveled in two cars because, for superstitious reasons, my parents felt it would be wise to have each parent in a separate car. They did this only for road trips… don’t ask. A travel plan was created, mapping out not only the distance and the route to travel, but additional tools to bring along, extra tires and jacks, and where our rest stops were going to be along the way. I remember how much my dad cherished his maps and how carefully the locations; site seeing, food and bathroom stops were circled on the maps. Each car had its own set of maps and we traveled in a mini caravan fashion; keeping track of each other and pulling over when a tire needed changing or one of us kids had a bathroom emergency… Yeah, those road-trips were loooooooooong.

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” St. Augustine

Memories: What To Bring On A 524 Mile Road Trip... in a car, the road stretches forever

In case you are wondering how I came up with my 524 mile road trip, I used (a great site for calculating distances around the world) to calculate the round-trip mileage for one of my favorite family holiday trips in Nigeria. Check them out and calculate the distances for your trips anywhere in the world.  Anyway, once the basic logistics were mapped out, then a list of items to carry was drawn up and some of those things carefully packed away in the trunks of the cars. Since our road trips were during major holidays like Christmas, gifts were the first to be tucked away. Other things we made sure to carry were:
♥story books, paper and colored pencils to share along the way
♥music tapes to listen to and perhaps fight over
♥water containers/bottles which ended being used for spills and cleanup as well as drinking
♥hand towels, paper napkins, tissues and even toilet paper
♥lots of snacks – dried fruits, nuts, chips and other easy to eat finger foods
♥pillowcases to sleep on, to smack each other on the head with and to support our aching backs
♥first aid kit for the occasional accident and a sewing kit for mending shirts caught on bathroom doors
♥Buckets of patience and some sanity 😉

The list above were items we carried in the car and reached for quickly, but we also had ♥extra stuff in the trunk (continued below) which were necessities that made our travels self contained… Our travels always started out with a lot of excitement; with everyone eager to get to the final destination and reconnect with our extended family; relatives we hadn’t seen in almost a year because they lived back in the village. But relatively soon, within an hour or two of our journey, my siblings and I would get antsy and start asking that annoying question: “Are we there yet?” Once that started, it was time for a rest stop or a bathroom break… Then off we went again, hitting the highway, and pretending that this time, we were on a nonstop drive to our final destination… that is until the next child cried uncle or we reached a designated stop. What were your road trips like? I have added the rest below.

“And that’s the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.” Dave Barry

Memories: What To Bring On A 524 Mile Road Trip... The sites are pretty, but soon they all begin to look the same

I don’t know about your travels but we always had one child that needed a change of clothes because of a spill or because one of us barfed from all the fumes and motion sickness that eventually set in. So I’ll add:
♥change of clothes
♥More hand towels, paper napkins, tissues and even toilet paper
♥an alarm clock for those rare nights we checked into a rest-stop
♥an umbrella for inclement weather
♥toiletries especially toothbrushes/paste and soap for a quick wash up
♥garbage bags for all the rubbish tossed around the car
♥utensils for the occasional picnic or to cut fruit
♥extra cash; notes and coins for a variety of things; some of which we got for behaving…

For the life of me, I don’t know what we did for communication as cellphones were a futuristic fantasy… Do you? Nevertheless, people got around and information traveled quickly. Today, I’d take all the things I mentioned with cellphones and wireless laptops thrown in… But then, I’d probably get on a plane and just fly there. I’m a bit partial to flying now. I wonder why… What about you? What are your thoughts? What travel memories do you hold dear? What is your preferred mode of travel? Do share! Thank you. 😉

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Planes, trains or automobiles? What is your favorite way to travel 500 miles?

Positive Motivation Tip: Travel the roads with an open heart and return home with one filled with awe.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Utah highway, Horses road-trip, Arizona road-trip, via Wikipedia.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

27 Comments leave one →
  1. 19/07/2011 12:03 am

    Oh what memories traveling with my family as a child and then with my own children. Think this will have to be the subject of yet another blog.
    Thanks for sharing and for giving me inspiration.

