50 years ago…

My Mom did something epic.

50 years ago she loaded her three boys — ages 15, 8 and 4 — into a station wagon and drove to California and back. We slept in a tent nearly every one of the 62 nights. We endured tornados, poison ivy and car sickness. We traversed the new interstates and the old two-lane byways that stitched the country together. We met up with Dad for our west coast swing and visited Mom’s friends all over the place. We ate local; there were no Taco Bells or Steak’n’Shakes at every off-ramp in those days. No Walgreens, ATMs or urgent care clinics. We survived without the internet, cell phones, DVDs and Xboxes.

We talked and didn’t talk the entire way. We fished, swam, played and hiked, and discovered the world up close and with all our senses.

For the past few years the world has been looking back to the 60s to observe 50 years since JFK and the Beatles, Vietnam and the Summer of Love, MLK and RFK, and so many other historic milestones. For me, this was a major milestone, worthy of observance.

Over the next 62 days, I’ll be recounting Roadtrip ’69 using Mom’s diary (with her permission), family photos and found art, period maps and guidebooks, along with some personal insights and recollections.

It’s an adventure I’ll never forget, even if I don’t remember very much of it. It had a huge impact on our Family and my life.

I asked her recently: Why did you do it. Her answer: “I wanted to go to California.”

And so she did.