ABC's of Travel: Age of 1st Road Trip

Happy New Year! This year I've got an awesome new series of blog posts for you called the ABC's of Travel! The 1st of each month I will take you through some of the most interesting things that have happened to me while traveling A to Z. This month we have the letter A.

My first road trip was from our small little farm in Iowa to Indianapolis, Indiana to see my dad's side of the family when I was six. We left our Dalmatian with my uncle and packed up our Ford Taurus with snacks and hit the road. I remember it pretty vividly because it was the last day of school and I climbed off the school bus to find my mom waiting for me frantically waving for me to run so we could leave. The car was already packed and all I had to do was hop into the back seat. I was in charge of snacks. We had water and soda's in a cooler, along with lunch meat, condiments and a loaf of bread on top. I had my school bag with me so I had things to write with but my mom also packed clothes and a few toys for me. I mainly remember learning how to play the "Alphabet Game" where you try and find billboards or advertisements that start with the letter A, then you move to B and so on and so forth. Typically we gave up around Q or if we could even get that far X, because practically nothing starts with X. Eventually we let towns and road signs into the game because there was no way to win without them.

 The Midwest has almost nothing to look at on the side of the road. If you've seen a cornfield, you've pretty much covered the whole entire Midwest in one view. Eventually singing along to the radio became boring and so was sitting on our butts for almost 10 hours. My mother, who drove most of the way, has a tiny bladder making us stop at rest areas and gas stations frequently. It was one this road trip that I learned to line public restroom toilets with toilet paper as toilet seat covers were not as common as they are today. I also learned that taking toilet paper with you on road trips is essential because you never know when you'll have to squat on the side of the road. I pray you never have to do that.

I also made up an unusual but oddly satisfying game of tallying the manufacturers of semi-truck trailers and betting who would win. You've got Great Dane, Rabbit and a few others I would remember if I had played recently. When you're the driver you have less time to gawk and write things down. I just kept a pen and small note pad in the backseat after awhile and compared road trip to road trip who would win.

Car Bingo is another game you can play if you've got enough willing participants and somewhere along the line we had actual bingo cards that had things like a police officer, a bridge, rail road tracks and other goodies. Police officer was always the fun one to shout out because whoever was driving would go "WHERE?!" in a panic and slam on the brakes. I only discovered how uncool it is to do that once I received my first speeding ticket. Sorry everyone.

We made this trip, back and forth several times from this trip until we moved to Indianapolis officially when I was 10 (and then I moved back and then onto New Hampshire, but that's a different story for another time.).

Road delirium is a serious and very real thing. At one point we left so early it was still dark out and my mother thought radio towers with their flashing lights were UFO's and was seriously freaked out. Another time we were driving through St. Louis by the airport and didn't know the landing strip was parallel to the road. I think this was both of our first time on this particular interstate and I was much older, probably closer to 9 or 10. So when planes were landing all we saw were headlights that looked as though they were coming at us head on and I literally fled the front seat. I unbuckled and was climbing in the back seat, my mom screaming at me and trying to wrangle me one-handed back into my seat. I'm pretty sure we laughed about that one for ages though.

How old were you when you first traveled?  
Was it by plane, train or automobile? 
Where did you go?

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