Stories from eight years of living on the road in America
By Michael Boyink / email@example.com
“Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.
– John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley.
Steinbeck traveled with his dog, Charley.
We traveled with kids. Which, with deference to Mr. Steinbeck, is way, way harder.
For some, trips do indeed continue long after movement in time and space cease. But we found that, for others, trips don’t start until after movement in time and space begin.
We left when my daughter was 12.
She didn’t want to go.
In retrospect, cramming puberty into a 30’ RV probably wasn’t our best idea.
During our early travels the only words we’d hear from her is when she’d sing along to the Beach Boys song, Sloop John B:
“Let me go home
Why don’t they let me go home
This is the worst trip I’ve ever been on.”
This went on for weeks.
Then we got knocked off the road in Kentucky by a texting driver. Truck repairs extended our holidays back in frigid Michigan.
Once back on the road, we booked it south to an Atlanta hotel where I was doing some training. An ice storm followed us in and paralyzed the city.
Our truck couldn’t make it up the parking lot ramp. Shelves on the Kroger store next door went empty. We had to do the training twice to accommodate all the shifted schedules.
Four nights shoehorned into a single hotel room turned into ten.
Finally leaving the hotel, Miranda said “I just want to go home.”
Same song, but with a different tone.
I asked her “Back in Michigan or in the RV?”
“I don’t care. I just want to be home.”
Her trip had finally begun.
Back in the RV, we parked in an otherwise-empty Georgia state park.
Miranda accompanied us on family walks. We threw rocks through ice-covered water raceways and watched air bubbles form and try to escape.
We jumped from rock to rock in the stream below the falls. We watched the water create swirling eddies on its way downstream.
Soon she would fall in love with ocean beaches. Then the Arizona Desert. Then a Texas horse ranch.
She would make friends with other traveling kids.
I know that for Miranda, as well as the rest of our little clan, our trip does often continue on now that movement in time and space have ceased.
Watson Mill Bridge State Park is two hours east of Atlanta, GA and is named after the nearby 229 foot long covered bridge. The park has hiking, biking, horseback riding and a small campground. Learn more at gastateparks.org/WatsonMillBridge