My recent road trip south was happily uneventful but brought back memories of other trips that did not go quite as smoothly.
My travels back and forth on I-95 began when my father left us and moved to North Carolina. One year we flew but the other years we always traveled the highway.
We'll never forget the year that we rode in the back of the pickup truck. There was a cap on the back so we could spread out and move around in semi comfort and Dad didn't have to to listen to an unending chorus of, "Are we there yet!" Dad stopped when he needed gas and at the first stop we were shocked to find that one of the kittens from the farm had stowed away sitting on something in the engine compartment! I have no idea how he hung on or how he wasn't burnt from the heat of the engine but, no worse for wear, he made the rest of the trip in the back with us.
Shortly after my first marriage we traveled to North Carolina for a visit in another pickup truck. At that time I owned an orange Chevy stepside with a wooden bed and no cover on the back. On the trip home my step-sister joined us so she could visit her father for the summer. Worried about rain we placed all of our belongings in black garbage bags and tossed them into the bed of the truck. Knowing no other easy route, we took the Washington beltway. I'm not sure how many lanes wide the road was back in 1977 but it we found ourselves in the far left lane and suddenly cars were passing us and honking their horns like crazy and drivers were pointing back toward the bed of the truck. We looked back and smoke was pouring out the back behind us. There was no shoulder on our left so we had to manuver through traffic to get over to the right hand side. By then we could see flames! My step sister had thrown a gallon of distilled water in the bed for her contact lenses and we used that to put the fire out. She had gotten smoke in her eyes and needed to remove the lenses and now we had no water for her to use. I don't remember how we resolved that. The fire had started because someone had thrown a cigarette out their window and it landed on one of the garbage bags. I had a canvas cover made for the truck as soon as we got home.
There have been many other little glitches on our trips up and down the highway. We once drove a mini van with three kids to Florida and back. Let me tell you - once was enough! We didn't travel to Florida with them again until we could afford to fly. There was also the time that I flew to Florida at the time of my step-mother's death and then drove Dad to North Carolina for the funeral. It was January and an ice storm hit North Carolina just before we got there. The side roads were glare ice and I got stuck on the ice at one point and Dad told me I was an idiot and should not be allowed to have a commercial license. Ah, the joy of traveling with kids and Dad......