June 29, 2011

Pros and Cons of a Trans-American Family Road Trip

One of many necessary stops for gas and sanity

When I first envisioned driving across the country with my dad in a U-Haul, I held images of what happens on the silver screen: deep conversations about life and the world, at least one fight and teary breakdown where I demand to be left on the side of the road, and getting strange looks from rural American truck stop employees because I had washed hair and fake designer sunglasses. While some of this actually happened, U-Haul did not pay for product placement in our lives, so we drove a Budget truck and even had to pay for it.

I took away some valuable lessons from the 4+ days on the road. Hollywood glamorizes driving across America’s bread basket. It’s not always in a convertible with your best friends and America grows far more bread than what could fit in a basket.

Pro: Seeing many beautiful parts of our vast nation that air travel jets over. The scenery and people are so diverse across thousands and thousands of miles of land. We really live in an amazing country.

Con: 4 days in the truck could have been 4 mere hours on a jet. There is nothing pretty to see between Mount Rushmore and Tennessee, and the population in that span is as diverse as 2% milk. Did we really need to make that Louisiana Purchase?

Pro: As you get older, responsibilities add up, especially when school is still involved. It seems like it’s a non-stop train of things to remember, do and stress about. There is money to earn and bills to pay and nothing can really stop this. And now this seems like I just wrote a “con” where a “pro” should be that doesn’t relate to the road trip at all.

REAL Pro: For the 4+ days in that truck, everything from that last pseudo-pro stopped. All I had to do was wake up, get in the truck, and be either a passenger, driver or tourist. Dad took care of lodging and meals, and I just kept my camera ready and treated myself to lots of Arizona iced teas at truck stops with the $20 I brought.

Con: Once the scenery becomes boring and the music gets old, there’s only so long you can sit in a truck before you want to be doing more with your life.

Pro: Driving a large truck, I had an excuse to feel somewhat reckless and out of control on the road, and other drivers expect trucks to be slow, so any time I passed a car was a pretty bad-ass feeling.

Con: Driving a large truck, it is only possible to be somewhat reckless, out of control and slow.

All in all, the road trip was a success and its purpose was accomplished tear-free. I would do it again, but I won’t be the one making the truck reservation.

(Blog entry originally posted June 15, 2011 on Word Press)

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