And the 70's were a great time to be road-trippers. Cheap motels with pools, greasy mom and pop diners and the total absence of seat-belt laws made for an atmosphere that embraced the Britney Spears in all of us. Or maybe we just spent too much of our time travelling south.
My dad had actually considered buying the AMC Pacer as our family car, purely for the "fishbowl/greenhouse". He wanted us kids to spend every minute looking out and taking in the world.
Thankfully we dodged that bullet and got a full-sized Chevy van instead. Fully carpeted interior, floors AND walls. (Don't come a-knockin') The ceiling had cork tile with a roof vent. The middle was empty, but the back had two facing benches with a table in-between. (Therefore, passengers in the back rode sideways and would knock their heads against the wood banisters marking the ends of the benches, if the driver stomped on the brakes too hard.) On long road trips, we would actually throw one of those cheap foam sofa bed into the middle section, open it up and just roll around for 1400 miles.
The amount of distance between the driver and the back allowed for more "experimentation" as well. I remember making a kite out of McDonald's straws and napkins and trying to fly it out the back window doing 70 mph on I-75.
We sold the van before I got to driving age, as the family trips dwindled and it became less practical. But now, almost a quarter of a century later, things have come full circle and we find ourselves with a van (though mini) again. And I'm absolutely amazed by it. There's absolutely no selectiveness required in packing for trips. If the thought crosses our mind that it might come in handy, it gets thrown in. Three strollers for two children? Why not?
And now that we're potty training, we've designated one back corner as the literal port-a-potty. And when he gives us the two minute warning of "I gotta pee" it's just a matter of pulling over, unbuckling him and getting him into the back.
My biggest love? He sits so high with those huge side windows and spends every minute looking out and taking in the world.
And yelling "Mighty Machines!" whenever he sees a truck.