If you want memories to last a lifetime — take a trip with your parents and your kids and just for fun — squeeze in a few grandkids!
Growing up, vacations meant going to Oklahoma all the way from good old California. I was usually in the back of a station wagon watching the different landscapes roll by. From the Mohave Desert to the peaks of Santa Fe and on through Texas and parts of Oklahoma, we drove on old Route 66. I learned so much from watching the world change through the windows of that station wagon. I looked forward to stopping at Stuckey’s where there was always something to eat and Native crafts for sale. I didn’t think it could be much better but when my three kids came along it was more fun (and fussing) than I could every have imagined.
Once we got to take the train to Oklahoma. Now that was an adventure. The great thing about a train is you can move around and visit the snack bar while still watching the beautiful landscapes going by. There’s nothing like eating a fancy cheeseburger while looking at scenery. My favorite views were of people’s back yards where clothes were hanging on the line and big gardens were growing lots of food.
Our traveling changed dramatically from the time I was a child to the childhoods of my children. My daddy worked a lot so many trips were fast and furious. We often drove for three days straight because one of my grandparents was sick or daddy just didn’t have a lot of vacation days. Luckily I loved to read and either Louie La’Amor or the novels of Zane Grey kept me company on the long days of traveling.
When my kids started taking the trek to good old OK things were different. My parents had more time (and money) to spend. We stopped often and took in the sights along the way. My kids and I would try to see as many different state license plates for a game. We sang at the top of our lungs to Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads. I don’t know how my parents could stand it. To my surprise they seemed to love every minute of it.
On some vacations my daddy would decide to take what he called the “northern route.” It meant going through the Sierra and heading up through Colorado. There one thing I learned on the northern route — Colorado has the best rest stops! They have one that even has a swimming hole with a waterfall! Talk about magical. My kids loved it and so did I!
If you want a vacation to remember try taking your older loved one and some of the grandkids with you!
When we got to Oklahoma we stayed with the grannies. That meant a few days at a time with Granny Mann in Konawa and then a few with Granny Everett in Asher. It was amazing to see my parents show the kids where they grew up. We visited the old 160 acres where my daddy grew up and wandered through the woods and even went into the cellar where we found my great-granddaddy’s old iron daybed. It now sits on my front porch.
We went to the drug store and had a cherry-limeade. I don’t know if drug stores are still the same in Oklahoma, but back then a drug store had a long fancy-carved bar where you could order cokes and sundaes. The older gentleman who served me and the kids was the same one who used to serve my mother when she was growing up. There was a jukebox and a popcorn machine and my mother’s favorites — warm cashews.
My children are grown now with children of their own. Unfortunately this granny works a lot and hasn’t had time to go on a long road trip with the grandkids. We have made it to Apple Hill for the day where I used to take their parents. But I long for one of those three day treks across the deserts and mountains to watch my grandkids’ eyes light up when they see the wonder of different landscapes. But I’d settle for a day trip to Yosemite where everything is magical!