"Mom," our youngest came to me just before Spring Break. "Everyone at school keeps asking me if we're flying." Friends and teachers alike just couldn't believe that we would actually get in the car for the 15 hour trip to our Spring Break destination.
The same thing happened at Christmas when my husband's co-workers were incredulous that we would actually attempt to drive 900 miles to get to Dallas where our family lives. He said that more than once people asked him, "You're flying, right?"
This family drives most places, and I think we've become somewhat of a rarity. Don't get me wrong--we're not opposed to airplanes. They come in handy sometimes. In fact, I've been on a plane six times already this year for various reasons.
But when you have a family of five, airplane travel becomes very expensive. And we figure, if we can make the trip in a day (or sometimes a day-and-a-half), we might as well drive. It's better than staying home! So from the time our girls were very young, we just got used to packing up our car and hitting the road . . . Jack. *tee hee*
And you know what? We've had a great time doing it. All three of our girls seem to like a good old-fashioned road trip. And B and I love it too.
We've made some really happy memories along the way. Who could forget packing up our car in a driving rainstorm at the end of a vacation? Some great bonding there! Or the time (it may have even been the same trip) one daughter sat quietly in the back seat of the van eating the entire contents of her Easter basket, only to have us pull over just in the nick of time? Good times!
Seriously, though, we have more jokes, more memories, more family lore from road trips than from anything else we've done together as a family. Road trips bond you together like nothing else.
We've seen some amazing parts of the country. If we had flown on this trip, we never would have enjoyed the beauty of the Smoky Mountains in their twisty-turny loveliness. We also would never have enjoyed the beauty of Yellowstone if we had just flown over it. And who could forget the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota which we stopped to see on our way out West one year? You just don't get to see that . . . interesting sight . . . from an airplane!
Our country is huge and wide and diverse and beautiful. You just can't get a sense of its grandeur unless you travel its roads.
Even the hard times bring you closer. I'm not gonna lie . . . not every moment of a road trip is spectacular family bonding time. We fight. We yell. We cry. We forget about it. And then there was the Great Vomiting Incident of 2005 that I've already mentioned--more than once did that happen! Sure, there are tense moments, but in the end, even those moments become part of the fabric of our family. A patchwork quilt that has sewn us together in some rich and wonderful ways.
Even now, we will often sit around the table and reminisce, laughing mostly, about various events that our family has experienced--and usually these events have something to do with a road trip. I have a feeling that even when our girls are older and have families of their own, we'll still be laughing about Ted, the bison, who very nearly got into our car out at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. It just wouldn't have been the same in a rented car.
And best of all, if we didn't take road trips, we'd never get great pictures like this!
So tell me, are you a road trip family or a flying family? Why or why not?