Something the Jones family does exceptionally well is car trips.
As long as I can remember, we have driven cross-country. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break, we drive out to Vermont to see my mom’s side. 4th of July, we drive out to New York to see my grandmother. At least twice a year, we drive up to northern Indiana to visit my dad’s side (and four hours seems perfectly reasonable after driving seventeen so regularly).
These road trips are no small feat, and as we continue to grow, they remain relatively impressive. In the back, we have the four Jones teenagers, two of whom are six feet plus. Mom and Dad sit in front, somewhat removed from our chaos. In the way back, we have our four-leggeds: most recently, this has consisted of our dogs Manny, Lexi, and Vinny, who range from one hundred pounds to twelve pounds, and my youngest brother’s pet tortoise, Mo.
There are a whole host of Jones family car ride stories, but one of the best is the following:
I was in fourth or fifth grade, and we were driving to Vermont for Christmas. We had three dogs at that point: a bulldog named Sarge (the epitome of a “female dog”), a sixteen-year-old deaf and half-blind terrier named Dilly, and my dog, a terrier named Snowflake. Historically, we would leave my grandparents’ house in northern Indiana around noon, because the drive to Vermont from Indiana is right about seventeen hours. All of us kids would sleep through the night, wake up, and find ourselves about an hour from Vermont. When we arrived, Mom and Dad would collapse, exhausted, and we’d be riled up to find ourselves in snow country.
This trip, Dad had made pretty extraordinary time. It was the middle of the night, and we needed to stop for restrooms, so all four kids and both parents got out of the car in the middle-of-nowhere upstate New York. Then, we all loaded up and finished the drive. We pulled into Vermont around six the next morning, but as we began unloading suitcases, we realized that something else had gotten out at the rest station. My dog, Snowflake, had escaped almost six hours back.
Long story short, after having driven seventeen hours, Dad drove another twelve to get sweet, beloved Snowflake from the doctor who’d caught her in the gas station parking lot. Dad used several slightly more colorful nouns to replace the “flake” of her name on the drive back, and he still refers to her with somewhat less than endearing nicknames when she comes up. (He loved her, don’t worry. She just caused lots of trouble.) Ever since, however, it is a family joke to double-check the back to make sure we have all the dogs.
What are some of your favorite family adventure memories?