I look forward to road trips with my family…it’s something I usually enjoy. But the day before yesterday was…different.
How is it possible to giddily join the singalong one moment, then in the next, feel like pounding your head repeatedly against the windshield? Hmmm…I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at those feelings…. on an 8 hour drive in a minivan with 4 kids and 2 adults + loads of luggage, books, snacks, ipods, toys, papers, orange peels and apple cores….but I was a bit surprised anyways. Like I said, usually things go fairly calmly. But yesterday there was a certain edge to it all. Maybe it was the 2 weeks of staying up later than usual at Grandpa’s house, or eating all those delicious meals (including dessert) that Grandma made for us. Maybe it was the sadness of leaving them. Maybe it was the thought of returning home and to school the next day. Maybe it was the quantity of gummies and chocolates and jellybeans that were constantly being consumed in the van….
Anyways, things just felt a lot…more crazy than usual. The worst part: someone in the very back seat was especially whiny. And there were more fights about nothing than usual. And there were more coats and jackets thrown about everywhere. And there were more “gadgets” to fight over who’s turn it was to play…and there were more calls of “mama, mama, she/he did….”
But at the same time, there were beautiful expanses of prairie to watch. I love the prairies. There were flocks of Canadian geese returning from their winter abroad. There was melting snow in yellow fields. There were deep blue shiny icy ponds crusted in white snow. There was wonderful music to accompany the huge, awesome sunset. There were moments of such amazing wonderfulness, when I thought, this is it! This is the perfect moment, and how can life get any better than this? Feeling that you are isolated from the world, just watching the gorgeous natural landscapes flash by the window, while you are safe and warm and snug, with your husband and kids close by, singing along with your favorite music and the smell of McD’s ketchup and Hershey’s kisses wafting up from the paper bags, and everyone content and together….
Ok, I just love those moments. Those ones.
We listen to a lot of fun music on our road trips. A mix of practically everything: salsa, classical, bachata, ballads, Spanish, swing, electronica, Italian, Gospel, techno, and from everyone from Frankie, Gypsy Kings, the 2 Luises, la Jaci, Buble, to Elvis in a UFO. And once in awhile we listened to a story.
This trip had more than the usual number of “stops”. There was the regular gas station one. Then later, while I was drifting off into dreamland, one of our tires blew out. So that meant a quick tire-change on the gusty almost-freezing shoulder of the highway. Then later, a quick stop to help the smallest one relieve herself by the side of the road (I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically through the whole process)…then later another stop, this one was a “don’t make me stop this car!” type (really quite effective). The last stop was to pick up deliciously greasy food to eat in the van, I always enjoy that! Especially when no one dumps their drink or hamburger in their (or someone else’s) lap. Without honestly meaning to, I ate up almost all the fries in about 3 minutes….funny how that happens. Oh, and I can’t not mention that no one upchucked anything! That was the really great part!
I guess it all works together to create part of a family’s history. Kind of like that cliche (but true) saying “Life is made up of moments”. I haven’t forgotten my “moments” memories of road trips with my family, when it was dark outside and we were all singing together, even Dad, and keeping an eye out for deer and other wildlife to (not) cross the road. And that same feeling of happiness, snugness, and togetherness.
Something I love/hate about a roadtrip is obsessively snapping photos from the window of our moving vehicle. I just can’t seem to help myself; I feel cranky if I don’t (“look at that wonderful shot I missed!”) and cranky if I do (“look at that wonderful shot I messed up!”) I love driving through the prairies, and I love to try and get photos of it, though mine never seem to do justice to the gorgeous subtleties in color…
Anyways, here are a bunch of photos I took on our trip. Our windshield was very dirty, with lots of bird droppings, and I wouldn’t open the window, because it was so cold! These have been touched up a bit, and I must say, I wasn’t as disappointed as I usually am with my (moving & thru a windshield) photographic tries…
I love the geese, but wasn’t fast enough to capture any in flight…there is one in the above photo, surprise! I did get a photo of this mass of seagulls instead…I love looking at all the towns along the way.And then there was our little mishap:uh oh! Henry had it fixed really quick, though.the river valleys are beautiful, especially with their light dusting of snow..Buffalo Pound….(these photos aren’t in order, as this is fairly close to Moose Jaw)Another sight we see in spring:the water was really this blue, I loved the contrast with the almost Oreo-brown-and-white of the fields…
as Dean Martin crooned yesterday during the sunset of our trip….”Memories are made of this….”