Winter 2012 Highway Tales - Time For A Road Trip
Off-Roading In Utah's Canyonlands
I don’t know if you’ve seen the obituaries lately, but the great American road trip has been slowly dying for a number of years. Those days when the family packed up the car and hit the road for a nice long vacation just doesn’t have the same appeal any more. Everyone is being pulled away in different directions and busy individual schedules make it difficult to get the family together for a meal, let alone two weeks on the road.
However, travel does seem to be getting a reprieve. Families who are tired of the hectic pace of life are looking to resurrect this time away, but travel in itself can be just as hectic as life at home. Motel rooms can be a real box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. They may not be clean, may not have enough towels, or who knows what else. Couple that with the ever-increasing restrictions and loss of liberty and privacy present in air travel, and it’s easy to see why air travel may not be the answer in itself. But, RV travel is rapidly gaining ground. RVers get to sleep in their own beds every night, have better control over their food supply, and are not subject to endless lines, delays, and searches. RV travelers are also finding out that it’s a less-expensive way to travel. In fact, studies have shown that a family of four can save up to 57 percent on vacation costs over other forms of travel. While the economy dealt a major blow to most everyone, the RV industry is quick to rebound and RV sales are proving to be a great way for families to leave the headaches behind and get out and enjoy life.
We recently took a four-week trip with our grandson, Preston. With the emphasis on electronic gear, today’s kids just don’t get involved in outdoor activities and that’s their loss. Recent studies show that 50 percent of generation Y would rather give up car ownership than give up their Internet access. Our grandson recently turned 8, and we felt that this would be the ideal time for us to get him out there to see this great country. We had been planning this for some time, and Preston had been looking forward to this trip with a great deal of excitement. So, this summer we packed up the motorhome and hit the road. We wanted to show him as much of the country as we could, but America is a big place so we decided to concentrate on the portions that he showed the most interest in. Naturally, no trip would be complete without a trip to Yellowstone, so we built our trip around that plus the fact that he wanted to go off-roading in the Jeep. We threw in the Black Hills, Grand Tetons, Canyonlands and Arches in Moab, and Colorado’s famed Jeep trails around Ouray. The end result was that Preston had a blast, and I’m sure that seeds are planted for his continued travel as he gets older.
I encourage all of you who have grandchildren to give them the chance to travel with you in your RV. We had a great time and got to see things we’ve seen before from a whole new perspective. We even felt younger on this trip, although part of that was Grandpa acting like a kid much of the time. The enjoyment we got was indescribable when Preston scratched his name on a huge snow bank on the Beartooth Highway in early July, as he screamed with laughter on the bumpy Jeep trails, as he walked amongst mountain goats and bighorn sheep on Mount Evans, and as we climbed the Needles in the Black Hills with him. The simple things, like the joy of waiting for the potato chip bag to explode as we neared 11,000 feet of altitude on the Beartooth Highway, will become a major event. We celebrated the Fourth of July in West Yellowstone. The parade was great, although the people throwing candy to the kids from the floats might have had something to do with that, as well. Watching the fireworks from on top of the motorhome helped round out the perfect day. These are memories that neither Preston nor we will ever forget.