One of my favorite things to do is a road trip with an adult daughter. She had wanted to make a career change and needed to complete a second B.Sc. degree at a local college, so I welcomed her home. Her cats prowled the basement, her clothes hung in the guest room closet, but I knew her stay was a time-limited event. Other years we’d traveled as far as China and Tibet together, but at this moment in time I wanted to take her on an old-fashioned U.S. road trip to celebrate our friendship.
In contemplating a road trip with a person half your age, there are several really daunting issues. How much faster and longer can she take the events of each day? Will keeping up do me in for good? Will she feel restless? Will I slow her down too much? Will we enjoy the same things? And the biggest question of all . . . . .
How do we make the best use of our energies and resources?
Years ago I had visited her during her summer job at the Mt. Rainier resort in the Cascade Range in Washington. We had both wanted to explore the area more than our time together allowed that summer. Remembering that lovely experience, we agreed on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest.
We inaugurated the first day’s long drive with junk food at 10 AM. Our hearts were light, we knew it was silly, but in a way it signaled our defiance of past roles. The act seemed to be my way of saying to her, “We’re finally equals on life’s journey. I respect your maturity.”
Perhaps it was her signal to me, “I waive your advice to avoid eating junk food. I’ve been an adult for some time now and I can choose.”
But the biggest agreement the road trip signaled for us was the belief that our friendship was strong enough to survive ten days in close proximity.
We spent the first night in the high desert town of Bend, Oregon, which I think is very beautiful. After twelve hours in the car, we were eager to stretch our legs. We were also ready for a seafood supper and happened on McGrath’s Fish House near closing time. Fortunately, they still had a couple of bowls of clam chowder left in the kitchen. Equally good fortune, our waiter knew the area as only a local can, and gave us generous tourist-tips.
Incidentally, we picked up the Mile-by-Mile Guide to Highway 101 at our motel, which we found very helpful for the remainder of the trip (even though we were driving north along the coast and it is written from north to south).