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Mommy Musings - The Open Road
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The time has come for yet another unforgettable Hammond Family vacation.While I am writing this prior to the vacation happening, there is one thing I am certain of. This vacation will indeed be unforgettable. The location we will travel to this summer is not exotic, tropical or even coastal. This year the Hammond Family is headed to the hip and happening location of … Henderson, Nevada.For those familiar with the area, it is just a short distance outside of Las Vegas. Otherwise known as “Vegas Baby” by my husband and six-year-old son. We have family in Henderson, which is what has us traveling in that direction. We do have plans of hitting ‘the strip’ — once. Vegas is a fun place, just one I’ve never thought of as a family vacation spot.The majority of our visit will be spent with family … lots of it.In the last several years I have come to learn that indeed, sometimes the journey can be just as exciting as the destination. It is proof positive when you factor in two young children, two grandparents and eight-plus hours on the open road.Yep, continuing on the tradition we grew up with, my husband and I are all about road trips. Quite honestly, living in the Central Valley often times it is the only thing that makes sense to me.By the time you travel to a neighboring city airport, park your vehicle, schlep all the belongings necessary to travel with little ones (plus your own), process through security and board… you might as well drive.This trip, however, is destined to be different than all those we have taken in the past. Like many of our friends who road trip, we have opted to rent a car this time around.We are fearful our dear old Suburban is not up for the hot drive across the summer desert, so rental it is.I’m an adventurer to a certain level, so I am actually looking forward to this. Much to my husband’s chagrin the rental I have chosen for our family’s summer adventure will come in the compact size. No, I am not crazy, just cost conscience and sensible.As I pointed out to my husband the money we save on gas alone will pay the rental fee. He quickly did the math and begrudgingly agreed. Now the children — that’s a whole different story.They know we are not taking ‘the big car,’ but I am not quite sure how they will react to the rental when they see it. I am pretty much convinced it will take all of an hour for the newness and excitement to wear off. So the following seven hours should be interesting.I was treated to a preview of their reaction over the Fourth of July weekend as we traveled to Brentwood to see friends. Cautious to not push our luck with the Suburban we took our eight-year-old Volkswagen.Just barely halfway through Escalon our three-year-old exclaimed, “This car is too small. I need more room.”I feel it important to point out that I spent the first 13 years of my life traveling around this great state and western coastline with my mother in a 1967 Super Beetle. It was powder blue, manual transmission, with crank windows, a back-back and AM-only radio. There was no air conditioning, no cruise control, no power anything and well, we did just fine.Often times our road trips were the two of us, but every now and again my Aunt Esie would join us with her three boys. So, our Beetle would safely transport two young moms and their four young children. It never once occurred to me that the car was “too small” and that I needed “more room.”Things are so different for our children on so many levels, it is honestly scary.Days before loading up our mystery compact rental car the things that run through my mind the most are these. I hope my children don’t kill each other. I hope my husband doesn’t kill my children. I hope we all learn to love the space we are missing and rejoice in the closeness we have gained. And I hope to God it does not hit 115 degrees while we are there on vacation.It’s all about the adventure, right? I’ll remind myself of this somewhere in the middle of the desert. Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.