Parenting, Teenage road trip, Travel

Teenage Road Trip-Part Dos

photo by Jim

My two youngest hit the dark road at 3:30 a.m. heading to San Francisco for three days. My son is nineteen, my daughter twenty-two, and they took three friends with them in a small SUV. Remember those days? Some of us did that kind of thing in a VW, the Beetle, not the van. Ah, to be young.
They’re probably cramped up by now.

A few months back, Vegan son planned his first road trip. I’m using ‘planned’ in the loosest sense of the word. He abandoned his SF trip and headed to Santa Barbara instead. This time the kids have a hotel, courtesy of mom, because it’s what Adventure daughter wanted for her birthday.

Vegan son didn’t take luggage, not even a backpack.

     “My toothbrush fits in my pocket and I have on two other t-shirts under this one.”
     “Oh-kay.” (eye-roll and nose scrunch)
     I didn’t ask about underwear. Glad I’m not in the car with him for six hours.

Adventure daughter had her Harajuku camouflaged Duffle bag for her two night stay, a Trader Joe’s grocery bag filled to the brim with eats, a small rolling cooler for beverages, and a map in her hand (in case the GPS on their phones didn’t work). The other three teens had backpacks, bags of snacks, and smiling faces. Their parents didn’t come over to see them off.

photo by Jim

It was with a little melancholy that I said “safe travels, have fun,” as I tried to be as innocuous as possible in my cheetah print flannel PJ’s and robe. I  had to search their faces to see a glimmer of their eager smiles hidden beneath their cool exteriors when I reminded them to be alert.

Did you take your chargers, your insurance cards, jumper cables, Triple A card, water bottles…?
They got into the car without a look back. I know they glance in the rear view mirror and see 19 and 22 year old young adults. But I see 6 and 9 year old children looking back at me.

My mom’s voice blasted through my thoughts: “when you have kids, you’ll know…” Yeah, yeah–but it’s true. I wanted to throw that maxim in my kids detached emotionless faces, but I didn’t. I know they heard me.

At seven fifteen Vegan son texted me that they were at a rest stop. They saw the sun rise over the San Luis Obispo mountains earlier: “Ah-sum,” he said.

At eleven o’clock, Adventurous daughter texted “Here.”
Noon: “They said they need your ID and Credit Card #, front and back, by fax or email or a $100 deposit, I don’t have $100,” Adventure daughter wails.
12:30: We don’t have a fax so three emails and phone calls later (incorrect address) the card info is sent.
12:35: “Ok, thank you so much.”

I can take a nap now, since I’ve been up since three thirty this morning. It’s hard to let go and believe that they don’t need mom.
Well, maybe they do, for a hotel.

Parenting, Teenage road trip, Travel

Teenage Road Trip

My youngest son announces he wants to take a road trip up to San Francisco (360 miles away) with two friends. His car, he’s driving, the others are pitching in for the gas. College starts in two weeks and he hasn’t done much over the summer but sleep, skate, and hang out.

“Oh, yeah?” I say. “Where are you staying?” (he has a gas card and $30 left from his June HS graduation)
“We’re sleeping in the car, taking the sleeping bags.” (in a small SUV? He’s 6 ft. tall)
“Where are you parking?”
“In someone’s neighborhood I guess.” (uh, no). “Sam’s Club parking lots?” (no SC in Frisco). “At a campground?” (Muir woods is 2 hrs. away).
“Hostels run about $25 a night.” I say.
“Are you kidding, didn’t you see that movie “Hostel?” (uh, no again).
“Do you know how to change a flat tire or use jumper cables in case something happens with the car?” I ask.
“I’ll youtube it if I need to know.” (uh, right-youtube).
“How you gonna eat on $30 for 3 or 4 days?” (I’ve seen him eat).
“I’m vegan remember, pita chips, hummus, juice, fruit.” (Okay I guess he can buy a lot of that for cheap).”You don’t want me to go, huh?” he says.
“I want you to think about it first. Give me a plan I’m comfortable with and then it’s fine.”

Now I don’t want to be a downer, but I don’t want him rousted by SF police for sleeping in his car. And I don’t want to give him money for a hotel-you know SF prices?! And then I remember my first road trip, when I was twenty, to San Diego and Tijuana with three girlfriends. It was so long ago I can’t remember where we slept, but I still remember the guys we met in SD, Carnitas Urupan in TJ, and having to go to the secondary inspection area at the border crossing.

How can I deny him a road trip experience? Adventure and exploring is part of a young man’s makeup. It was part of my own experience. But then I envision him skateboarding down Lombard St. or sleeping on the side of the road or his car messing up and there’s no youtube connection.

I remind myself that I’m a concerned parent, I’m not hovering over a just turned 19 year old. I don’t know how this will turn out but he just may ask his father for some ways to earn money at his house, or his grandma’s, or sell video games. And that’s fine. Where there’s a will there’s a way is my firm belief.

We’ll see what develops in the next few days. I’m already feeling melancholy.