Thursday, June 8, 2017

Always ready for a road trip by Amie Denman

As you read this, I'm on the road with my family. We're off to an amusement park for the day, lured by the thrill of roller coasters and the appeal of carnival food. I've been a devoted fan of the open road my entire life, and my husband and children share this beautiful vice.

Have you ever traveled in an RV? Maybe you've seen that delightful movie starring Robin Williams--a family favorite at my house because we've put in many miles in an RV. Believe it or not, my father built a motorhome when I was six years old. I can still remember climbing around on the steel frame as it gradually took shape. With more imagination than money, my parents bought a damaged truck chassis for scrap value. My mother used a piece of chalk and the concrete floor of our basement to sketch out a design for the interior. She wisely laid out a plan for the dinette, bunks, kitchen, and bathroom using the space in the most economical way possible. My father spent the winter building it, and we used it for many years. It only got seven miles per gallon, but it got plenty of attention because of its uniqueness.

A few years back, my parents (who have never given up their serious case of wanderlust) lobbied for a trip to the great American West. My husband and sons were willing, but we didn't have a motorhome. Luckily, I had a good friend with a motorhome who generously loaned it to us in exchange for new tires and some other mechanical work. In that borrowed RV, I traveled 4,000 miles in ten days with my parents, husband, and sons. In the picture below, we had just entered Yellowstone National Park, and we pulled over with other vacationers to play in the snow that was still on the ground in July.


It was the best trip of my life, and nothing can replace the memories and photographs from that summer vacation. We dodged a tornado in Minnesota and followed the "bear rules" carefully in a campground near Yellowstone, but what we remember most is the road ahead of us and our family all around us.

I hope you have some wonderful road trips planned with your friends and family this summer!

17 comments:

  1. As a child, I remember traveling through the winding roads of the West Virginia mountains, to visit my grandmother. This was before they'd built the interstate, so either me or my sister always got car sick. Have fun at the amusement park, Amie!

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  2. Have a terrific day at the amusement park, Amie. I'm betting you might come up with a new story idea while you are there! :)

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  3. I love road trips and so do most of our family. My husband just powers through, because he'd always rather be at home. Enjoy the amusement park!

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  4. I love RV's and have always wanted one. We try to get to an RV show every year. I hope you have a great time with your family at the amusement park. Will you be taking notes for future books? ( :

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  5. I like your sense of adventure and gumption, Amie, to travel 4000 miles in 10 days! When I was 17 my parents rented a trailer for my family of 5. I balked at going, of course, but my mother told me I should because it might be the last whole family vacation we would have as I was about to start university. The trip to Washington D.C. was memorable in many ways and she was right, it was our last whole family vacation together. And I (grudgingly) admitted later that it was 'ok'. I'm betting you'll have a fabulous time at the amusement park.

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  6. The best part about road trips are the conversations you have because you're confined in one place for long periods of time!

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  7. Amie, have a wonderful trip! I am so intrigued by the motorhome your dad built! That is the neatest thing. I would love to see photos of it sometime. I spent many hours and miles traveling in one when I was a kid, too. Some of my best childhood memories were made that way.

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  8. I have never gotten to travel in a motorhome, but my husband talks about doing it a lot after we retire, so I suspect it might be in my future. I'd love to travel the country and write about all the places I see.
    And why doesn't it surprise me that you're off to an amusement park today? Hope you have a fantastic day!

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  9. Sounds like you had a great childhood Amie Your parents must be great fun

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  10. Hi Amy, Love road trips. They always give me great ideas for the next story. smile

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  11. Have a wonderful time at the amusement park! I'd love to see that homemade motorhome. When I was a kid, we had a camper that fit on the back of my dad's pickup. Believe it or not, it slept six -- my parents over the cab, my brothers in the upper bunk that folded out over the dining area, and my sister and me in the dinette that converted to a bunk. We'd get up one at a time, get dressed in the tiny bathroom, and go outside so my mother had enough room to make breakfast. We had some good times.

    Oh, and my husband and I honeymooned at Yellowstone in May. That was the first time I'd ever seen a frozen lake.

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  12. When I was a kid, we were too poor to pay attention but our family took one trip when I was a kid--to Clearwater, Florida in a 1953 Dodge sedan and my dad would kill the motor at the top of a hill and coast down to save gas. I loved that trip!

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  13. My many road trips have been by car, but it's the going, and maybe even the urge to take off on some kind of trip--train, plane, boats, car, camper, bicycle, or on foot--that bonds people. I have friends who don't have a strong urge to wander, but I have just as many friends who can't wait to pile in the car and head out. Maybe to the airport. I so enjoyed your childhood and adult camper experiences. Thanks for posting it!

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  14. Your post brought back great memories, Amie! Our little family has always loved camping. When the girls were small, we rented a pop-up camper and toured Shenandoah. As they got older (and bigger) we opted for pull-behinds. By the time they were grown, we'd completed the many-years-in-the-building cabin, and now we 'camp' in one spot instead of hitting the road. That doesn't stop us from taking day trips all over the place, though!

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  15. Awww. Amie...This brought back memories. We never had an RV. But my parents took us in our 1955 Aqua Mercury station wagon for 5 weeks across the West. I loved Yellowstone and then to Arizona for the Grand Canyon. This was a great road trip with you! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Thanks, everyone for sharing your stories! We just got home from our day at the amusement park. I'm a little wind-blown because of my LOVE of roller coasters, and we all ate too much junk food. But it was sure fun spending the whole day with my husband and sons. I hope you all had a great day today, too!
    P.S. One of my favorite books about wanderlust is Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. If you haven't read it yet, you might enjoy it this summer!

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  17. Amie,
    We're campers too. My husband jokes that the combined length of our truck, the quad bed, and then the camper, we basically are in control of a semi. When we retire, we're getting an RV. Canada and Alaska, here I come.

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