Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Have kid, will travel

I was bitten by the travel bug early in life. And I love a good road trip much, much more than a trip by plane or train. Because my parents were both teachers, we spent most of every summer road-tripping around the country -- mostly camping because teachers don't get paid in the summer (at least they didn't 20 years ago), and camping is cheap.

We had a giant green "maxi van" when I was in grade school that my mom rigged up like a camper. (This pic isn't the actual van, but it looked a lot like this.) She built a double bed for her and my dad in the far back, fashioned a little cot for me that fit over the two front seats, and my brother sacked out in the middle bench. There was room enough behind the far-back seat to fit a cooler and a giant box of nonperishables, and the camp stove and tarps and gear fit in boxes under the seats. My mom was super-crafty and innovative. And we saw many of these United States from the inside of Sam van Green. (This was before my sister was born, mind you. When she came along we upgraded to an actual Winnebago that we borrowed from my grandparents.)

My husband also grew up in a car-traveling, country-roaming, KOA-camping family, and we have no problem packing up a car and hitting the highway. Even with a kid and all the peripheral kid stuff required. We haven't yet taken Sweet Boy camping, but it's on our list of to-dos for this summer.

I'm happy to say it's looking like Sweet Boy has inherited a little bit of the wanderlust. Or at least he has inherited the ability to withstand long amounts of time in a car, staring out the window at the trees passing by, counting the cow pastures, noticing the mountains on the horizon or the rivers we're crossing over. In his short life, he's already been back and forth to Maine twice, to Virginia three times, and we often haul up to New York and back in a day.

Sweet Boy and Mommy had a road trip adventure this weekend. We visited my very dear friend and her family in Charlottesville, Virginia -- a good 250 miles from here. Drove down on Friday afternoon, spent the whole day Saturday playing in the clear mountain air and the sparkling sunshine with our friends, then drove home Sunday. Of course the portable DVD player with headphones helps a lot, but Sweet Boy is really a good passenger: He sings along with the oldies station I found; he informs me of every truck that I pass; he helps me pick out the best snacks in the Sheetz markets we pit stop in.

Today something on the news mentioned Virginia, and his eyes lit up. "I went to Virginia, Mommy!" Yep, you have, my buddy. And I'm looking forward to all the other places we'll visit and the many thousand more miles we'll road-trip together.

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