  2. 19/07/2011 12:17 am

    All of our trips were made by car with the exceptiong of two long train trips when I was a very small child. We loved to trave, and as a family we traveled all over the country (USA) camping whereever we went. The train trips were both from our home in Louisiana to Mom’s home in Louisville Kentucky. I vividly remember the train station in KY as if it was yesterday. Grandpa would meet us there to take us to his tobacco farm an hour’s drive away. The train station still stands, and a few years ago Mom and Dad took me to see it (now an historical building.) I was instantly transported back to a child of 4 years old, in my pink “traveling” suit (people used to dress up to travel in those days.) I recognized so much of the building it was almost scary! Many many many travel memories of all kinds, and yes, even the unending and monotonous “are we there yet” question known so well in most traveling families!

    Loved this post. Triggered a lot of traveling memories of my own.

  3. 19/07/2011 12:47 am

    Eliz, I remember traveling as a kid with my parents and my younger sister in the car. We would start off singing and playing and within 20 minutes Laura and I would be hitting each other and complaining, “she’s on my side!”

    Thanks for making me giggle from the memory. Miriam

  4. 19/07/2011 1:13 am

    We hardly traveled when I was younger, so that my couple of memories of travel are both from the same trip. In the first, I’m looking back at what seems like miles of cars, counting as high as I can (500+! what a big girl!). In the second, I’m leaving my grandma and grandpa’s house, and they allow my siblings and I to take one doll apiece from a toy bin before we begin our long journey back from Arizona to Oregon.

    Li’l D will not be able to say the same when he’s older! We’ve already visited Oregon (a few times) and Ohio once, with plans of an Illinois visit in the works! I’ll doubtfully be more organized in future trips than I was for past ones, but it all seems to work out in the end. 🙂

    Beautiful pics, btw!

  5. 19/07/2011 1:15 am

    Lots of wonderful memories Eliz – isn’t it nice to look back? You made me smile with all the ‘stuff’ that had to be taken on a trip like that!

  6. 19/07/2011 2:50 am

    my favorite way to travel 500.000 miles is via the world wide web – thank you Bill Gates!

  7. 19/07/2011 6:28 am

    Wonderful post. I remember riding a 4 hour train when I was about 6-7 year old so we can go to the big city for Christmas shopping. I couldn’t forget that day because there was a huge boulder of rock that fell off the train tracks and they had to blast it to pieces. It was both scary and thrilling at the same time. Then we saw this big tree surrounded by fireflies. I never saw something like that ever again.

  8. 19/07/2011 7:22 am

    Many wonderful memories traveling with family, my brother and I played so many games, many we made up as we went along. Some of our trips traveling through the mountains, were not only beautiful scenery, but many hairy moments, as we went around some of those winding mountain curves.

  9. 19/07/2011 7:37 am

    By caravan? How utterly exciting that must’ve been! Because of my father’s job, we traveled quite often, too. What was exciting for me was getting that new coloring book & crayons and a book to read.

  10. 19/07/2011 7:38 am

    Your post made me excited!

  11. 19/07/2011 8:54 am

    Because of my Dad’s work, we moved quite a bit and also worked family vacations into his sales conventions each summer. We always traveled by station wagaon, stopped at rest areas to for picnic lunches and stayed at Holiday Inns en route. Since there were 5 kids, I think air travel was probably prohibitive. When my parents traveld by themselves by air, like your parents, they always took separate flights. My mom said they did that because with 5 kids at home, they didn’t want to risk both of them being killed if a plane went down! I have great memories of family road trips–playing the license plate game, singing songs, fighting with my brothers & sisters. My family both travels by car and by plane. (With one child, air travel is fairly easy). Thanks for a great post!

  12. 19/07/2011 9:35 am

    Hi Eliz!! Your roadtrip story is appropriate because I’m on one right now! I have driven thousands of miles and picked up and dropped off loads of people along the way. It’s been a really fun way to travel, but I’m looking forward to home and resting.

  13. 19/07/2011 11:08 am

    Traveling with family is the best. When I was young, I often traveling with my family. I also love to go traveling with my friends! Now I can tell that my kids also love traveling especially when we talk about airplane! Love this post!

    If you don’t mind, please visit my blog and I am more than happy if you are willing to share your thought

  14. 19/07/2011 11:16 am

    i enjoyed your memories of road trips Elizabeth. I unfortunatel have had very little when I was a child. My family really could not afford to go anywhere, when I was growing up. However, I remember going to Niagara Falls once and it remains a very good memory.

