preparing for a road trip

How A Family Road Trip Can Make Everlasting Memories

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Growing up as an Army brat, I can remember never living in one place very long. Every three years or so it was time to pack up and move. Our family did a lot of traveling. And I mean lots and lots of traveling. We traveled by planes, trains, and automobiles. And we took alot of family road trips. With all the traveling we did, I got to see some amazing places. The Army took us to Japan, Germany, Georgia, and Texas. And all this in 15 years.

Georgia To Texas Road Trips

Some of my most memorable travels were road trips from Georgia to Texas to visit grandparents. I can remember dad would load my sister and I in the back seat, and the luggage in the back of our 1980 Plymouth Volare station wagon. It was the color of faded bananas with that classic wood paneling down the side. Think Griswold’s.

Back in the early 80’s there were no hand-held electronics, smart phones, or flip-down visor TVs to keep us kids entertained. There were no satellite radio stations or CDs to listen to. No, we had good ole FM radio and cassette tapes.

stack of cassette tapes
Music Listening Devices of the 1900’s

A few weeks before our road trip half-way across the country, my dad would make “road-trip” cassette tapes with his favorite classic country music. He would sit in the living room with his headphones on and record his tapes from his huge collection of vinyl albums. My sister and I became very well versed in the musical stylings of Loretta Lynn, Hank Jr., and dad’s favorite, Earl Thomas Conley. That amazing album collection was passed on to me and that era of country music is still my favorite.

 As you can imagine, entertaining two kids under 10 back then could be seen nowadays as quite the challenge. My sister and I would be at each other’s throat before we hit the Georgia state line, but mom had a knack for calming that down REAL quick. All it would take was a quick look at us from the front seat. We both knew and completely understood what was coming next. She didn’t bluff, ever.

What We Learned On Family Road Trips

When we would calm down, mom would entertain my sister and I by teaching us about different things we would pass, like the Mississippi River. She made sure that every time we crossed it, she would make sure to point it out. We learned about mile marker signs, exit numbers, and best of all, how to spell Mississippi. This is how she taught us how to spell it. “M, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, hump-back, hump-back, I.” Even as I was typing Mississippi above, I was still saying that phrase in my head.

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So, you see, family road trips can be fun and educational for kids, even without the electronics. Making these road trips fun will leave an everlasting impact on the whole family.

Explore Your Local Area

Fast forward 40 years (that just made me feel incredibly old) and now it’s Kellie and I making memories with our road trips and travels. We have been taking road trips around Texas since we first got married. Although we have plenty of experience planning road trips, some of the best times we have had is when we just jump in the truck and go, on a whim. By not having kids, we were always able to just get up and go.

Kellie and I have always had a desire to explore. When it’s just not possible for us to take the camper out, we try to take quick road trips. In fact, just a few weekends ago we decided to take a quick road trip to Matagorda Bay, Texas to see what there was to see. The trip took less than an hour each way and we got to see parts of our surrounding counties that we had never seen before. 

bridge in Matagorda Tx crossing intracaostal water way
Matagorda Bay Bridge

Matagorda Bay

On the way to Matagorda Bay, we passed a wind farm. We’ve seen the massive blades on trucks, or on trains, but we had no idea just at the sheer size of these wind turbines. It was just mind-blowing. Seeing this wind farm piqued my interest, so I had to research it. We both know what wind farms are and what they do, but I wanted to find out more about this specific wind farm.

peyton creek wind farm as seen on road trip
Peyton Creek Wind Farm
peyton creek wind farm as seen on a road trip

What did I discover? Turns out, this is a 151 Mega Watt onshore wind farm, Peyton Creek Wind Farm, contains 48 wind turbines and can produce enough electricity to power over 45,000 homes. In addition, this wind farm is the 24th farm that has been completed by RWE Renewables.

There wasn’t much to see in the part of Matagorda that we visited. We did, however, find small restaurant right next to the Intracoastal Waterway. We enjoyed our lunch with some amazing views of barges passing by and fishermen launching their boats.

standing in front of waterfront restaurant
Waterfront Restaurant in Matagorda Bay

Attend Annual Festivals

It seems almost every Texas town has an annual festival of some kind. Copperas Cove has the annual Rabbit Fest, Lampasas is known for Spring Ho, and Holland is best known for their annual Corn Fest. When you take a road trip to attend these festivals, you have the chance to meet great people, eat some fantastic food, and even witness some odd events.

For example, the Holland Corn Fest has a competition to see who can “chuck” a corn cob the furthest. Not to be outweighed by the cricket spitting contest. Yes, you read that right. Contestants put a cricket in their mouth and see who can “spit” it the furthest.

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If you’re lucky, you might even get to watch an old west gunfight, costumes, and all.

If you are looking for a few ideas on free road trips, be sure to check out, 5 Totally Free Things To Do In Galveston, Texas.

Conclusion On Road Trips

Whether you have young children or not, taking road trips can be both fun and educational. You don’t necessarily have to travel all the way across the country, or state for that matter. You can find some very interesting things right in your own backyard. The point to all of it is to just get out and explore everything this great country has to offer. Be curious, stop at the historical markers, landmarks, and other points of interest along the way.

You might be amazed at what you can learn. Most of all, spend time with your family, friends, and the people that mean the most to you. Those memories will have an everlasting impact on everyone.

Are you looking for a little more inspiration? You might enjoy, 15 Inspirational Quotes That Will Make You Want To Hit The Road, and Best Time Of Year To Go Camping In Texas.

Do you have a favorite family road trip that you like to take? We would love to hear about it. Leave us a comment in the section below and tell us all about it.

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