I would drive 500 miles

A reflection on road trips

Me being a ham on the way to the car. Photo cred: Lily Cantú

My wife and I love road trips; I have lost count of how many we’ve taken together. We spent a good amount of the first nine months of our relationship in a car. I lived in Phoenix, she was in Northern California, so about every three weeks I would fly to Sacramento, San Jose or San Francisco where she’d pick me up on a Friday night and drop me off at the same spot Sunday evening.

We’ve traveled mainly between California and Arizona. For a 4th of July weekend one year, I joined her and some friends in Oregon for a brewery/winery tour that was pretty memorable. We drove from Phoenix to Vegas to meet my family once while she was pregnant (pro-tip: don’t take your pregnant wife to Vegas. She can’t drink). I even proposed to my wife during a road trip to a winery in Coahuila, Mexico.

We’ve put thousands of miles on our cars, logged endless hours of conversations, heard a fair share of albums, podcasts and audio books and eaten pounds of teriyaki beef jerky.

These road trips helped me realized my wife was ‘The One’. It was extremely comfortable for us to talk for hours without getting sick of each other (her words). We are talkers, so it works; it would’ve been awkward if we weren’t, I think.

The thing I like the most about the conversations we have is that we don’t have to rush while sharing a story. We talk about treasured childhood memories, what we’ll name our future children and about the items we’d like to add to our bucket list. Top three favorite [blank] is a good conversation starter i.e., Top three favorite Christmases. Some times we even pray the rosary.

We think a road trip helps you practice patience, since you have to be OK with being in the same position for a certain period of time. This was easy for us, but there’s a certain someone in our family who has a harder time being OK with staying in the same position for an extended period of time.

You guessed right.

We’ve taken our son on a handful of road trips and it has been a lot of fun. It has also been challenging as he has been growing, because earlier on he would just sleep the whole time we were on the road, however, now that he walks and wants to explore the world, being restrained to a car seat can be a bit of a challenge. We also need to do more planning around our trips, we can’t just throw clothes in a bag and go. We have to ask ourselves: Do we take the stroller or the baby carrier or both? Are we spending the night somewhere? Do we need the pack and play? Do we pack a dozen diapers or two dozen diapers? Do we break the trip in smaller segments so we avoid meltdowns from both parties?

We’re still learning and I don’t think that we will ever know everything we need to know about our road trip needs. The situation will always be evolving. One day he’ll be potty trained and will be able to speak up and say he wants to listen to a certain album or watch a movie in our imaginary future minivan with integrated DVD player, I don’t know. I just know that is possible, since we know two families with 4 kids each who have driven from California to Arizona several times. They are truly our inspiration.

I’m excited to take my family on new adventures and see new places. I look forward to family vacations and building our traditions and I’m pretty sure road trips will be one of them. And if anybody wants to get rid of a gently used minivan (with integrated DVD player), hit me up.