I've counted out underwear in neat little stacks, packed up ointments, medicines and bandages of all sizes, thought through meals and bought groceries, washed berries and cut up a watermelon and made 4 tin-foil wrapped sandwiches for a roadside picnic, bagged up birthday presents, washed every bit of the dirty laundry and placed outfits in order in suitcases, gathered up interesting and favorite books, quietly collected little treats and surprises for along the way, checked the condition of lawn chairs, taken an inventory of water toys and floaties…and now…. Now, I'm to that point where I'm just done. If we forgot it or don't have it with us, we'll do without or buy it when we get there.
This is the fourth year the boys and I have struck out on the road heading south to Texas. It's always a different adventure seeing different people and going to different locations and doing different activities. And it's always the same stopping at familiar rest stops and tourist traps, seeing family and friends and being Texans for a few weeks of the year.
This year, we'll start with a family reunion at a lake (I'm told they still have a few bodies of water in Texas), spend a relaxing week at the beach with the other side of the family, visit the in-laws' new house in the country, tour the Johnson Space Center (again) and anything we decide to do along the way.
Each year, as my children get older, the things I have to bring along changes. The first year we took this road trip my younger son was still in pull-ups. So much has changed (thank God), including their choices of toys and activities to occupy themselves.
This year, I left the packing of their backpacks up to them…I'm not sure if this was a good idea or not. Time…on the road….will tell. I hope they have brought things to fill their time and keep them occupied. I do know that my 5 ½ year-old has packed an antique beaded hat he scored at an estate sale…not sure what he intends to use it for though….I told you, it's like taking the circus on the road.
I always look forward to the wide open spaces when I'm on the interstate; something I don't get in a city. I do so enjoy the conversations I have with the boys about the land we drive through and the people who pioneered this land and all the history that surrounds us during our trip.
We've found all kinds of adventures and places to stop over the years; places I drove right past over and over without ever stopping as a young adult. This trip is about taking the time to read the historical markers or visit an obscure museum or eat some local BBQ or ice cream or whatever it is that's special about the places we go. No rushing through just to get to the next stop for the night.
Last year, our summer road trip included a family wedding in Austin, TX. We were fortunate enough to get to see the famous Congress Ave Bridge bats fly out for the evening on the day we arrived in Austin. My kids still talk about those bats. And this is what it's all about…making memories and seeing loved ones and having adventures.
Here's to summer road trips. I'll be checking in from the road from time to time. Over and out…