What Was The Best Family Road Trip You've Ever Taken?


Category:  Travel, Geography and Foreign Cultures

By:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  3 years ago  •  10 comments

What Was The Best Family Road Trip You've Ever Taken?

What Was The Best Family Road Trip You've Ever Taken?


I just read an article about family road trips, and it gave me the idea to write this article. 

Road trips are common in Canada and the USA, and most of us have taken at least a few.  But was there one memorable family road trip that was greater than all others.  Let's hear about it, with photos if you have any.  By a family road trip, I mean with your spouse and your kids. 

I've taken many road trips, but very few family ones.  With my wife alone I've driven in England and North Wales, from Toronto to past Quebec City to Montmorency Falls, and another with her to Provincetown Cape Cod.  When I was 16 I drove with my parents to Miami Beach, and other times with them to the Catskills and New York City, and to Washington D.C., and later on with friends I've driven to Chicago, to the Philadelphia Folk Festival, to the Newport Folk Festival, to the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife in Washington D.C., to the  Fox Hollow Folk Festival in upstate New York, to the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts, to Miami Beach, to New York City, Boston, Provincetown and Nantucket Island (partly a ferry boat trip in that case, of course).  I don't consider day trips to Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Detroit or anywhere in Ontario as road trips.


Although we did take a family road trip to see the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the very best road trip I ever had was a family road trip along the California coast road from as far north as Muir Woods north of San Francisco and then south as far as Long Beach.  My daughter was 16 and my son 12.  Unfortunately all the photos of that road trip are all back in storage in Canada, so I will have to describe it, and post a few photos from the internet of some of the outstanding experiences we had along the way. 


In 1990 we flew to San Francisco and at the airport rented a car, then drove north to the Muir Woods to see the Redwood Forest that Woody Guthrie wrote and sang about and we marveled at the giant redwoods, never having seen trees anywhere near that big, then back to San Fran cisco for a couple of days.  We went inside the WW2 Submarine that's docked at the wharfs and at Fisherman's Wharf I bought my iconic grey fisherman's cap (that I wore in cold weather for about 25 years until it disintegrated) and took a tour of Alcatraz.  We stayed in a really pleasant Bed & Breakfast there, and then continued down the coast road, checked out the University of California at Santa Cruz, then on to Monterey where we viewed its famous aquarium and drove along the scenic 17 Mile Drive past Pebble Beach in order to take a photo of the famous Lone Cyprus.


I'm embarrassed to tell you what happened there.  When we left the car to go look at the tree, I locked the car doors, leaving the keys in the ignition.  Without a phone, we had to ask tourists in another car to please contact the police on their way out to come and help us.  The police did come eventually, pushed a thin steel bar down the window to unlock the car, and we then stayed overnight in Monterey.  


Continuing past Big Sur we stopped to see Hearst Castle at San Simeon (with Citizen Kane in mind).  That was an amazing place.  I recall seeing sea lions frocking just off the coast there.  We then found a place to stay in San Luis Obispo.  Next day we continued to Santa Barbara where we ate lunch.  If I remember correctly, there was a lot of Spanish styled architecture there, and then we continued all the way to Los Angeles.  We had a place to stay there, a Toronto movie actor client who was also a long-time good friend had given me the keys to his place in West Hollywood.  In L.A. we took in some usual tourist sites, Rodeo Drive, Universal Studios Theme Park where the most memorable thing I can recall is the "Jaws" shark.  I'll never forget the great pancake restaurant in the Farmers Market. 


From L.A. we drove down the coast to Long Beach where we toured the Queen Mary that was docked there.  I had never been on a cruise and for me it was a claustrophobic experience in its hallways so ever since I've never wanted to go on a cruise.  Then back to the airport at L.A. for a flight back to Toronto.  The best family road trip we ever took.


Now, what about you?  Can you describe YOUR best family road trip?  If you can, add photos.


jrDiscussion - desc
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1  author  Buzz of the Orient    3 years ago

Let's hear all about YOUR best family road trip, with photos if possible.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2  author  Buzz of the Orient    3 years ago

Hasn't anyone else ever taken a family road trip? 

Professor Participates
2.1  Snuffy  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    3 years ago

My family never did.  We took some Sunday afternoon drives but never a road trip.  Vacations were spent either as a week on the Mississippi River or by plane travel to FL.

Paula Bartholomew
Professor Participates
2.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    3 years ago

I was afraid to take road trips as a kid.  I believed they would return without me.

Professor Guide
3  Dulay    3 years ago

No pictures but my best was the 'drive about' we did from Palo Alto, CA to LA and back. We were to meet my girlfriend's family for a reunion in SoCal. 

We were in my 1978 Volvo Station Wagon and camped all the way [almost]. 

We went from the south bay across to Tahoe/Reno and camped at the DL Bliss Campground on Lake Tahoe. The next day we visited one of our oldest friends in Reno. She showed us the sights, we played and partied and left the next morning for Mohave, CA. We took the eastern desert route and happily drove past many a pricey car overheated on the road. My Volvo had no air but I had put a double coat of UV blackout film on all but the windshield. In tank tops, shorts and flip flops, we had no issues that a cold beer and good shower wouldn't solve.  

