Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Mother of Vacations

Way back when... something like 1981 or `82... My mother went on a road trip, all the way from New Orleans to San Diego. Quite a trip in those days, I pause to think about it even today. So why were we going to San Diego? To pick up my step-father, who had joined the Navy and then decided that he didn't want to be in the Navy anymore. He lasted maybe 2-3 weeks. But anyway, we got one hell of a road trip out of the deal.

We packed our Datsun B210 hatchback, which was an upgrade from the `70's Volkswagen Beetle we used to run around town in... literally, jammed it full of things: ice chest, blankets, suitcases... we looked like the Clampetts or at least felt like them. It was a completely different time than what we find today. I had to hide in the car every time we stopped for the night, because my mother was afraid of being charged more for one adult and child, versus just for an adult. I might have been forced to wait in the car needlessly, but seriously, I was sweating my ass off, I don't want that to be for nothing.

We took I-10 pretty much the whole way. It was a long slough, especially Texas. I mean it just keeps going and going and going and going again. It makes you appreciate just how big Texas is if nothing else. Getting into New Mexico and Arizona (my mother has a brother that lives in Phoenix) breaks up the monotony, and the scenery changes a bit from scrub-land to a more cactus like desert. Neither of which you would want to be broke down in, but still. We saw my uncle who was really cool, but that was the only time I have ever seen him... his wife is crazy, even he admits it (she is a Jesus freak...) . So from Phoenix, San Diego is just a hop, skip, and jump away... Although really, who would have thunk it that a boy from the westbank of New Orleans would have ever had this opportunity, I certainly didn't.

We pick up my step-dad and then continue on to see some sights. We went to the San Diego Zoo, up the coast to Universal Hollywood and took a tour, we also went to Disneyland (and at that time I was not impressed... Many rides were out of commission I don't think the early 80's were a good time for Disney) and then up to San Francisco with finishing California off by camping in Yosemite... and nearly being eaten by a bear... Why? Because we were stupid, I think I can look back at my life and you know the things that common sense tells you to do, and somehow you do otherwise and you live anyway? Yeah that is me.

The rest of the trip is sort of a blur. We did stop at Hoover Dam, which was and is pretty cool. I think we did more driving in less time, with 2 adults now able to swap off driving duty. And plus I never liked my step-dad much. He was an abusive alcoholic, and you really never knew what kind of mood he was going to be in. Maybe everything was fine, maybe the next seconds he was getting a blow torch and threatening to burn everything in your room if you didn't clean it up (in his defense, my room was chronically messy) but I did enjoy my road trip with my mom, and it was to be the only one I would take, before my younger sisters and brother came along.

Still an incredible journey. One I think back on every time I plan to go on a trip and to think if I would have stayed home with my dad, and went to school, well I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun or life experiences. So my recommendation to any who come upon the option to take a trip or not... go ahead and take the trip. It could be the worst thing you ever did, it might be the best, but either way it will make memories. Me and my mom joke about it to this day.

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