QotW: What’s your favorite childhood road trip memory?

The holiday season is upon us, and that means a lot of traveling to visit family and friends. Some of our earliest experiences of automotive adventures are sitting in the back of the family station wagon, in the days before seat belt laws, and going on what seemed like never-ending car rides across states to visit relatives. Perhaps the prevalence of screens on such drives might be one reason why the younger generation has less interest in cars, but in the days before smart phones or headrest-mounted screens we looked for cool cars in interstate traffic and alphabets in road signs to keep ourselves occupied. Studying mom and dad operate the controls and buttons on the dash gave us an appreciation for the machinery. These were good times.

What’s your favorite childhood road trip memory?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Why aren’t there more good looking cars?“.

The lack of beauty in car design sure is a head scratcher. Most of the answers from last week tended to put the blame on regulations, but we don’t buy that answer 100 percent. All carmakers are subject to the same regulations, but some companies (Mazda, mostly) can churn out great-looking cars that aren’t overly busy.

Jay S attributed it to the laws of physics and the fact that cars are all converging on the aerodynamic ideal, which makes sense. Mike P. says it’s just cyclical, and trends will come back around to good design. Fred Langille ascribed it to the state of the world. MikeRL411 pointed a finger at the fact that all designers learn on the same software.

The winner this week was Clay, who made a keen observation along those lines that is also completely true. Car designers can are artists, yet somehow they all end up dressing the same:

I was kind of disappointed a few years ago when there was a big meeting of designers from several manufacturers and they all showed up wearing black. Lack of imagination?

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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6 Responses to QotW: What’s your favorite childhood road trip memory?

  1. Fred Langille says:

    I was seven when we … Mom, Dad and I … went on a trip to San Antonio, TX from Groton, CT to visit Dad’s Mom, who had never met Mom and I. So, we piled into our new 1955 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door post sedan (which we kept until he passed away in 1964, after which my buddy and I restored it … wish I had it now). Back then, a cross country trip was a real adventure and, even though it took only four days … plus staying a week (Dad was a Chief Gunner’s Mate in the USCG at the time, retiring in 1959) either way. While the trip was OK, despite a non-AC car. What made it memorable was that prior to leaving I had entered a model building contest and, with Dad’s help (he laid out the plans and showed me how to do it … no, it WASN’T a car model but, a JN-4 Jenny WW1 2-seat airplane!). Entering just in time, we left on our trip and came back to find that I had won in my age group 7-10! I was lauded in the local paper, given my prize (a 3-speed bicycle that took me 2 years to ride). The model still exist as it’s in the HQs of what was Keds sneakers … the model had to be built from a Keds shoebox. I’d like to see it or, even get it back but, it’s in “storage” … probably like the warehouse where the Holy Grail is stored in “Indiana Jones”.

  2. MWC says:

    What a topic! So many memories, non of them “favorite” LOL!! As the younger brother in the back of the Malibu Estate Wagon, all my road trips involved some kind of torture from my older brother! One of his favorites was finding new ways to hide snakes that he found at the road-side rest stops, and then throwing them on me when we were up to speed again. boy, Mom and Dad loved that one as well.
    To add a JNC angle, lets FF 25 years, i got my trusty 80 series TLC and i am taking the family (wife, 3 sons) on an 9000 mile continental epic road trip – from up here in Canada’s Prairies, straight through the Rockies, hit a few logging trails for off-road adventure. then straight down the PCH to take my son to football camp at SDSU, Sea World, SD Zoo, then down to Baja Mexico, back up to White Sands NM to see the Trinity site…the AC broke, i got ripped off by a local shop in CA…we kept going for 3 weeks – it was a good time…

  3. f31roger says:

    When I was a kid, we had a 1983 Honda CVCC (MT too!). My mom couldn’t drive manual, so my dad was always driving us.

    While it doesn’t seem like a big deal now, when I was younger, we lived in Olympia, WA and there wasn’t much there. So once a month on a Friday or Saturday night, we would go to Seattle.
    80s Seattle was so different and more exciting to see.

    But we would go to the Waterfront and Pikes Place market, eat at Ivar’s (I loved the deep fried clam) and just drive around.

    My dad eventually traded the CVCC in for a Brand new 93 civic DX hatchback (was my high school car)


  4. Mike P. says:

    1979, driving from Chicago to Oklahoma to start college with my best friend, he and I driving his family’s VW bus while our parents rode together in my dad’s Corona wagon… starting adulthood (hah!) and enjoying the road.
    The beauty of the bus was being able to switch drivers on the fly– so much room in the front driver’s area! Of course our parents did not learn about that maneuver until much later…

  5. nlpnt says:

    When I was a kid my aunt worked for the Lake Champlain ferries and had a free pass on them for herself, her car and anyone in it. For a few years while her TE71 wagon was on loan to another aunt who was dealing with cancer, Aunt Betty wheeled an old, gigantic Chrysler Town & Country. One time when cousins visited about 12 of us piled in, at least 6 adults and the rest kids, to go to Ausable Chasm. Of course we were only all in the car for the short hop from my grandmother’s house on Flynn Ave in Burlington to the King St. ferry docks, and again from Port Kent to the Chasm on the NY side. All us kids and most of the adults got out on the boat!

  6. Michael K. says:

    Back in the day on long trips my brothers and sisters and I would play around in the cargo area of our Datsun 310 wagon as Dad drove. Somehow the space seemed huge. None of us were ever buckled in, yet somehow we all lived to tell the tale.

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