Friday, March 5, 2010

When Did We Start?

Some nice flowering trees here in Tumwater.  I think they are ornamental cherry trees.

When did the travel "bug" hit?  You know, that desire to just get out and see new places.  The answer to that will, of course, be different for everyone.  I've read some back posts on blogs, recently, to find out why or when some bloggers got started with a traveling life.  I thought I'd write a little bit on how Bruce and I came to find a traveling life so perfect for us.

I first met Bruce when I was 12 years old.  It was at his sister's birthday party.  He was 16 and at that first glance and I was instantly smitten.  He didn't give me a second look until 2 years later in 1965.  I was 14 and he was 18 and the romance began to bloom.  Needless to say, due to my young age and the age difference, our parents were less than thrilled.  Getting to the point now....we were eventually given permission to see each other and he has been stuck with me ever since.

Even at those young ages, we enjoyed little day trips as our dates.  We lived in Lakewood, California, which is next to Long Beach.  Bruce drove a little VW beetle and we used that to make day trips to Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear, Idyllwild, Palm Springs, San Diego, Borrego Springs, Santa Barbara, Solvang, Mohave (yeah, weird!), the beach, Hollywood and so many other places.  We loved driving around seeing new places. 

I graduated from Lakewood High School in 1969 and 2 weeks after graduation, Bruce and I were married.  Like all couples about to be married, we gave thought to our honeymoon trip.  We talked about a lot of romantic places and then said.....ROAD TRIP!  So on our first trip as newlyweds, we set out in a brand new VW beetle up the coast of California.  During our one week honeymoon we went to San Francisco, the Redwoods, the Oregon Caves, Crater Lake, Klamath Falls, Reno and a drive-by Lake Tahoe before heading back home.  We covered a lot of territory in that short week, but it started that "travel bug" moving around inside of us. 

Vacations were always a top priority with us.  As the 2 kids arrived, we just took them right along with us.  We wanted to expose them to as many places as we could, and do it as a family.  Vacation time was a chance for the 4 of us to be together, bonding, sharing experiences and having a great adventure.  We did not have time for long trips at this point in our lives, so we did not purchase a recreation vehicle.  We were busy helping to run a family business and 2 weeks was all we could get for a trip.  We had to be content with car trips or trips flying off in an airplane to some fun place.

We were able to start some wonderful vacations in 1978, when our daughter was only 3 years old and our son was 6.  We took them to Hawaii, Washington D.C., British Columbia, Carlsbad Caverns, and Tucson.  We were also fortunate to be able to take them on many cruises, including the Caribbean islands, Mexican Riveria, Panama Canal, and Alaska.  This lifestyle has fostered the "travel bug" within our kids, too, and they love to travel now.      

In 1987 we got the big break.   Our family business was closed up in 1986, which may not have seemed like a great miracle at the time, but later came to be thought of in such terms.  Since Bruce was not planning to return to the work force, we decided to take a........ROAD TRIP!   We spent several months planning a 'round the country trip with 2 teenagers in a large Dodge van we had specially designed for this trip.  We were planning a 2 month adventure.  This would be our very first cross country trip driving and not flying. 

Since we knew that taking a 15 year old and a 12 year old away for almost their entire summer was asking for trouble, we planned some amusement parks stops along the way.  Bribery????   You bet!!!  We wanted no whining along the way.  By day we drove in this wonderful Dodge van with 4 captain chairs, and by night we stopped at motels.  We planned for many historic stops along the way in addition to the "fun stops" we were going to have.

On that road trip we went to many places, but our big stops were:

Carlsbad Caverns
San Antonio, Alamo
Gulf Coast and saw Jefferson Davis' home
Mobile and the U.S.S. Alabama
Walt Disney World
Pigeon Forge and Dollywood
Stafford, VA to visit friends and we saw the FBI's Hogan's Alley in Quantico
Mystic, Conn.
Plymouth, MA
Boston, MA
Acadia Nat. Park, ME
Cooperstown, NY
Niagara Falls, NY
Nat'l. Football Hall of Fame, OH
Amish Country, OH
Sandusky, OH  Cedar Point amusement park
Bad Lands of SD
Mt. Rushmore SD
Yellowstone Nat.'l Park   just did a drive through, repeat trip
Soda Springs, ID to visit my aunt and uncle
back home to California

It was a whirlwind trip, to be sure, but we all enjoyed getting a little sample of what was out there.  I think we stopped at 4 amusement parks, plus WDW, so the kids made it through the trip without undue whining.  The trip proved to Bruce and I that we needed to buy an RV.  Staying in motels for 2 months wasn't the greatest experience.  All that suitcase carrying and eating 3 meals a day in restaurants got old real quick.  In 1988 we bought our first motorhome.  It was a 26 1/2 foot Lazy Daze Class C rig.  It was great and it was what started us off on a "now life long love affair with RVing". 

That was our first time driving cross country.  Since 1987, Bruce and I have crossed the country (by car or RV) 13 times.  Our trip from Washington to Virginia in 1995 by car was our shortest in duration.  My grandmother was ailing, and I knew I'd never get to see her again, so we put a few things in our old Honda Accord and drove to Salem, Virginia to see her one last time.  We stayed in Salem for just 4 nights and then turned around and drove back to Washington.  Our longest trip staying on the other side of the country was the RV trip in 1997 when we were gone for 7 months. 

Next month we will be making our 14th cross country trip.  We are looking forward to the journey.  We are always ready for another......ROAD TRIP!!!  How about you??

Tumwater Falls at Tumwater Falls Park
Until next long for now!


In The Wind Adventures of William and Mary Ann said...

Lovely family "trip" history.
Thank you for sharing Margie.

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

What a sweet love story! How nice of you to share with us. Keep on those Road Trips, they are what keep ya young!

Karen and Steve

Kenny And Angela's Adventure said...

Great story thanks for sharing it with us.

We are so ready for our road trips.

Wild Blue Yonder said...

Thanks for sharing! You two have a great history and have shared many memories, so far!!

Rick and Paulette said...

That's quite an adventure - thanks for sharing that story with us all.

squawmama said...

Wow Margie what a great story... We have been travel bugs too since the day we got married... We have been doing camping and b&b's and cottages and hotels for years... So have our daughters who still travel and go camping... Thanks for coming by... Have fun & travel safe...

Diane said...

I am always curious about how families start out on these adventures. I am also fascinated to hear about all your adventures. Me and hubby really want to try this lifestyle in about 10 years, working toward that goal. I stumbled upon your blog recently and am enjoying it very much.

Happytrails said...

What a wonderful story!! Mike and I always loved the outdoors and travel so we started with tents went to pop-ups and then an all enclosed travel trailer to our love for motorhomes.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful love affair with us. May your 14th journey be just as exciting as the 1st!!! :)

Mike and Gerri (

Gypsy said...

What a wonderful life of traveling you've had1 And the spectacular places you've been to. Thanks so much for sharing.

I've always felt I have a gypsy heart and soul, and I can see it in some others as well. You certainly have it.