As we came out to the valley, the wind got stronger and stronger, and when we pulled into the campground, sand was blowing horizontally. I made the call to go back into Mohave and get a hotel room. After that beer and shower I mentioned, I looked out at the parking lot and my Volvo was rocking like mad from the wind. I can't imagine how we would have fared in a tent. 

We woke up to a clear blue day and bummed around a couple of hours and we were off to Santa Monica and Leo Carillo State Park. Wow what a beautiful place. 

So we set up for the long hall because unlike everyone else coming to the family reunion, we were going to camp the whole week while everyone else was in hotels in LA LA land. We went on a hike and watched the sun go down over the ocean that night. 

The next day we were all invited to Uncle Funny's house for dinner and drinks. While the vast majority of us were working stiffs, he was a Doctor in LA and lived in Bel Air. Yes, THAT Bel Air. We had prepared for this and packed some 'Sunday go to meetin' jeans and nice shirts. Hell, I even had a vest!. But we made the mistake of rolling them up in a pack instead of hanging them up. So off we went to find an iron. No luck after asking all of the campsites around us. While we were at the showers, a nice hippy couple was there bathing their kids. Kind of as a joke I asked the guy if they had an iron and he DID! They practically had to empty out their whole RV but they found it and saved us from looking like bums. We drove down to Bel Air to Uncle palatial home. Almost everything was WHITE. Rugs, furniture, walls, EVERYTHING! We stayed outside on the terrace as much as possible because we were afraid to spill something or burn something or break something. We actually had a great time though. After getting back to our campsite, we ended the day with warmed brandy and a joint. 

The next event was Disneyland, something neither of us was looking forward to. We met the family buses in the parking lot and spent the whole day there. There were 16 kids and they actually made it a lot of fun. We schlepped the gaggle from ride to ride and ate way too much junk and had a grand old time. The elders among us picked a central spot and ended up sitting in the shade and talking about 'back in the day', sharing old stories from Alabama and Chicago. That night we were joined at the campgrounds by my girlfriend's LA cousins who slept in their cars in the two sites next to ours to save them for the next day. 

The next day was the grand finally, the family picnic. At about 10 AM, the family buses and 4 cars pulled in and out poured the family. My girlfriend's dad grabbed a folding chair, came over to our campsite to watch the festivities. The men took all of the picnic tables, put them end to end and set up 4 more long folding tables and then the women took over. FOOD! Tons of food was unloaded from the buses. Two BBQ's and the fire rings were lit and the beer started to flow. Dominos and cards and jump ropes and horse shoes came out and the party was ON! The last car left at 10PM.

We spent the next day, July 4th just lying on the beach. That night we could see the fireworks from towns all the way to LA. It was a fitting end to our time in SoCal. 

Then we were off to NorCal again. We drove up Highway 1 along the ocean. When we hit south of Santa Cruz, we hit wildfires. It took 2 hours to get through for a total 11 hour drive.

We ended the trip with a warm brandy and a joint in front of the fire. 

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
3.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Dulay @3    3 years ago

A GREAT story, Dulay.  My first laugh of the morning, you made me laugh right out loud with the bleached Bel Air house part.  It made me think of the parents' home of a good friend of mine back in Toronto that was all white inside, and all covered in clear plastic.  LOL

Professor Principal
4  Kavika     3 years ago

The year after I retired in 2006 Red and I went on an extended road trip (4 1/2) months pulling a 32 foot 5th wheel. We left Henderson NV and headed up to Utah where we went to a number of the national parks, then up to Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming spending time in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. Then up into Canada crossing at Sweetgrass Montana. After a week or so of wandering around the area back into Idaho and spending time in Sand Point and Coeur d' lane, over to Eastern Washington making our way to the Seattle and the coast spending time on the Islands for a couple of weeks. Back south and into Eastern Oregon and smallmouth bass fishing on the John Day river, what a great time that was. We then headed over to the coast and spend a couple of weeks in and on the sand dunes of the Oregon Coast. 

Then headed down the coast into northern California, Smith River visiting friends and rellies and fishing then heading east across California to the upper Klamath River where we spend another couple of weeks again visiting rellies and visiting the sites there that I had not seen in a few years, Lava Beds park, Mount Shasta, McCloud River etc. Left there and headed south down I-5 to the Sacramento Delta for another couple of weeks of boating and fishing and visiting some old stomping grounds. 

After the Delta we headed back home across the Tehachapi mountains into Barstow Ca and I-15 home to Henderson. 

That was the short version of a 4 1/2 month road trip. 

We have a lot of photos but as usual the old type, non-digital. 

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
4.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @4    3 years ago

That wasn't just a road trip, that was being Nomadland.  You HAVE to get yourself a printer/copier/scanner all-in-one so we can all see the treasures you must have among your photos.

Professor Principal
4.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.1    3 years ago

Thanks, I keep saying that I'll get some of the best ones converted, someday...


Who is online

26 visitors