lost, for a little while

like father, like daughter
September 18, 2010, 10:10 pm
Filed under: car, family, memories


This jovial fellow on the right is my father. (Pay no attention to the weirdo on the left.)

Whether or not he likes it, my dad is partially responsible for this whole road trip idea. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t enjoy driving as much as I do were it not for him, and therefore would never consider the idea of living out of my car and driving all over the country a “neat experience.” But thanks to him, his marathon driving style, his love of Car Talk and all things cars, and his insistence on only spending our vacations in the warm, forgiving climate of Florida, I do.

When I was a kid, every spring break (or as many as possible) was spent in Florida. Orlando, Bonita, Siesta Keys, Marco Island, Boca Grande, Sarasota…I’ve been to them all. And we didn’t just go, we drove. From Ohio (and, later, Michigan) to Florida. That’s twenty-two hours on the road at its farthest points, and we rarely stopped overnight. Rather, we’d put the backseat down in the station wagon and spread sleeping bags out for my brothers and I; later, when we upgraded to a minivan (wooden paneling and all), each of my brothers scored a bench seat and I hunkered down on the floor behind the driver and passenger seats.

Our seatbelt-free arrangement probably wouldn’t fly today, nor would the practice of allowing your youngest to sleep where she is in danger of being crushed by her older brother should the car come to an unexpected stop. I think it might not have been safe for me to sleep with my face so close to the bars and springs that stuck out from the bottom of the driver’s seat, either. Oh well. Thank God I’m not a kid today, because I liked the arrangement. The sleeping bags were warm, Bob Seger or Bruce Springsteen was almost always playing softly in the background, and the rumbling vibration of the car in motion was what I imagine Magic Fingers to be like–only it didn’t require quarters. Best sleep ever.

So, thanks to my dad, not only can I nod off in the backseat in about ten minutes flat, but I also am immune to those long-haul routes that keep most people at home or, more likely, on a plane. And, thanks to my dad, I have a lot of states left to explore.

Cheers, Dad.


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