At a rest stop heading home there was a tree stump. Barely noticeable except for tripping on it, it held a most pleasant surprise. Travelers before us marked it with a symbol universally positive. It was a smiling tree stump and finding it on our way home really summed up the trip.
Our foray into The Great American Roadtrip was quite something. Bumps and bruises, little people that did want to listen, laughs and jokes and terrifying slides all came and went. We would certainly head back out to the open road and next time we will be better equipped.
Taking time to play hide and seek at rest stops is nearly perfect. Even when the four year old does not grasp the concept of the game. Schedules should be loose and snacks plentiful. And most importantly, the car windshield will get a Rain-X coat to help clear off the bugs. Oh golly it was a slaughter.
The big takeaway of the trip is the importance of actually getting out there. We drove two hours north of home and the rocks changed. The earth was different! My sons were not too excited to hear about the great interior seaway and glacial movements that shaped the gorgeous Wyoming plains, but one day they will…probably still ignore me. geology can be a tough sell.
Three hours north and there were no more rock and roll radio stations to be found. It was just country at that point. Six stations of various country interpretations. We turned to our phone based song catalogs.
Four hours north of us and there was nothing but rolling valleys and grass. We drove by wild stallions (it took me four attempts to spell that with Ys; be excellent to each other), flocks of sheep that were greater in number than many of the towns we passed, and on the horizon were wind farms spinning in sync. The vastness of the country, the splendor to behold, it was tremendous
I never got the allure of long road trips. And I think now I get it. In the rush to grow up we often forget the simple wonder if the world that exists in youth. When we finally hit that point of being all grown up, some of the wonder is lost. Getting in the car and heading out brings back some of that wonder. The kids are bored not because the sights are unpleasant, but because the continuous awesome that is their life, consistently seeing and experiencing new things, is routine.
So if you get a chance, take a trip. A few hours away you may get to meet a mutt puppy named Calamity (is that not the best dog name?!). You may even luck out and find a demon Barney riding thingy in a public park.