Road Trips are Memory Makers

Lady holding a young girl with 3 older girls in front standing in front of a rock.

One of many stops along the way with my mom, my sisters and our friend.

Road trips were a tradition for my family growing up. Each summer, my parents chose a destination, grabbed an atlas, and tuned up our 1979 motor home to hit the open road. We traveled from Michigan all across the U.S.—from New York to Washington state and everywhere in between. I loved the unobstructed view from my perch in the bunk over the driver’s cab. It was so fun and super safe, I’m sure. 😉

Man holding map.

My dad plotting the course pre-GPS.

However, my best memories from these vacations aren’t seeing the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore but what we did while we were getting there! Something magical seemed to happen when there was nothing else to do; we talked, laughed and connected. We chatted about everything: weather, music, our itinerary, our hopes and our dreams. Sure we played the License Plate game a thousand times and argued over who got to sit in the front seat while Dad drove (again, I think that was safe for an 8 year old in 1986!). We even created our own game, called 35, to encourage each other to follow Michigan’s freshly inked seat belt law of 1985 and avoid the $35 citation that would be issued should we be caught without our seat belts fastened. We must’ve played the Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper cassettes more than anyone ever. And while the music played, we joked, talked and wondered aloud all the things that kids wonder.

Girl holding child by monument sign

On our trips, there was always room for one more person! I’m holding our family friend at the World’s Largest Buffalo monument in Jamestown, North Dakota.

It’s so easy to bring our technology along with us on trips today. Screens are everywhere and accessible in places that the 1980s never could have imagined! I think we all can appreciate a well-timed animated classic on a long car trip. But when you head out on the road this summer, I encourage you to take some time away from the cell phones and tablets to engage with your kids about the things that boredom stimulates in our brains. Even our little toddler travelers have something to share and are usually quite quotable while doing so. Not every conversation will be a memory-maker, but the feeling it evokes just might be!

– Nichole Enerson, MA, LLPC, CPST

2 Responses to “Road Trips are Memory Makers”


  1. 1 Brandi August 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

    We would not have had it any other way! Horse-back rides to roller coaster rides to fishing day trips and laughter. Giant buffalo and moose, Yellowstone to Vancouver, B.C. Big city fun with a beautiful lady who stands proud in our New York Harbor. East coast to West from North to South…memories that will never be erased and true friendships formed. A 1979 Midas helped make and carry these memories. My sisters are still two of the most important girls in my life and these trips only sealed the deal! Love to you always- B

  2. 2 Anonymous August 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Such a great way to disconnect and reconnect! Thanks for the “must do” road trip reminder, Nichole!


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