Community Post: The Evolution Of The Road Trip

The road trip is one of America’s most time honored traditions.The last cool “boat trip” (not even a phrase, pshh) was on the Mayflower in 1620. Some Americans thought they would try to help Europeans bring back aquatic travel in 1912, but the Titanic isn’t remembered for how much fun it was. Remember the end of the movie? Oh and the American guy dies.

“Goodbye! Goodbye forever!”

Yep, this country is all about being on the road again. But it hasn’t always looked the same…I present to you, THE EVOLUTION OF THE ROAD TRIP!

4. Stage 1: Rock Me Mama Like a Wagon Wheel

Era: Early-Mid 1800’s

Key Players: People with too much debt to stay on the East Coast, farm animals

The first road trips were rough. Not just “I’ve-needed-to-go-to-the-bathroom-for-the-past-hour-but-Dad-won’t-pull-over” rough. More like “Our-ox-died-from-dysentery-and-so-did-my-sister” rough. Unlike today where car activities include listening to books on tape and pulling through fast food joints, the main activity back then was not dying. But we don’t need to tell you that- you played Oregon Trail.

6. Stage Two: Unto Us, a Car is Born

Era: Early 1900’s

Key Players: Very, very rich people

When automobiles first came on the scene, they were little more than toys for the extremely wealthy. Going for a drive was a great way to wave at all the poor people without getting too close. It was also during this time that the first road trip by car occurred in the United States. H. Nelson Jackson, Sewall K. Crocker, and a dog named Bud drove from San Fran to NYC in 63 days (it would have been faster, but that’s what they get for letting Bud drive).

“Pull up to da scene with my ceiling missing”

8. Stage 3: Honey, We Drove the Kids

Era: 1950’s

Key Players: Mom, Pop, and the kiddos

The fifties truly cornered the market on Forced Family Fun. The American family had never been stronger and what better way to spend some quality bonding time than cramped into a small space without any entertainment but each other? It’s safe to say the beloved American catchphrase “Don’t make me turn this car around!” developed during this time period.

just like fast food nowadays, right?

10. Stage 4: Road Trip…More Like Road *~Hip~*

Era: 1980’s

Key Players: The casts of National Lampoon’s Vacation, Midnight Run, When Harry Met Sally, etc

Road trips are no longer just the dreaded 9 hour family trek to your grandmother’s house in Ohio. I mean, yes, they’re still that (they always will be…always), but they’re also cool now. Popular movies made road trips funny, exciting, and romantic. Back to the Future even proposed that the right kind of road trip could help you travel through time.

definitely going to get a ticket

12. Stage 5: The Road as We Know It

Era: Now

Key Players: You

And here we are. The modern day road trip. As technology has advanced, these car ride expeditions have as well. The only map we use is one made by Google. Tape decks have been replaced by iPod docks. And basically no one dies from dysentery.Of course, the road trip would never be where it is today without all of the eras before it.

13. One last thing…

Before we go, here are some tips on how to spend your next road trip!

Buckle up (or at least hold hands) if you decide to do some offroading

Pick who you sit next to wisely.

Keep doors locked at all times whilst driving.

Everyone loves a good sing-a-long!

Don’t be afraid to dance a little too.

Happy driving!

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