If I had a dollar for ever time I sat staring out of some tear-stained window and at the drizzling landscape of England wishing I was on a road trip across the USofA in a drop top muscle car, well, I'd have about $7.50, which would be ace. Hitting one of America’s straight-as-an-arrow-and-as-loaded-as-a-gun highway’s is pretty much at the top of every rad dad's bucket list. Interrailing around Europe is ace, and riding Namib Desert dunes is mental, but taking on The States by road is the dream, the American Dream. It's the epitome of cool, old school cool, maverick cool, rebel rousing cool, the glamour and grit of films, music, books and even rock n’ roll kinda cool. Think Jack Kerouac's On The Road, and Bob Dylan's Dirty Road Blue's, and Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider. The American Road Trip is iconic, and that fact we're parents shouldn't stop you from living the legend. Why? Because it is a coming of age thing that we’ve all got to do at some point, so why not take your kids with you and give em' head start in roaring through that rite of passage. Sure, there are some issues with taking your children on a road trip, but I've whittled these down to two major issues and come up with two solutions to eradicate said issues. So, issue 1) which road trip do you pick and issue 2) what car do you do it in. Well, read on with eyes peeled wide, fingers on pulse and driving glovers on hands because I'm here to tell you which terrafirma you need to tear across screaming 'who's the daddy'. Yeehaw.
The almighty California State Route 1. Is there anything more attractive than listening to the engine roar as you sprint along the Pacific ocean from San Diego right into Redwood country, the sun scorching, so much so you see mirages on every horizon. Route 1 is what I can only describe as epic, in the same way The Avengers franchise is epic, or space travel is epic, or Jack Nicholson is epic - that kind of epic. What’s more, it's a far from strenuous introduction to life on the road, which could be right up your bowling alley if it's you first road trip with the kids. However, easy doesn’t mean boring. We're in Cali-Cali for heaven's sake. It’s sexy and exciting and spiritual and iconic and full of sun chasing, oh and there is also a shit ton of stuff for your mad little family to see. There’s Route 101, the Point Reyes National Seashore, the magic of Malibu and the sass of Santa Monica, oh and even a touch of legendary Long Beach (that's quite enough alliteration for now).
Boring family car of choice: 1953 Chevy Bel Air complete with surf boards on the roof rack.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
The Hunter S. Thompson in me has been desperate to take over my mind, body and soul since I first met Raoul Duke and discovered what was in the his trunk. But getting the hell out of dodge requires first getting the hell in there, and so you should; it’s one of the greatest adventures any of us can hope to live and tell; enjoying the privilege of spontaneity, jumping in a sweet ride, pointing the bonnet north and tearing your way through the desert toward the city of sin with nothing more than the Hawaiian shirt on your back, Monte Cristo dangling from your teeth and a pink showgirl headdress around your neck, and all for no good reason. But it doesn't have to be the debauched weekend of forgotten fun that whispers in the myths. It can be the perfect family road trip. It's only 300 miles, and through the spiritual centrepiece of the desert known as Joshua Tree. It offers you the chance to be the coolest dad ever as you give your family an education in all things rock and roll.
Which brings us to the boring family car of choice: Cadillac Escalade in black with tinted windows and more trimmings than a Christmas lunch.
Coastin' From Coast to Coast
This is the ultimate fantasy for many a man, whether entrepreneur or hippy, musician or mechanic. It’s the very truest of all road trips. It’s one for the purists. Driving from one coast of the US to the other, while eating up over 3,500 miles of tarmac along the way. Yummy-scrummy, let's go mummy. Of course, America is quite large, which means there are a couple of different routes you where you ca enjoy some serious smiles per gallon but, as the leader of the pack, and the daddy of a family road trip, I suggest you enjoy Route 20. Why? Because there is so much to see, and so much to break up the long stretch of road that will probs take you two to three weeks to chew up and conquer. So what is there? Oh, only a few small places like Newport and Oregon and Boston and Yellowstone, all of which tickled me sweet like a handful of baby feathers under my newly shaven chin.
But what boring family car should you choose: Either a sweet silver Airstream (which is the classic camper) or a Fleetwood Bounder RV (like the horrible rank one Walt drives in Breaking Bad, which is now a cult classic).
This is one of the shortest road trips you and your mad ones can do, but it is also one of the most glorious, and that is because it glides past the Everglades and rolls out onto the Ocean Highway. In a short sentence, well, it is one of the most awe-inspiring and awesome road trips anyone can take (if Miami is good enough for Beckham, then it's good enough for you and me). And I haven’t even mentioned the jewel in this bedazzling crown, which is the Seven Mile Bridge, which is somewhere between 5 and 10 miles long, but no one knows for sure. OMG! This is such an epic road to roar down.
The boring family car recommended by my mad little family is: 1966 Ford Mustang in either baby blue or pastel pink because, well, it's Miami baby.