Wanderlust – The seemingly insurmountable need to travel, to see and experience new places and new faces. Where do I get these urges to travel? As far back as I can remember it seems like we were always going somewhere. Family trips from Baltimore to Colorado, or California, or Wyoming, or South Dakota. Or long weekend trips to see family in Cincinnati. Mom and Dad also enjoyed taking the road les traveled, often taking the U.S. Routes instead of the Interstate.
I was 10 years old the summer of 1972, when we moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Bainbridge Island, Washington. My father had accepted a position in Seattle, and had preceded us a few months earlier, locating a house for us on Bainbridge and allowing me and my siblings the chance to finish the school year. Dad flew back in June and rented the largest U-Haul truck available. We spent several days boxing up all our belongings and loading the truck. The plan was that we would caravan across country, Dad and I in the truck and Mom and my brother, Eric, and sister, Kim would travel in the 1968 Ford Cortina that we had. If memory serves me correctly, we made it to Cincinnati before the Cortina died, and it was decided that dad and I would continue with the truck and our belongings and Mom, Eric and Kim would fly from Cincy to Seattle after visiting relatives for a week or so. I remember feeling pretty special that I would get to ride all the way across country with Dad in the truck. Life was still a big adventure to me.
As previously stated, this was by no means my first long road-trip, as a family we had been to California and to Colorado a few times previously. But that was always us three kids crammed into the back of Dad’s 1967 Mustang, pulling the little Coleman tent trailer. This was different, I was riding shotgun, in a big truck and it was just me and Dad!
My memory of that trip, 40 years ago is pretty vague; with very few specifics. I can remember the smell of the diesel fuel, as Dad filled the large tank under the passenger-side running board. I remember one night thinking it was pretty cool that we got to sleep outdoors, think Dad called it modern “cowboy” camping, sleeping under the truck somewhere between Cincinnati and Seattle. I remember cresting Snoqualmie Pass that first time and coming down the hill, so much green.
We pulled into Seattle around lunchtime, and Dad decided that we’d eat before getting on the ferry to the island. He pulled truck over and we got out. He then told me to wait for him as he was going to go and park the truck. He’d be right back… I don’t remember being scared; I just remember jumping onto the bumper of that big truck, and hanging on to the side for dear life as Dad drove around the block looking for a place to park. I vaguely remember the policemen pulling Dad over, and then the quick exchange, and Dad’s surprise that I had jumped on the truck, and then his realizing that it may have all been too much for this 10 year old kid to take in, and just stand there in this strange new city, as the truck drove away down the street… To this day I still get the urge for a road-trip when I see the familiar white and orange U-Haul logo.