Road Trip Memories What I Loved Most About Our Annual California Trip
wit and humor. Nothing slipped past my dad’s family! We were always cracking up with laughter with them. As the majority of my dad’s family has all passed on, including my dad, I can’t help but look fondly on these memories and the vacations I begrudgingly loved. It’s especially beautiful when you consider my dad’s relationship with his family. Dad left home when he was pretty young, and he didn’t have much contact
Summertime always reminds me of the annual road trips my family would take from Wyoming to visit my dad’s family in Southern California. As a kid, I always felt cheated out of a vacation. “Could we really call them a vacation?” I remember thinking. Weren’t vacations supposed to be somewhere exotic and exciting?
Now as an adult, I realize just how special these trips were.
We would start our trip from our home in Wyoming and drive … and drive and drive and drive! My dad was a railroad engineer, so all he needed was a cup of coffee and he could go endlessly. We practically had to beg him to stop for a restroom break, and I can really only remember stopping to eat. He would load up on coffee and be ready to go again. He was a machine. As some of the youngest family members, my sister and I were spoiled when we arrived in California. We were treated to trips to Disneyland and SeaWorld and stayed up as late as we wanted to. We could do whatever we wanted, enjoying some amazing food in the process. My dad’s family is full of great cooks, so we never went hungry on these trips. In fact, my dad’s signature phrase after a particularly exceptional meal was always, “You must’ve put your foot up in this, didn’t you?” But for all the sightseeing we did, the best memories I have from those trips were those moments we spent with family. The images that stick out most to me are the days we spent staying in, the adults playing dominoes, drinking a few beers, and jabbing at one another with quick
with his family for 10 or 15 years. We were so lucky to have a relationship with our family, and to create these memories is just that much more meaningful. Today, my fiancé and I anchor our trips in two things: great food and visiting loved ones. We prefer local haunts and make it a point to check out the local food scene no matter where we are. (Side note: I love vegetables and barbecue. June is my perfect food month!) We also like to choose destinations that lead us through places where family or friends live, providing us with an excuse to visit with loved ones.
It’s ironic that as an adult that’s how I choose to vacation, given that as a child, I never saw our trips to California as a vacation. But looking back, I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. They were some of the best vacations a kid could hope for.
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