When you are raised in a rural state, driving long distances doesn’t faze you. It’s a given. And once you reach the age where you are trusted to leave home for the weekend, then the road trip adventures really begin.
For a good portion of my life, I was a road trip warrior. I lived smack dab in the middle of South Dakota. We were perfectly willing to drive 3 hours one way to go to a Fair, to go snow or water skiing, or just to visit someone. And then back again, on the same day. No problem.
The possibilities of where we could drive in one day’s time were exciting. (Well, maybe “exciting” is a strong word. It was the Midwest, after all.) I felt no reservations whatsoever when making road trip plans. Hey, let’s go wherever we want! We can drive there!
Granted, this was a time back when gas prices were a non-issue. And before a thrown-from-a-horse injury left me with permanent hip pain. But let’s face it. At my age, horse injury or no… my body would very likely still ache after too much time spent in the car nowadays.
Add in the daunting tasks of feeding, watering, entertaining, and stopping for potty breaks for your multiple children who now tag along for the ride – and you’ve got yourself some serious second thoughts before heading out in the car for that nice long road trip.
Currently I’m faced with a dilemma of wanting to visit my parents one last time, at their lovely and relaxing log house in the forest, before they move away (to here in Colorado). Forever leaving my home state behind. Last call.
But this would mean heading out with my 2 little ones by myself, since my husband and I’s work vacation schedules aren’t going to collide for this trip. That journey averages us 13 hours. And I keep wavering between Go for it!, and *Heavy sigh* Sooo not gonna happen.
Truth be told, one of my concerns for that scenario is safety. My years of road trips were not without a few perils and their own brand of excitement, including car breakdowns in poor weather, and multiple flat tire incidents.
True Story: Single-girl road tripping alone across the South Dakota interstate, and my Ford Explorer gets a flat tire. By this time, I knew how to change a flat tire by myself, but it was nice of some people who stopped to try and help, so I accepted the husband’s assistance. Within minutes, he had crushed my running board, by the incorrect placement of the tire jack.
To add to the chaos, I’m trying to contain my energetic Siberian Husky on a leash, by keeping us in the relative safety of the ditch next to the road… which is somewhat tying my hands from trying to oversee the task/damage at hand. As he struggles to loosen the lug nuts, the guy begins to rock in place. (Yes I said the guy, not the car.) And to chant incoherently.
I ain’t gonna lie, it was seriously creepy. Plus he was getting no where with the job, other than causing disturbing body damage to my vehicle.
So here’s the rub. He was able to get my FLAT tire off, but couldn’t get the vehicle (with improperly placed jack) high enough to get the inflated, spare tire on. My rescue had seriously stalled out.
Mercifully, a third vehicle pulled over and held an intervention. Driving a big rig work truck, a no-nonsense kinda man jumps out, well equipped to change my tire. He took one look at our fiasco and just shook his head, like “What the heck is going on here?!“ Brushed my first “helper” aside, and wrapped the job up in under 3 minutes. I was so relieved and grateful, I almost cried.
Oh, and the best part. Once the whole unnerving scenario was finally concluded, Chanting Guys’ wife starts dancing around, leaping through the air and repeatedly shouting “Praise The Lord!!“. Umm, yeah – what you said. Praise the Lord that the 2nd guy stopped to help, since your husband was doing much more harm, than good.
Oh, I could tell you some stories. This kind of thing used to happen to me on a semi-regular basis. But I digress.
As you can see, I have a bit of road trip “baggage” – Ha. Back to my hesitancy to tackle road trips in our present day…
It’s a shame, really. Because I feel like it’s cast a shadow over some of our otherwise incredible destination options now that we are located closer to the Southwest part of the country. We are only 9 hours from California. NINE HOURS from DISNEYLAND, yo! Have we gone? No.
My husband’s never been to California in his life (East Coast boy). California rocks. I mean, I wouldn’t want to live there. But it’s got fabulous vacation options. And here we sit. NOT road tripping to California.
So I ask myself in puzzlement and self-disappointment: When did I become such a road trip wuss?
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Do you struggle with being a road trip wuss, now that you’re all grown up? (And what’s your vote… should I suck it up and drive with the kids to South Dakota by myself for one last visit?)