So when I was ten my parents sat us down to explain they were going to “get divorced”. It was terrible. But little did I know (because no one ever tells you the upside), that this would be the best thing that could’ve happened to my family.
How you ask could I mean that? Because, I really, really do. Up until then we only had 1 vacation every summer for two weeks. But after their separation we got 2! It’s what you call looking at the glass half full. We also got two birthday parties, two Christmas, two Easters and two Thanksgivings. I mean +++
I still don’t know how they each did it on a single income. But they always did it. From Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Maine there was always four weeks every year that we got to travel. I have been to every state along the East coast, thanks to both of my parents.
We never flew, we always drove. Looking back, I think of all the times spent in Dad’s Jeep Rodeo and Mom’s Ford Escort. There were so many conversations and games to play. We played the typical like, find all the license plates from different states, I spy, and many more. We also had our handheld games from Nintendo and Sega to entertain us. And we always asked “Are we there yet”?
About two years into these single parent vacations, we started to add Mike and Jenny along with Andrew, Crystal, Jonathan and Jennette (my “Step-Parents and Step-Siblings”). But as my dad use to say “the only step in our house, is the one into the front door”.
This opened up all kinds of new adventures. Not to mention epic fights! With my mom, a vacation of this combined family included 6 kids and two adults. We traveled in what was the new vehicle “The Ford Aerostar extended minivan (cause that makes any sense)”. Mike being the ever so brilliant came up with a TV in the car before Ford, Honda or any other make. He took our 13 inch TV from the bedroom and our VHS player and plugged them into the car. We each picked out a few movies to take and POW, we had entertainment. Because looking out the window just wasn’t cutting it. We would take out the middle seat and three of us would sit on the bench, and the other three on the floor. This way everyone could see the TV. And if you were lucky enough to get the floor, you could take naps and stretch out. Pretty much illegal in every state, but back then no one cared.
Oh! I almost forgot a favorite game (not the ones my siblings would instantly think about, that will never be mentioned in public), “Counting Cows”! You divide the car into two teams. Each team would count as many cows as they could until you passed a graveyard. Then all your cows died (a little morbid if you ask me). This really sucked when we were going to Roanoke to see our grandparents and uncle and aunt. Because none of us could ever remember what side of the van the cemetery was on, and inevitably there was always a loser. Mike was always so good at not telling us either.
For dad it turned into the Mercury Villager minivan, and much to Jennette and my pleasure a reclining back seat. She and I would fall asleep all the time. The boys happily sat up front.
We did places like Savannah, GA, Myrtle Beach, SC, Pigeon Forge and Ober Gatlinburg, TN, Roanoke, VA, Washington DC, New York, NY, Erie, PA, and Niagara Falls. We even drove all the way to Canada one summer. More details on those to come.
We visited family, many sites, and my love for travel just grew and grew. So stay tuned.
P.S. I’ll find some pics to add to this later. My mom is not very good at sharing pictures. Love you mom!