|My brother and I in 1985, somewhere in California waiting for our "driver"
To have an adventure.
Perhaps this is in my head because my father just wrote about their (my mom and dad's) last epic road trip which was her road trip with cancer. You made me cry dad, that was quite the epic adventurous road trip.
Along the lines of what I wrote in Part I, I also inherited that gene. I LOVE road trips. I need them. I itch. I crave. And I need one, RIGHT NOW. It's in the works, (a small one). It better be in the works, you know who you are, boo!
But Mom's road trips were epic. I'm glad I was included in some of them. Not like I had any choice in the matter. I, along with my brother, would be pulled out of school for weeks at a time, and we'd get in the car, and off we went.
Dad wasn't on these trips. Dad would take us camping every summer, and mom would take us on epic road trips. Perhaps I'm using epic too much, but they were epic. Especially to an 8-year old, who got to leave school a month early.
There were lots of road trips. Mom and dad would pile all three of us kids in the back of a car with sleeping bags in the wee hours of the morning and we'd wake up in Nevada on our almost yearly summer trip to Wyoming. But there are two trips that I remember quite well.
|My brother and I at Mt. Shasta
|already an archaeologist at age 7
She took us east in 1989. She drove us south through California, through Arizona, (we did stop at the Grand Canyon, brother, I found pictures to prove it) New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma to Arkansas. To Grandpa Perk's Ranch (her father).
|I'm related to them somehow
|hanging out with Cousin Dawn
|can you tell we are Pepsi fans?
|Canada is cold
From Ohio, she drove us back south to Grandpa Perk's in Arkansas for a bit, and then northwest to Wyoming to the Larsen stronghold in Cheyenne, then finally back home to California.
So now maybe you can see why I call her road trips epic. Especially to a kid. She did all the driving. There are a lot of stories we could tell. My brother has quite a few regarding our Grandpa Perk, for sure. But they are his to tell.
But mom was game for anything. "I wonder what it's like to drive on the salt flats", she'd say. So she'd take the car onto the flats in Utah. "I wonder what it's like to hit a road construction cone", she'd say. So she ran one over in Nevada... and dragged it under the car for a mile. "I wonder what it's like to hit a bird" she never said, but it happened anyway. And part of the bird was stuck on the front grill, and other parts of it were on the back.
It was a lot of miles in the car with mom. We'd listen to tapes. The Carpenters, Beach Boys, and The Nylons were ones I remember. We'd wear the tapes out till they started to warp. And we'd sing the miles away. I'm sure there were boring parts (Nevada and Oklahoma ring a bell) but I don't remember being bored in the car with mom and my brother.
She was truly happy on the road. There was a mischievousness to her and a true sense of adventure. We could go anywhere we wanted, and we did.
When I was a practicing archaeologist, this need of road tripping was satiated. I was traveling. I was on the road. Some places were not so fun, but others were great. I saw things and places that I'd never seen before. I got to explore the Sierra Mountains, Eastern California (Lone Pine), the Mohave Dessert, etc. Now that I'm not a traveling shovel bum, the need isn't being met regularly.
Mom had an epic road trip planned. She and dad were going to leave for it 3 days after she got her cancer diagnosis. They never got to do it. Instead she went on her final epic road trip of doctor's appointments, chemo and radiation treatments, and surgeries. No one thought it would be her last road trip. It shouldn't have been. But she was a trooper. She was adventurous. She was mischievous. She made the most of her last road trip.
It was epic.
I am determined to continue the tradition. For her, in memory, and for myself. Because it is in me. The need. The itch. I have to go. Somewhere. The force is strong in this padowan.
I'll see you on the road, mom. I'll belt out the harmony to your melody.
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