Last week, I finally opened the door on a year-long pandemic, a blizzard and a busted pipe. I peeked out slowly in case I was going to find a swarm of locusts, or worse…clowns.
I could tell the family was ready to do SOMETHING but I had several criteria for it:
- It had to be safe (virus-wise)
- It had to be nearly free (just opened up second clinic? #smallbusinessowner)
- It had to be fun for everyone.
And it was also the week of my 50th birthday—and for some reason, celebrating the birth of the second half of my life seemed…well, essential.
We settled on (ok, moi created)—what I thought was the perfect vacay: an old-school road trip across the southwest, culminating in Sedona, AZ. If you haven’t been to Sedona, ohhhh, girl. It’s pretty awesome.
Very not what you think of when you think of me…
Nonetheless, I had a POOP TON of Marriott points and we were going to drive in our Honda Odyssey, 80’s style.
I pictured these non-electronic trips of my youth (books and auto bingo card: can you see a cow? G-4). But I sighed with the beautiful remembrance of these memories:
“Get off my side. Mom, she’s on my side of the backseat.”
“Are we listening to this 8 track AGAIN?” (we had 3: ABBA, Chuck Mangione and Barbra Streisand)
“Look out the window.”
“I did that already.”
“How much longer ‘til we get therrrrrrree.”
“I have to potty”
And then finally…
“If I have to come back there, you’ll be sorry.”
Ahhh, good times. Good times.
My mom used to make our lunches—lovingly with great care the night before. A Kaiser roll (I still am not sure what that is) with ham. I hated ham. ONE bag of chips—usually original Lay’s and some olives. Olives made it fancy, or so I was told. Another day, it might be a plain hard-boiled egg. No salt. No pepper. Just gelatinous egg white chewing in my dry mouth looking at the scenes outside the window in Nebraska or some place. And trying not to gag.
We didn’t stay at the Four Seasons. Or the Ritz. Or some family resort. We stayed in a motel somewhere that AAA booked for us (my mom was a AAA fanatic, painfully following the Kinko’s bound paper Triptik (anyone remember those? https://triptik.aaa.com/home/)
Being trapped in a station wagon for 10 days (talk about bubble, Dr. Fauci!), I hated nearly everyone by the time we pulled up to the house on the last day. And then everyone would fracture away to their original lives—like a Palmolive drop had tapped on an aluminum pain full of oil and water (all my 70s kids remember this science class experience).
My husband HATES road trips, probably for the same reason I listed above. But it’s not like I asked him to go buy me a dozen Kaiser rolls (seriously…I gotta find out what these things really are).
But you know, after my dad died last year—I realized THESE were the trips I remember. I can’t recall any plane ride that was “memorable,” and sometimes we’d get to stay in a “fancy hotel,” but I can’t picture it. I don’t even remember if we stopped for lunch if it was a McDonald’s or Burger King.
Sometimes the memories that seem crappy at the time—turn out to be some of the best:
- Singing “Dancing Queen” at the top of my lungs over the Rocky Mountains for the 142nd time
- My dad pretending he was playing the flugelhorn as Chuck Mangione played “Feels so Good.”
- Beating my mom 7 games straight in auto bingo.
- Allowing my sleeping sister to rest her toe across my line THIS ONE TIME (yes, we eventually had a masking tape line).
And I wanted to create these memories for OUR family, too. So without boring you of the details some of our favorite family snapshots of this trip included:
- Bringing our own pillows and wubbies and trying to stack that shit in the car each day.
- Deciding we were all a little bit out of shape from quarantine as we were trying to hike one of the Sedona vortexes, but laughing about it. (I wasn’t laughing. But I was laughing, know what I mean?)
- Realizing if we took family photos in vertical panorama mode, my daughter had a weirdddddd look to her. I’ve attached said proof below. (don’t even ask me what’s up with the woman next to her—I think her face is ON THE CAR. It looks like Thanos snapped his fingers and she was one of the 50%)
Yes, there were still lines of:
- when are we there?
- I gotta go poop.
- You pooped twenty miles ago.
- I gotta poop again.
- Where’s the gift shop?
But I hope my kiddos will be writing about this trip for decades to come. Because in a world where even I generally focus on the destination… the journey is what it’s all about.
Love you, sister, because you are the Dancing Queen ….
Don’t forget to check out The ME Spot Podcast—we now on Spotify! If you LOVE please write me a wonderful 5-star review. You can check it out here… https://open.spotify.com/show/6RjtEF2Li2XTELZpUPcMbu?si=7yR-FuqbS5eYI5CiwJ2IoQ
Or here if you’re an Apple girl:
Also for anyone: totally happy to share this road-trip itinerary: just drop me a line! 🥰