The Roadtrip

I’ve traveled to many wonderful places including: Italy, Alaska and Hawaii. But, the trip I remember most fondly was made in 1983 in an old brown Dodge van. It had two brown captain seats, one bench on the side with a vinyl bed in the back, and an ice chest full of beer and Pepsi light. There were no reservations or plans in place as my soon-to-be husband and I grabbed some clothes, chips, beef jerky and left our responsibilities behind.

We decided to head south, but that wasn’t a huge surprise–with my love of Disneyland. Arriving in Anaheim we located a motel we could afford. It was a place to sleep that had a vibrating bed, what more could you ask for? Besides, the owners were so accommodating allowing you to pay either by the night or hour. (Yes, I made sure the room had been cleaned first…) The next morning, I woke-up early ready to go. Day one was Disneyland. We followed up with Universal Studios where we had a close-up experience with “Jaws” and the final day of amusement parks the western-themed Knott’s Berry Farm, where the water log ride was the high point.

Then, we decided to explore the area more. We spent a day at the beach, and made sure to see Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, (where I quickly found out how large my foot was compared to the stars) and took a tour of the stars houses. We were most excited to see where Lucille Ball lived being enormous “I Love Lucy” fans.

Heading south again towards San Diego we surprised a friend who graciously offered her couch to us for the night. We got a delicious Mexican dinner and a day at the San Diego Zoo. We ended our trek south splurging on a motel room with an ocean view. We were pretty impressed with ourselves at that point.

Finally, it was time to head north back to the Bay Area. We still had a couple of days left so we decided to forgo that boring Interstate Highway 5 drive through endless nothing and take the amazing Pacific Coast Highway (including a detour or two around mud slides). With the windows down and the salt air blowing in, I took in the breathtaking ocean scenery. We quickly learned restaurants were very obliging, even if they weren’t open yet, when you couldn’t find a bathroom along the way.

The first night we ended up in Morro Bay. We found an uncrowded parking lot that allowed camping and slept in the van next to the beach. We fell asleep to the sound of ocean waves and woke up when the sun lit up the inside of the van. Stepping outside with the ocean spread out in front of us, we found the beach was scattered with hundreds of sand dollars. I’ve never seen anything like that again and still have a sand dollar from the trip. After brushing our teeth and locating food we continued north. We stopped to explore a couple of beaches, admire the view, or feed tame squirrels.

It was getting dark as we pulled into our final and last night in Big Sur. We got lucky at a campground and found a spot to park and sleep in the redwoods. We equipped ourselves with marshmallows to roast around the campfire after finding an incredible burger joint. In the morning, we hiked around the grounds before reluctantly leaving our newly found paradise. We drove along the ocean’s edge until we arrived in Santa Cruz. Then, it was time to part ways with the mighty ocean and head back to our everyday lives.

Why am I reminiscing about a trip made years ago? Well, I’ve been thinking about the innocence I saw the world through then. Now, going on a trip is made through jaded eyes. I’m more guarded and plan things out, but I don’t want to lose that wonder– even if the world tells me otherwise. With a road trip planned this spring I realize the direction traveled doesn’t matter, nor does the vehicle– be it an old van or towing a long, long trailer. What’s important is to look through eyes filled with joy and wonder like I did 35 years ago—or embracing that inner child.




27 thoughts on “The Roadtrip”

    1. Thanks Mary:) I agree it is true living to do so! I can’t wait to see what the next adventure brings. Thanks for stopping by Mary!

    1. Thank you, Stacy:) I’m glad you liked it! It was an amazing experience that I want to remain open to in the future. I’m very glad you dropped by:)

  1. I’ve always wanted to take a rambling trip like that, Denise. It’s wonderful you have such special memories of that time. It sounds like it was a truly magical and adventurous experience!

    1. It was an amazing trip and I am ready to do it again:) It was one of those moments in life that I hope keerp coming.

  2. I loved this post Denise. It really made me smile! I can’t wait to hear about your latest trip now. It’s definitely worth embracing your inner child and exploring new places with an open mind.

    1. Thanks Lizzie! Glad it made you smile. Its harder exploring with that same open mind, but I am determined to:)

      1. It’s been a while since we’ve been back…I think its time for another road-trip there:)

  3. “What’s important is to look through eyes filled with joy and wonder like I did 35 years ago—or embracing that inner child.” How wonderful to have those memories, Denise. I have long wanted to visit Anaheim and of course ‘Disneyland. I too have some marvelous memories of the many trips I have taken, and still know the joy of experiencing the beauty waiting to be tasted. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  4. Thank you! It is a blessing to have those memories to look back on and look forward to! I am kind of a Disneyland nut–spent my 50th birthday there with family after they asked me what I wanted to do:) Hope you make it to Anaheim and all there is to see. Thanks for stopping by:)

  5. This is such an incredibly beautiful post, D.L. And, you are right. I wish we could never lose that wonder, free spirit and the connection to our inner child. Life has a way of knocking it out of us. But, nevertheless, it is still there and every once in a while, I find it. I can’t even imagine seeing hundreds of sand dollars on the beach. That alone would be a magical memory that would linger forever. Thank you SO much for taking us back in time on this road trip and reminding us of that beautiful free spirit that lives inside. Just beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Jan. I agree it is hard to hang on to that wonder with life coming along and knocking it out of us for a bit, but it’s never lost just forgotten. I’m glad it peeks out at us still:) Yes, waking up and seeing all those sand dollars on the beach was pretty amazing. I’m not even sure if I have a picture of it, but its forever in my memories. So glad you dropped by, Jan and that you enjoyed my reminiscing.

  6. What a wonderful trip, made all the better by having no responsibilities during that time, just freedom! My (now) hubby and I did something similar years ago, but we traveled across the northern plains to Washington State. And you’re right, now a trip like that is not as much fun. Maybe when the kids are gone we can do another road trip 😀 Thank you for sharing!

  7. Hi Julie!
    That sounds like a fun trip from the plains to Washington! We’ve gone up the coast into Oregon, but haven’t gone all the way to Washington–yet. There is definitely a lot to be said for no responsibilities of youth for sure, but with our empty nest now we are looking to recapture that again:! Thanks for dropping by:)

  8. Your trip sounds so much like the one my family and I took in the early 1950’s, except we traveled from San Diego up to San Francisco! My greatest memory is driving Highway 1 along the coast, stopping frequently to have one more view of the ocean or to play in the sand and surf for a while.
    It is good to have such memories, share them, and relive them in your mind. Wonderful post.

    1. I never took that drive as a kid that would have been fun:) I agree stopping and getting to enjoy that amazing view plus interacting with the ocean makes great memories. It is fun to go back to the good times:) So glad you dropped by Karen!

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