Time to vacuum out the ol' family truckster, load up the suitcases and pack the cooler – tomorrow we're hitting America's freeways and making our way to a family gathering at Lake Tahoe, California.
It will take us two full days of driving to get to Tahoe. We'll leave Missoula tomorrow around noon and head south on Hwy 93 through Idaho, through the top half of Nevada, then cut over to Cali. The girls are already dreading the long ride. Little do they know that thirty years from now they'll laugh and reminisce together about family roadtrips. It's a rite of passage I wouldn't dare deny them.
Besides, my kids don't know how good they've got it. Rear air conditioning vents, iPods, prepackaged snacks. In my day it was a steamy hell (pardon my french) in the back of our mini-van. As the oldest of six kids I was always in the way back. The air conditioning never even reached that area. You could cook a 20-pound turkey back there. I clung to my walkman (trying to keep those cheap headphones perched on my head) and dined on sweaty cheese sandwiches (you know how cheese gets when it's warm). As a matter of fact, that is one of my most vivid childhood memories – eating sweaty cheese sandwiches from a lukewarm cooler on family vacations. My parents (bless their hearts) in an effort to keep us healthy and grow our little bodies to the fullest potential, were part of the health food movement of the 1970s. We ate the grainiest of breads, with chunks of cheddar, or spread with oil-on-top peanut butter and a swath of honey (which soaked into the bread for a soggy/sticky effect). It was during one of those childhood trips that I said quietly to myself "my children will never know the warm, squishy taste of sweaty cheese." I think I've upheld that commitment mostly for my own sake though. The mere thought of those sandwiches makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.
Here's some music to get you excited!