Photo: Barbara Jenkins

Thinking Back on the First of Many Road Trips

By Barbara Jenkins

When I was a child, my family’s summer vacation—our only vacation of the year—involved a seven-plus hour car trip to B.C., often to Shuswap Lake. Before we left, Mom would clean the house from top to bottom while Dad and us kids loaded up our Dodge Polara. My parents and one of the four children took the front seats; Gran and the three remaining kids were in the back. 


I don’t recall wearing seatbelts, and we certainly didn’t have movies—or even music! Instead, we relied on comic books, a treat specially chosen and saved to read until we were on the road. After making sure everyone had used the bathroom, my dad would turn the key and we were off. Very soon after, the refrain began: “Are we there yet?”

AMA member Jim Spalding tells us about all the effort and reward surrounding his first car.


At some point, we’d stop for the picnic lunch Mom had packed. We’d sip Kool-Aid from Thermoses (coffee for the grownups). There was no stopping at Tims—partly due to lack of locations, but mostly because Dad did not want to stop. Having managed to pass several semis, he didn’t want to risk falling behind them again while we responded to Mother Nature’s call. 

Today, I look back fondly on those simpler times when we didn’t have everything a person could want. We made vacation memories before even reaching our destination. Without gadgets and technology, we played games, belted out tunes and actually talked to one another—after we finished our comics, of course!

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