On Being a Roadtripping ROW

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I’m used to driving. I went to college about 4 hours north of where my family lived at the time, so once a month or so, I’d make the drive south to see my parents and sisters. I always looked forward to the drive — I could think, if I wanted to, or not think. And just … drive … through the winding hills and hollers of Virginia, down into the pine forests and sand hills of North Carolina.

I forgot to mention that Tim lived in North Carolina, too. He was stationed at the same Army post as my dad. We wrote cards and notes, talked endless hours on the phone. I even updated him when I was going to and from class, to and from work, to and from sorority meetings and social events (his girlfriend on a college campus made him a little nervous, though he probably won’t admit it). When we figured out that our relationship was “going somewhere,” one of us was always driving. Okay, so he did most of the driving, but I certainly did my fair share of it, too.

Driving, it seems, is a part of us, who we are as individuals, and who we are as a couple. When we started our married life in California, Tim worked in Nevada, and I’d drive to stay with him for a few days, every now and again. He drove there, and home, every 7 days. In his truck, you’d find mix CDs (from me), pictures of us, and notes I wrote him on any scrap of paper I could find at the time. In my car, mix CDs (from him), pictures of us, and “Bucket, I love you’s” scribbled on napkins. When his work moved farther away — first to Utah, then to Alaska — much of my own driving stopped, but I’ve never minded being in the car. We’d take weekend trips to Lake Tahoe, day-trips to San Francisco, anniversary trips to the rocky coast.

Even our two year-old, Maile, doesn’t mind being in the car. Though we now live in Colorado, we still drive … an hour south to meet new friends, in person. Four hours southwest, for a stunning new camping spot. Two hours northwest, for neon-hued autumn Aspen leaves. And Tim drives … 11 hours to work. There and back. Every few weeks. Like clockwork. The drive is part of us, of our family.

We recently took Maile on a road trip to see my parents, who live in the quaintest Iowa town. And we have dreams of the Grand Canyon, Highway 101, and Canada’s great northwest expanses. I can imagine the memories being made, finding new, tucked away towns. “We should open a market here,” we always say. “The best pancakes you’ve ever had,” we’ll tell our family and friends. To us, the drive is more than just so many hours in the car to harrumph and groan about, it’s being together.

Are you a fan of road trips? I’d love to read about your experiences, and your favorite places. Send me a tweet! I’m ready to start planning for next summer!

You can also see some amazing photos of this beautiful country in our new blog series, Western Wanderlust.

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About Katie

Katie lives in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where she raises her sweet daughter, Maile, who just turned two! Katie has been married to the love of her life for going on 6 years; every one of those years as a roughneck wife. The family also includes two spaniels, a very persnickety old cat, and two aquatic frogs. Katie spends most of her time reading books with her little one, going down the slide at the park 10,000 times, painting and playing pretend, and dreaming of growing all her own food. You can also find her at her family lifestyle blog, See You There.

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