Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Road Trip with the Dale Girls! Part One.

Here's my idea of a vacation:
A week on a beach. A week on a cruise ship. Or a week at home, doing nothing.

Here, apparently, is my parents' idea of a vacation:
A week in a car with four little girls. Then several weeks at a relative's house. Then another week in the car with the same four little girls, newly energized by their fun vacation.

I know, it sounds more like "torture" than "vacation." But at the time, for the four little girls, it was exciting! whoopee! who-needs-relaxing-let's-go!!!

Before we can even discuss the itinerary, let's look at the planning process.

Since this was the 1960's, there was no MapQuest.com. You had to actually call AAA and request maps, Trip-Tiks and Tour Books. Then you had to drive to AAA, stand in line, wait while they searched for your stuff, take it all home, and pore over it for weeks and weeks.

Believe it or not, this was great fun!!! Especially the Tour Books!!!

Since we were traveling from Connecticut to Florida, we got approximately 8 different Tour Books, which described the hotels in each city in incredible detail. (If you've been paying close attention, you're probably thinking "It takes a week to drive from Connecticut to Florida??" I'll explain in another post.)

So anyway, we have these Tour Books, one for each state, which equates to two for each exuberant little Dale Girl. Each Tour Book was approximately a million pages long. And each page required exhaustive research.

"Hey Dad! There's a Howard Johnson's in Schenectady with FREE breakfast for kids!!! AND a pool!!! AND magic fingers!!!"

... side note about magic fingers ... in this day and age, it sounds vaguely obscene, but magic fingers was a coin-operated vibrating bed. That still sounds obscene. Really, it wasn't. You just put the coin in and bounced up and down, alternating loud laughter with "AAAAAH" sounds that came out all wiggly because, of course, you were bouncing up and down. Loads of fun.

Being helpful, cooperative and extremely detail-oriented children, the four of us folded down pages, highlighted hotel entries, and made long lists of all the Howard Johnson's along the way and other hotels in random locations, with double-stars for pools which of course were SUPER exciting!!!

"Hey Dad! There's a FIVE-diamond hotel in New York City! There's a pancake buffet in Valdosta! There's a kids pool AND an adult pool in Savannah! Hey Dad! Hey Dad! DadDadDad!"

"Where did Dad go?"

"I dunno."

"Hey Mom! Hey Mom! MomMomMom!"

To be continued.

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