backseat road trips

by Kristen

Family vacations were driving affairs. In the backseat of the station wagon, and later the back two seats of the minivan, my brothers and I planned our own road trip. We worked at it for years.

Our epic drive would occur the summer after I finished high school. I would be 17, the middle 19 and the eldest 21. The middle would own a truck by then, and that would be our transportation.

We mapped out every detail. We knew each highway and even calculated in gas mileage (well, the brothers did; I contributed more to the potential snack list).

To save money and time, we would drive straight through rotating drivers: California to Michigan.

The destination was the given. We were heading for Grandma’s roots. We wanted to see the farm where she grew up. Knowing all that remained standing was the chicken coop did not discourage us. Stories of the farm were so ingrained in us our imaginations would be able to fill in all the details.

We dreamt about our adventure: the relatives we would meet, the places we would see, who would drive which legs of the trip, the places we would or wouldn’t stop along the way. It was so real we could taste it.

Mom and Dad let us dream. They raised a few financial flags from the front seat but nothing we couldn’t solve with a few more hours of daydreaming while playing the license plate game.

Our trip never materialized. These strange things called work and college got in the way. But two of the three of us made separate Michigan pilgrimages with even better company: Grandma.


This post is part of the 31 Days: Family series. Read the beginning, and see a full index of posts, here.

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