Hit the Road / Thoughts on Windshields and Rear View Mirrors

The words ‘road trip’ around our house are basically the human equivalent to opening a jar of peanut butter in front of our dogs’ faces – immediately triggering wildly uncontrollable excitement and salivation. We consider ourselves quite fortunate to have both the opportunity and choice to hit the road as our preferable mode of exploratory transport.

Recently, we got to thinking – “what is it about a road trip that we can’t get enough of?” As un-poetic as it sounds, it really comes down to a simple thought about windshields and rear view mirrors.

Consider this:

We tend to look at life through the windshield, not the rear view mirror.

You see, road trips hold a meaning greater than the destination, or even the journey itself. They epitomizes a forward focus and clear sighted outlook on life [the windshield] and offer the promise of new and changing horizons along the way.

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On top of that, road trips always consist of a comical series of quirks we’ve come to know and love. Take the 453 miles recently accrued between Denver, Colorado and Ten Sleep, Wyoming – a 7-ish hour, 4-day holiday weekend road trip not uncommon to many others, as exemplified by the following…

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First, the audio. With our habit of playlist repeat, any guest passenger could vouch for the lack of ‘shuffle’ we employ. But we’ll grin at each other, singing every lyric, calling out the next track before it begins – in that way only music can tug at the most nostalgic of heartstrings when played through dust-filled car speakers.

Then, our thoughts on the rear view mirror. Metaphorically, we’re not looking through it – we’ve established that. But in reality, we are sticklers for a tidy pack job in the back to allow for reversing visuals as well as exercising a bit of defensive driving, as needed. Plus, I’ll admit it – as the driver, I get emotionally attached to the cars behind and ahead of me on long road trips!

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And finally, our agree-to-disagree stance on the windshield… You remember this is supposedly our “clear sighted outlook on life”? Not entirely true in application. Freckled with weather or bug guts is no matter for Jamison with his squint and ‘onward’ mentality. I, on the other hand, do not condone such a kaleidoscope of distraction blurring my eyes, and will not hesitate to assist with the windshield wiping function of the vehicle from the passenger seat. If I can pull this off more than once, we are both in rare form.

Thoughts on windshields and rear view mirrors aside, we continue to salivate over the discoveries we make along each road trip. Two drooling adults, running around whispering about road-this and trip-that, knowing good and well we are slobbering our way toward an insatiable craving. [Thanks for that Pavlov!] Yes, the places and routes are wonderful. But what we respond to in the end is all the life we squeeze out of the simple gift of time that a road trip offers. We tend to do our best thinking, divulging, brainstorming, and reflecting together while on the road, and we know that the self discoveries have rewarded us far more!

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