Though we plan to travel a lot with Yitzchak, we see the road trip we recently took as special. It was his “paternity leave trip,” the trip we were able to take longer because of paternity leave.
Since he will not remember the trip we thought it would be nice to create a board book that tells the story of the trip. The main reason I did this is I believe creating books with family stories is a fantastic way of retelling family stories, creating a family narrative, and imparting family values. There has been a lot of research into the positive outcomes associated with having a strong family narrative and retelling family stories. I also thought this book would be of increased interest to him because not only is it realistic (which babies are more interested in), it features him and people he knows.
I wrote a poem of each day of our road trip, included a picture from each day, and created the board book on Artifact Uprising. I have included the poem below. In the actual editor we changed some of the commas that are meant to be semicolons and did a bit more grammar fixing, but here is the rough draft:
When I was very little- only 2 1/2 months old
We went on a long journey 5 weeks all told
Since I won’t remember this trip all by myself
Ima made me this story for my bookshelf
On the first day of our road trip we got quite the thrill. Through Pennsylvania to Ohio, we saw Punxsutawney, home of Phil.
Day 2 we hiked in Cuyahoga Park, saw the Indiana Dunes, and got to Chicago before dark.
Day 3 there was lots in Chicago to be seen, the canal, the lakeshore, and the famous bean.
Day 4 we hiked at Starved Rock and in the Des Moines sculpture park we took a walk
Day 5 driving through Nebraska was a bit of a chore. Empty cornfields and 8 hours driving- what a bore!
Day 6 we liked our hikes in Rocky Mountain a lot, then we headed to Denver to spend Day 7—Shabbat!
Day 8 on our drive we saw our first red rocks and at Colorado Monument and Can yonlands we took great walks
Day 9 we started to hike Delicate Arch before first light. Arches, Dead Horse, and Canyonlands were each quite the sight!
Day 10 it was cool in Dixie Forest and hot in Capitol Reef. At Bryce Canyon we looked at the gorgeous sites in disbelief.
Day 11 we saw Zion at sunrise, pink sands, and then caves. We walked through belly of the dragon and a slot canyon with walls like waves
Day 12 in the morning we went to Horseshoe Bend and then on to Grand Canyon which seemed to go on without end.
Day 13 at Grand Canyon we caught the sunrise then on to Scottsdale for Shabbat-day 14- where we felt the heat brutalize
Day 15 at Saguaro we walked only a few feet; we had to stay inside to beat the heat.
Day 16 on a walk in Scottsdale we soaked in Vitamin D, then went on the road to Joshua Tree
Day 17 our morning walk in Joshua Tree led us a bit astray but we still made it to Griffiths Observatory before midday
Day 18 started at Venice Beach then a hike in the hills followed by Rodeo Drive seeing all the frills
Day 19 we saw seals, the ocean, and a waterfall to boast, on our drive from LA to Palo Alto up the California Coast
Day 20 in San Francisco we saw the Golden Gate and then Shabbat, Day 21, we were able to rejuvenate.
Day 22 we continued forth and saw our first Redwoods as we headed north
Day 23 we smelled the sulphur and walked around the lake, Lassen and back was a long drive but not a mistake
Day 24 we saw elk, hiked, were stuck in traffic for over an hour then after a coast walk got a mighty rain shower
Day 25 we spent a lot of time in the car but seeing Crater Lake made it worth it by far
Day 26 we walked on the Craters of the Moon, arriving to camp in Yellowstone in the late afternoon
Day 27 was Grand Teton, old faithful, hot springs and more. Spending Shabbat—day 28—at Yellowstone let us still explore!
Day 29 we hiked at Pompeys Pillar and Makoshika too. Sunset at Theodore Roosevelt was quite the view.
Day 30 we saw one Bison at Wind Cave, at Rushmore more than one President, then drove on to Badlands where we set up our tent
Day 31 we drove through Badlands’ canyons and spires, then the sunset at night glowed like the sky was filled with fires
Day 32 as we left Badlands we saw a bighorn sheep parade, and stopped at a sculpture park on our way to Omaha where we stayed
Day 33 in Kansas City we saw a Lewis and Clark landmark, then we made it to Gateway Arch- our twentieth national park!
Day 34 we walked on the Indianapolis canal strip then headed to Columbus for day 35, the last Shabbat of our trip.
Day 36 we traveled to Harpers Ferry and could hardly believe it was the end of our itinerary
Day 37 we stopped in Wilmington Delaware on our way home, sad to be done but excited for less moving around, for Shalom.
As we left on our road trip my parents said adventure awaits
And oh how true- 20 national parks in 24 states!
Across the country we drove over 10,000 miles, on a trip filled with bonding and smiles.