More than a decade ago, I was a law student. One spring break during law school, I flew out to San Francisco to visit a friend. We had decided to rent a car (convertible of course) and road trip to Las Vegas for a long weekend. The rental car place gave two young ladies a bright yellow mustang convertible and turned us out onto the open road. We took the scenic route, down the Pacific Coast Highway and then east, over mountains, through valleys, and into the desert. I remember being so excited to go through the Tehachapi Pass because it was mentioned in On the Road, the Jack Kerouac classic. My exposure to the geography of the west was extremely limited so I was blown away by the scenery. Accordingly, my reaction to the bright blue water of a valley reservoir, surrounded by perfectly rounded mountain peaks, made me realize that I had not seen enough of the country beyond the east coast. To this day, even though I fondly remember those few days in Vegas, my most vivid memories of that trip were of the hours we spent on the road, taking it all in.
Today, I thought of that San Fran-to-Vegas trip as I drove from one work meeting to another in Los Angeles. I decided to take a scenic route that went through the Malibu Canyon and then down that trusty PCH (albeit it a bit farther south than where I’d last driven it). I felt that same sense of wonder as I drove along-side canyons and when I saw the bright blue Pacific ocean as I came over the final crest and out of the mountains. The difference between that last trip and this one was that my first thought was about how much I wanted Charlie to see these beautiful sights too.
My husband and I have talked a lot about how we hope to take lots of family road trips. For all the love my family held for this great country, my brother and I didn’t see much of it until we were out of the house as adults. I’m hoping that Charlie will have the advantage of seeing this great country – on the road with us, marveling at the beauty of it all, and remembering the road more than anything else.