Road trip! I still enjoy getting into the car, putting on my favorite music, and driving someplace. Road trips for our family were impromptu adventures. We all could be sitting around reading or watching television and he’d tell us all to get in the car. There were the thirty minute rides to Coney Island for hot dogs or shrimp boats or the longer treks from Brooklyn into Manhattan to visit family friends.
I remember the time we were all in pajamas and getting ready for bed when Dad said to get dressed in fancy clothes we were going to a supper club in Manhattan. He wanted to listen to the music.
In the summer, we went to longer trips. The car’s glove box was filled with maps and notes. Mom made sure we had maps. Dad, on the other hand was more adventurous—point the car where you want to go and find your way. I think he did it to drive Mom crazy. She’d get out the map and the ‘discussion’ would start. It usually wound up with Mom stuffing the map back into the glove box and turning up the radio.
The paper maps were Mom’s responsibility. On the longer road trips she’d share them with my sister, brother and me to track our progress. We’d announce the upcoming town, gas station and motel.
Mom got tour books from AAA (American Automobile Association) that noted places of interest and Trip Tik Travel Planners that outlined your route.
Those were great trips. There is something about struggling with a paper map, pulling off at a rest stop and spreading the map on the car hood to confirm (or find) where you’re going. We’d get a snack, stretch our legs, and pile back into the car sure of our next weigh station.
As you can see, I loved the trips. To be honest, they weren’t all terrific. We cursed outdated maps, restaurants we left because there was no way we would eat in them and motels, well some Dad just drove by without stopping.
Today’s road trips are different. With our son living in Boston (we live in New Jersey) road trips are not unusual. Now we program our GPS (or Google Maps or Ways) and take to the highway. Electronic maps come with their own pitfalls.
I’ve learned to review the itinerary before we leave just in case the GPS loses its signal. Yes, that’s happened to me. Sometime I get aggravated with the system when the instructions are not clear and I’ve made a wrong turn. Extreme Maxine keeps telling me she’s recalculating our route. Then there are times when the route is wrong.
After a delicious dinner at a remote restaurant, our daughter and son-in-law found themselves in the Pennsylvania hills. It was after ten at night and they were eager to get back to their hotel. Low on gas, they used their GPS to find a gas station. They drove for quite a while with fuel the warning light flashing. They finally pulled up to the address the GPS gave them. It was a private house. No gas station in sight. Their GPS somehow directed them to the owner of the gas station’s home. Thank goodness he had a can of gas in his garage.
Fun fact… Did you know the Turin Papyrus is thought to be the oldest recorded road map? Believed to be created in 1160 BCWhat can you tell me about your road trips