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Well, when we actually had summer vacations... In the "olden days", when we were kids (in the days of the "middle class" in America) most of us had the opportunity to take a summer trip with the family. Going to the beach, going to the mountains, going to visit grandparents - summer was the time to do something different.

We always left on a Thursday night at around eight o'clock. Yep, may sound a little weird, but my dad always preferred driving at night for some reason, and always wanted to get several hundred miles behind us at the start of the vacation.

I didn't mind, because I was sort of a night owl even as a child, so Mom and my younger sister would fall asleep in the back seat of the station wagon, while Dad and I would join the truckers on the highway.

It was sort of neat to leave the driveway in front of the house at dusk, and then be four hundred miles away from home when the sun began to come up.

Neither Dad nor Mom particularly liked the beach, so it was usually mountains for us. Some years we went east - that would mean the Smokey and Blue Ridge mountains. Sometimes that trip included a visit to my aunt and uncle, who at that time lived on the Chesapeake Bay.

I preferred our western trips - this was before President Eisenhower's interstate highway system was very far along, and the long stretches between towns were "blue highways" all the way. Blue highways are still my preferred method of travel - you get to see much more of the real world (good and bad) than the homogenized Interstate highway system allows. As my hubby would say of any location along the Interstate, "it's always just the same place with different trees..."

Okay, back to the western vacations... Texas seemed to go on forever. We'd climb into the New Mexico high desert; on to the Grand Canyon, head north to Mesa Verde, then up the spine of the Rockies, and eventually reach our destination of Yellowstone.

My father had an almost inerrant internal sense of direction, which I seemed to have inherited. He loved maps, as do I. After a few vacations west over the years, he hardly had to consult a map at all. I tried that on a trip I made by myself one summer - covering much of the same route as my childhood family trips - and amazingly I really didn't need a map too often, and I often found a familiarity in the locales that I didn't expect. I actually knew where I was, even after a space of nearly twenty years.

That last trip solo was the best trip for me. I could stay where I wanted for as long as I wanted, eat what I wanted when I wanted...and think, write, and take photos. Traveling with someone is fun, but traveling alone - and with your own thoughts - is, for me, very freeing.

So, what was it like for you guys? How did you spend your summer vacation?

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How did you spend you summer vacations as a kid?

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| 7 votes | Vote | Results

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