Thursday Thirteen: A 21st Century Road Trip


Today I am packing for a long weekend on the East Coast. I’ve done the drive dozens of time growing up and as a 20-something, but this pilgrimage to mecca, the state of my birth, the motherland that is New Jersay is a first for BgK and the children.  I got to thinking that this month marks 27 yrs for my parents as transplants to Indiana, and also the 27th anniversary of driving back and forth. Here are 13 things we’re taking tomorrow that my family didn’t have on that first trek:

1.) Airbags. Ok, we;re nit packing them, Dodge already packed them for us in the van we’re renting. Not an option on the ’76 Buick Skylark back in the day.
2.) A booster seat. By today’s standards, my brother probably should have been in one in 1981. MAM is in one now, so obviously, it’s hitting the road with us!
3.) An Ipod. The Buick had a lot of features, but only an AM/FM tuner. As a special surprise, my parents bought me and my brother tape recorders for the trip. This was before the popularity of Walkmans, so picture one of those heavy-duty dealios–needing 6 C batteries, and weighing more than any laptop today. We listened to Grease and Disco Mickey Mouse til the batteries were dead!
4.) An I-PASS for drive-through tolling. Mom and Dad had to actually stop the car and pay the attendant in Ohio.
5.) A GPS unit. Mom and Dad had to carry a cumbersome map!
6.) Bottled water, juice boxes, milk boxes. I have no memory of what we drank on the trip, but it certainly wasn’t any of those things. Of course, there were no cup holders, so maybe we only drank when we stopped?? I have no idea.
7.) A laptop (or two). Obviously, we’ll need the laptop…
8.) A digital camera (or two). Back in ’81, I believe it was 35mm all the way….
9.) A CellPhone (or two). Holy cow–can you imagine embarking on such a trip without a cell phone?
10.) A Radar Detector. Um, yeah….I think it was our job to look out for “bears”. (eventually we got a CB radio…who needs an Ipod when you’ve got truckers to listen to???)
11.) Portable DVD player. Watching a movie in the car? No way!! They could only do that on the Jetsons in 1981!
12.) Purell. The skankiness that is highway rest stops makes me ever so grateful for this fine modern invention. I think in 1981 all we had was soap…..
13.) A Flat Iron. Flat hair was so not the goal in 1981!
Happy Thursday Thirteen!
UPDATED: Comment #2 KILLS me!! Can anyone top it with another trip down road trip memory lane?!?!

5 Replies to “Thursday Thirteen: A 21st Century Road Trip”

  1. Our big trips were always made in the MOTOR HOME – complete with aqua and avacado shag carpeting and matching, floral curtains. Breaker, Break 1-9 – comin’ atcha! We LOVED our CB! And we went nowhere without our barf buckets. All four kids had a tendency toward weak stomachs/car sickness….. Ahhh – those were the days.

    Sad to say, I remember my dad asking mom to hand him a beer while driving to Florida…. I am glad some things have changed – now there’s more awareness of just how dangerous and wrong drinking and driving is!

  2. We (4 kids, 2 adults, occasionally a dog) traveled in station wagons, with toys, games (“Car Bingo!”), puzzles, books, snacks, pillows and blankets. We hopped over the backs of the seats, vying for what we thought was the best seat: front seat middle, middle seat window, way back seat window. Not only were there no car seats…we never, ever wore seat belts. And I’m pretty sure my dad drove at 70-80mph.

    I don’t remember any drinking and driving, but I do remember on one return trip, the brakes gave out just a block from home. Luckily, there was a cul-de-sac nearby, and we went around and around for what seemed like forever (probably 10 minutes) until the car slowed down enough to pull over. Or so my dad thought: I remember a pretty substantial SMACK into a parked car.

    The van is a wonderful idea. Travel is much safer now — if a bit boring. ;D

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