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Date & time Sep 5
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Road Trips and Electronic Isolators

Sacramento is about to enter its first stretch of 100 degree days thereby announcing the onset of summer. I driving south later this week for business and pleasure. California is a great place to live because it is so big and geographically diverse. Well, it long to be exact, but not terribly wide. I am going north to south so I going long wise on this trip. It makes me think of my childhood when my family would trek northward in the opposite direction.

My family used to make the trip along this same highway each summer when I was a kid. We had a Dodge station wagon. My two brothers and I would ride in the back seat without seat belts and with the windows open most of the time. In van cleef replica clover necklace those days air conditioning wasn common in cars. Of course it was good manners to close the windows when our parents needed to light a cigarette.

The air rushing through the car allowed us to smell the crops and the farm animals along the way. We'd race to roll up the windows by hand when the stink was strong. We play games like auto bingo with little cards where we had to find things like out of state license plates to cover the squares. We'd watch the freight trains for the hobos and wave at the guys in the caboose who'd wave back. We sing songs like Old Man or listen to the AM radio and sing the latest hits by the Beatles or the Mommas and the Papa's. We close the windows so that my mother could read the map for my father. Somehow, she always win the battle to get it folded again. She clean his sun glasses for him too which I thought was extraordinarily helpful.

Stops for gas were always brief. Back in those days nobody pumped their own gas. Guys in uniforms came to the car and washed the windshield with squeegees and smiled at us kids. They check the oil, like you a quart low sir should I add a can for you? They even check the pressure in the tires and fill the burlap water bag hanging in front of the radiator and replace the cork carefully in the spout. All that for about 32 copy van cleef and arpel clover necklace cents a gallon if there wasn a gas war on; then the price would drop to 25 cents. Sometimes the gas station owners gave us things for filling up like green stamps or a dish.

My grandmother who we called always sent along a cardboard box. The box contained a series of packages to be opened on certain dates that were written on them. Inside were candies and little games. I suppose that was Nanny way of being on the trip with us. She would not have liked the camping much I don think, Nanny was always very proper. There weren any cell phones then so nobody back home expected to hear from us except maybe a post card. They had to wait for black and white pictures from our Brownie cameras and maybe super 8mm Kodak movies. We had to remember the things we did because everyone back home would want to hear the stories.

I wonder at how my brothers and I passed the time without dvd movies, video games, or IPODS. We read comics and books, we played games and sang and watched the scenery go by. We had hours to just sit and think and ask, "How much farther?" We had time to imagine the fun we were going to have. We talked and laughed and argued, and sometimes got a smack if we weren behaving. But in those days on vacation we were together in the car on an adventure, we weren traveling within our own little electronic matrix desperately hoping that the journey ended before the batteries ran low.

There was a television commercial recently selling family vans. The mother is shown driving up in her new van and the father and the kids all have to leave what they are doing individually to get into the van and go for a ride. At the end of the commercial, the three kids are sitting in the back of fake van cleef and arpels necklace clover the parked van together with large rear door open. The girl says to the smallest boy, not so bad Billy to which he replies I thought to myself how awfully sad it is if anyone sees that as their family reality and can laugh about it; how equally sad that an advertiser thought it was funny at all.

The basic idea is the simple value of traveling together as a family. Being locked up together for hours, forced to interact, forced to sit down, forced to behave. There is something positive in a long car journey for families if they leave all the electronic isolators at home.

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