Focus on the Backroads » Photo Journeys


Summer is here……..time for the Family Road Trip.  Along with baseball, hotdogs, and apple pie there is nothing more American the the road trip.  This summer (hopefully) millions of American will pack their bags, throw them in the trunk, load the kids in the back seat to begin the GREAT AMERICAN FAMILY ROAD TRIP.  Some may head to a local destination while others will drive thousands of miles visiting some of our many State and National Parks.

The first recorded road trip across the United States took place in 1903 – when H Nelson Jackson, Sewall Crocker, and a dog named Bud drove a 1903 Winton Touring Car from San Francisco to New York City.  The trip took 63 days and cost $8,000.00 – cost included food, gas, lodging, tires and repairs, and the cost to purchase the Winton.  Lucky for them there was no need to pay $45.00 for a souvenir t-shirt at every stop!

During the 1950 there was a rapid growth of car ownership – these were not only used for commuting but also for leisure trips.  Families began traveling to exciting destinations on highway, such as Route 66, all across the country.  With this increase of family road trip vacations business catering to these travelers were built.  As the family arrived into a new town they would be met by “men who wear the star” (I know some of you have no idea who they are), many new fast food cafes, and the only important thing to the backseat passengers (which included my brothers and I) was “does the motel have a swimming pool”.  If there was we were happy travelers.  Little did we know that those late evening swims were to make us tired so we would sleep.

Growing up in the late 50’s and 60’s we did not have the travel options that we have today.  Airplane travel was much to expensive so we traveled by car or train (maybe the subject of another blog).  Most of our road trips were to visit relatives in  Washington, Oregon, and many trips to Montana to visit the Grandparents.  Not bad destinations – trips to the beach, ghost towns, fishing trips in the mountains, camping, and visits to both Yellowstone and Glacier National Park.  Some of the most interesting parts of these trip were the roads that we traveled between our house in  Vancouver, Washington to our destination.  Oh how I would like to again jump in the far back seat of my dads station wagon, remember those, the lucky one in that seat never knew where they were going but they always got to see where they had been.  How many hours did we spend making faces at the people behind us!

The family summer vacation has changed for many people.  Many people now jump onto an airplane or ship – because they are in a hurry to get where they are going, or they have this urge to spend time surrounded with by water.  There are still many American’s that embrace loading the kids up into the SUV, turning on their favorate movie on the DVD and heading out to exciting destinations.  I am glad we only had AM radio back in the day…….if we had a DVD player I would have never learned all the words to 100 bottles of beer on the wall or how to play the ABC game with the signs

Of course there were conflicts on the way – the worst ever between my two brothers and I was always …….who was going to have to sit on the hump in the middle of the back seat, that was the worst.  Many times my mom would hear “mom, he touched my leg” and we will not discuss the many burping contest.

Included are some of my favorite photos from Family Road Trips of my family while we were growing up


Sometimes the road you travel doesn’t lead to the Destination you had hoped for.  But if you can look back on the trip and Smile…..Then it was worth it!                   unknown


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