“Some day can we drive around and just look for things?” my five year old son recently asked.

“Honey,” I answered, “We spend plenty of time just driving around looking for stuff.”

“I mean, drive around and explore, and if we see something on the side of the road that’s interesting, we can stop and take a look? You know, like when you were a kid you drove around and saw the dinosaur caves and stopped to visit?”

All right! That’s a boy after my own heart. During my younger years, I lived in small towns where I worked as a TV news reporter. Often, I worked weekends, meaning my days off fell in the middle of the week, when the other people I knew (who also worked at the same TV statation) were busy working. Not one to waste my free time sitting around my tiny apartment, I’d hit the road. Sometimes, I’d drive hours to the nearest big city, in search of a decent Chinese restaurant — and equally important — a decent shopping mall. Other times, I’d pack my backpack and go hiking in the Sierras, the Sawtooths or the Grand Tetons. Of course, I started to rethink my outings after reporting on several serial murderers. “What kind of woman goes hiking by herself?” my co-worker wondered.

My own wanderlust stems— I’m sure — from childhood vacations spent driving around the American west on family road trips,

 including the one where we stopped and visited the Shoshone Ice Caves (which incidentally, I drove past during one of those reporter weekend outings, and am still sort of kicking myself for not stopping in for a tour). In all honesty, I’m not sure if my twelve year old imagination recalled the details of the trip accurately. The visit to the dinosaur caves may have been planned all along, but it sure makes a better (and longer) bedtime story, if we just spotted a giant dinosaur statue in the middle of a sagebrush desert and decided to pull over and check it out!

Today was Mother’s Day, and I had requested that HapaPapa and the boys take me to a beautiful villa and art center for a picnic. But it was cold and slightly drizzly. I suggested that we take a drive to the mountains, and find a restaurant that looked good or have a picnic. Luckily, the weather was clear there, and we took our sushi and sandwiches from a local gourmet market to a state park, where we had a picnic and hike among the redwoods.

Happy Mother’s Day!


  1. grace says

    Thanks Susannah! I’m only surprised we didn’t run into you there, seeing as how our paths seem to cross.

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