July 15, 2024

Trekking Tailgater: Ode to the Family Truckster

Summer is gone and so too is family vacation season.  Road trips are halted for now until it is time to pile in the car again for holiday season. This got me to thinking about the numerous hours spent in our family vehicle, and all the shenanigans that happened in it or to it.

As the youngest of five boys (think Brady Bunch but all boys and me, the one joint kid), we obviously needed a large vehicle. Back in my day, that was a station wagon. A 1978 Sky Blue Chevrolet Impala station wagon to be exact. Purchased new the year I was born, it was our family vehicle until 1987. So, as you can imagine, it saw a lot of things.

There was the time we spilled an entire gallon of milk on the back seat floorboard (not my fault), and the time we picked up a turtle alongside the road only to have it promptly pee on the front passenger floorboard (also not my fault). There was a hole in the back of the driver’s headrest from a teething baby (my fault and nevermind that I was not in a car seat as that was normal back then). I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times that I was clotheslined by my mother when the brakes were slammed. 

You see, that car went a lot of cool places over the years. Yellowstone, Hilton Head, Table Rock Lake, and so on.

At Yellowstone, we made my oldest brother get out with the packs of other tourists to take pictures of the wildlife.  He got picked because he was a sub 50 sec 400m runner. We figured he could outrun everyone else if something went awry. 

Driving to Hilton Head, we had to stop and pick up GIANT pine cones.  We’re talking garbage bags full because my mom wanted to make Christmas decorations out of them.  This was also the trip where saying “I’m bored” became code for “I need to pee.”  I’ve probably seen at least half of the rest areas between Missouri and South Carolina.

The thing is, a lot of crazy things that happened didn’t happen on these trips. They happened on the everyday grocery store runs and trips to my older brother’s ball games.

My family now is spread out all over the country. The boys are now in Hawaii, Washington, Iowa, Missouri, and Virginia. We don’t have a ton of opportunities to all be in one place often. When we are, though, these ridiculous stories in the car frequently come up. 

My first article was about a grand adventure in Portland. I hope you read it and enjoyed it. That said, I wanted to remind you with this one that not all trekking is grand but can make great memories regardless. Spend time with your families and friends in a car. Engage in stupid road games. My personal favorite was freeze out.  Just roll all the windows down in the winter and drive.  First person to quit loses. My mother always lost, as she lays under a blanket when it’s 85 degrees.

Point is, enjoy your time with people you care about, even if it is just a trip to the store (as I do now bumping 90’s music with the windows down to embarrass my daughter).  Someday it may be a lot harder to do.  

Until next time happy trucking/trekking.

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Aaron Wall 28 Articles
Aaron is an Iowa State graduate in Exercise and Sports Science. A published poet and once told by the dean of Iowa State's Liberal Arts college to pursue creative writing, he is still probably the least qualified contributor at The Tailgate Society. With less than 100 followers on twitter and no insta, snap, or tick tock you can probably guess that he is ancient. Also a certified curmudgeon by his wife.

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