My wife is from Oklahoma and we currently reside in Vancouver, WA. We don’t get to see her family out there in the midwest very often and we just missed a trip out there in April due to the stomach flu (long, messy story). Since April our youngest has turned 2 thereby raising the price of airline tickets for our family by another $500 or so. We also recently purchased a nice new minivan. All of this coalesced into a decision to pack up our three boys and drive to visit her family. We took it in two weeks, visiting friends and other family members along the way, and it was quite an adventure. Even with the price of gas these days it was less expensive than flying us all and renting a van for the time we would have been there. In fact, gas got cheaper the farther we got from Washington. Those Oklahomans have it pretty good at $3.87 or so a gallon.
We had a really fun time and connected with a lot of people that we hadn’t seen in a while. It is especially fun to see your kids hit it off with your friends and relatives and their kids, even when they’ve never met before. We also saw first hand just how big and diverse America is (or, half of it, at least), from the evergreens in Washington, to the mountains of Utah, the desolate high desert of southern Wyoming, the endless plains of east Colorado and Kansas, and the rolling green hills of Oklahoma. Occasionally I thought about the people that walked some of that same route 150 or more years ago and it boggled my mind.
For me personally, it was nice to hardly think about work for two straight weeks. I’ve never taken that much time consecutively before, and it felt good. It’s good to be home and sleep in my own bed after that as well. As I sit at my computer at work my neck feels stiff and I occasionally get the feeling that I’m moving. Visions of endless highways flash before my eyes. Long range truckers have my respect. Even if they don’t drive with three energetic boys in the back seats, driving is tedious.