  15. 19/07/2011 12:33 pm

    Whenever we went on a holiday we always made sure we had plastic bags in the back, in case me or my brother got sick, which always happened at some point. I remember once, only half an hour into our trip I got sick, and it all got worse from there…

  16. 19/07/2011 12:43 pm

    Ooo! I remember those road trips! Your road trips sound a lot like mine… humm …. are U sure we’re not related?! …tee…hee…. Thanks for the fond memories.

  17. 19/07/2011 1:04 pm

    Every summer my grandparents would drive from Ohio to Georgia to stay with family and I usually went with them. At that time the highway wasn’t built yet so we traveled on Rt. 25 and it took about 18 hours. The only time my grandfather would stop for the night was if there were lots of large trucks ahead of him as we neared the mountains in TN. He couldn’t stand being behind them, so he’s stop at a motel and begin again in the morning when there were fewer trucks.
    It’s a memory of Americana I will always cherish.
    thanks for your fun story!

  18. 19/07/2011 1:32 pm

    My summer road trip just got cx’d. I was going to drive to Mississippi with my daughter who’s moving there with the Navy. They changed her date. Can’t go. What lovely memories you brought back with this post.

  19. 19/07/2011 1:49 pm

    I have completely lost interest in flying. I used to look forward to the amazing people watching at the airport as much as the trip itself! But now American airports have become so regimented that I hate to fly now! I’d much rather pack up into a car and hit the road…

  20. 19/07/2011 6:16 pm

    I started writing a post based on that prompt yesterday but it just wouldn’t come together. I like yours.
    We did only one road trip when I was growing up. My aunt and uncle had to pick up my sister/cousin who was staying with another aunt for the summer. Our car broke down. Thankfully, my uncle had a relative who owned a guest house so we stayed there while the car got fixed. You’re right – we didn’t have phone then and I can’t remember how or if we were able to alert them about our car trouble. The car was fixed and we made it to our destination the next day.
    There were a lot of firsts on this trip. What I remember: how hot it was. The car wasn’t air conditioned and even with the window down it was stifling. How long the drive was — it was the farthest I’d ever been. Staying at the guest house. Having ground beef with shell pasta — I’d never had ground beef or pasta before. I don’t think I’d even been to a restaurant at that point.
    Thanks for your post, Elizabeth, and for helping me remember a critical part of my childhood.

    When you catch your breath, please stop by my blog and check out what I’ve been up to. I changed my theme and lost my email subscribers.

  21. 19/07/2011 7:04 pm

    Eliz..thanks for taking us with you on your road trip. 🙂
    As a child, I lived in NYC and we didn’t have a car nor money for plane trips…but we did take trains to Providence, RI where we had relatives…I was NOT a good traveler because I would get migraine headaches from the excitement and the noise. Thank goodness, I am a great traveler now…and love flying to see my kids, wherever they are living at the moment.
    When my husband and I were first married, we took several cross-country road trips that lasted entire summers (we were both teaching at the time)…and I loved those. To paraphrase Nancy…no rules, just drive!

  22. 19/07/2011 10:12 pm

    We traveled by car as a family. Lots of 6 hour trips back and forth to Vermont and Maine.

    We took one 3000+ mile trip across country when I was 13 ~ towing a pop up camper. After that month of togetherness, I refused to go on any more family vacations. 🙂

  23. 20/07/2011 9:30 am

    I think all of us may be all travelled-out for a while, John particularly!

    I prefer to fly, although I don’t much like flying IN the USA these days due to the security measures. So much time at the arn ariports! 😆

    I used to travel a lot in the days I showed dogs. That always involved plenty of preparation: 2 kids, 4 dogs (dog trailer), travelling in convoy with other show people. Lots of organisation.

    When I was a child we didn’t travel much – too hard to leave the farm unattended. Therefore most of my travelling has been as an adult. I travel light and pack exactly 1 hour before I leave the house.

  24. 22/07/2011 1:53 am

    I remember annoying by parents by singing and pretending to be a radio host in the backside…..reading as much as possible until it made me sick….then as soon as I got my first walkman, I would have my headphones on the entire time listening to cd after cd and singing along


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