Gypsy's Travels

Sunday, February 10, 2008

From the Memory Box - Trips to Oklahoma

Drawn from the Memory Box:

Trips to Oklahoma
Blue Lady
Yellow Dot
Running around the car at roadside parks
Welch's soda

My parents lived in Oklahoma for several years, about an 8 hour drive from our house after we moved back to the U.S. Eight hours can be a daunting time with three young children, but we made the trip 2-3 times each year to visit them.

"It is so much easier for you to come visit us that for us to drive down to visit you," my mother said.

"For whom?" I answered, but she had moved on.

After the fourth child arrived, we could no longer fit everyone into our little, blue Volvo. We had to take two cars. This meant I could no longer catch up on my sleep all the way to Oklahoma; I had to drive. I drove the blue Volvo station wagon; DH drove the yellow Datsun pick-up. Loaded to the gills, we began our journey, DS in the yellow truck with his dad, the three girls in the blue car with me.

CB's (Citizen Band Radios) were the rage at this time and fit our purposes exactly. We had a radio for each car which made it relatively easy to keep one another informed and made sure we remained together during the trip. Talking on the CB required the use of a different language, at least in concept. It was difficult for us to transmit over the radio because we knew there was a whole world out there just listening. We were such neophytes and the strange codes of the airway were foreign to us. Nevertheless, if we wanted to communicate, we had to join in.

First, we coined our "handles," the names by which we would be known on the air. On past trips, listening to the CB to monitor traffic, weather, locations of the "Fuzz" (police), and just to while the miles away, we would attempt to match the "handles" to the cars and trucks sharing the road. I don't think it would have been difficult to match us up to our "handles" - "Blue Lady" for me in the blue station wagon and "Yellow Dot" for DH in the yellow Datsun. Not really innovative but adequate for our purposes.

Since the baby, DD#3, was still nursing every three hours, we added that time onto our travels - potty stops, gas stops, feeding stops, and one meal stop. We made a concentrated effort to combine some of the activities, but the eight hour trip morphed into 12 hours. As the children became more and more restless, I decided they needed to run off some energy. Every time they became too unruly, we stopped and made them run laps around the cars. I started with 10 laps. If they were still feisty and energetic, I added more. I don't know if it was terribly effective but it made me feel better and I got a brief rest.

I had to ask DD about the Welch's soda because I didn't remember it since they were seldom allowed to have soda or sugared drinks. She said I would buy Welch's fruit juice and water it down so the four of them could share it as a treat. That sounds like something I would do and probably accounts for the fact that they all water down their children's fruit juice now.

We all enjoyed our visits to the ranch in Oklahoma, where the children could run free and not get into too much trouble. Over the years we traveled the roads many times, later allowing the older children to invite their friends. One year a teen age girl from Italy who stayed with us for a while, put the trip into perspective. She had lived in the Lake Como region of Italy all her life so even travel out of town would be a relatively short distance. Three hours into our journey to Oklahoma, I heard her quietly ask "Does the road never end?"

Indeed, the road does, but the journey does not.


  1. Are we there yet? I can remember that being said by our girls so often. We then got them to concentrate on collecting cars license plates from different states. All without AC.

  2. It's not the destination; it's the journey.

  3. From the time D#1 was less than a year old, we camped out throughout the Southwest, visiting: Ruin's, Pictograph's, Petroglyph's, Reservation's and lots of natures wonders. As this was a yearly event, it meant nothing to them at that time, but years later when they became adults they remembered and appreciated our trips more often. Now C8 thinks I should take her out but I know if I had to crawl into a tent at night, I'd not be able to get out in the cold morning.


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