Sometimes we'd just drive and flip a coin to see what direction we should turn. Occasionally, we'd end up lost in the vast, wilderness of western Maine and discover a farm of domesticated elk or we'd covet the immense mansions along the seacoast (all eleven miles of it) of New Hampshire.
Gas was cheap then and we often made weekend excursions in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, all over Vermont, and into Upstate New York. We put a lot of miles on that trusty, little car in those days.
When we moved back to Utah, we continued our weekend road trips. We packed up the one or two kids we had by then and drove to Corrine to see the water fowl migrating through. We went out to the Salt Flats or to Hardware Ranch. We went up to Park City. Down to Cove Fort. Out to Vernal nearly every month. We drove to Yellowstone. To Jackson. To Star Valley, Wyoming to visit my grandma. Saw the Utah version of fall foliage in Monte Cristo. We drove the Alpine Loop and the Nebo Loop. We went to Mirror Lake and Bear Lake. Sometimes we just drove with no specific destination--turning around and heading home when we were tired and/or hungry.
We don't do that any more. Utah Dad often mourns this loss and wonders why. Besides the higher and ridiculous price of gas, the main reason is that we now have five children smooshed, uncomfortably in the minivan (it appears spacious in the commercials) and even on short drives to visit the grandparents in Salt Lake, like tonight, we hear this coming from the back seat:
Amberly: Neal, stop elbowing me!
Neal: You're leaning on me! Get off!
Amberly: Mom! Neal is elbowing me!
(Mom and Dad are having a conversation in the front seat about the larger garden we intend to plant this summer and are attempting to ignore the ruckus in the back.)
Lilly: Stop kicking my seat!
Neal: It was Amberly!
Amberly: Stop elbowing me! Mom! (said in the most grating, whiney voice imaginable--pure torture.)
Me: Don't touch each other. Thomas, look at the train.
Amberly: Out your window.
Thomas: I didn't see it. Where was it? (Crying) I didn't see the train!
Amberly: Thomas, stop elbowing me!
Thomas: I didn't see the train! (He's still crying. I remind myself not to point out objects of interest in the future.)
Neal: Mom, Amberly just kicked me in the mouth.
Amberly: I did not!
Neal: She did!
Utah Dad: How did she do that?
Neal: She has her feet up on the seat.
Me: Amberly, put your feet down.
Amberly: Thomas took off his seat belt!
Thomas: No, I didn't.
Amberly: Thomas just elbowed me. Why is everyone elbowing me? (My view from the rear-view-mirror shows that Neal and Thomas are squished over to the opposite sides of the car as far as they can. Amberly apparently needs room to sprawl. I think that I might also be tempted to elbow her if I was forced to sit by her dramatic highness. Clearly, I'm siding with the boys. Utah Dad sides with his daughter and threatens major punishment if the boys do not cease and desist immediately.)
Neal: I think my mouth is bleeding.
Lilly: I'm thirsty! I need water. (The three-year-old currently speaks one language - Whinese. Fortunately, Molly has fallen asleep.)
Me: I don't have any water right now. We'll be home soon. (Thank goodness.)
Lilly: I NEED water, now!
Neal: It's so uncomfortable back here. Why do I have to sit by Amberly? We need a new car. (Utah Dad and I consider the possibilities of driving a bus or at least installing a chauffeur window between us and the children.)
Amberly: Neal just hit me again!
Neal: I did not. You are laying on me.
And on and on--until we ground them from video games and play dates for the entire week. They all went straight to bed when we FINALLY arrived home--where we will remain for quite some time.
My Stick Family from WiddlyTinks.com