Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Road Trip Inspiration - National Lampoon's Vacation

I've had a hankering to watch National Lampoon's Vacation for a few weeks, but I rarely make time to watch movies. Which is ironic because we have quite a movie collection and a movie theater room in the basement. But movies are more Chris's thing. Anyway, last night I decided to go downstairs and look through our movies to see if we had the Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo classic. I couldn't find it, so I asked Chris to help me find a different movie that I love (In Good Company), and while he was looking for that he actually found the National Lampoon's movie.

National Lampoon's Vacation came out in 1983. I don't know how old I was when I first saw it, but I was a kid, and as I watched it last night I was thinking that I cannot believe my mom let me watch this!?! Maybe it was a censored version broadcast on television that I first saw? I really don't remember, but that probably makes the most sense. Whatever the case, almost 30 years later & I still love this movie. As I continue to plot and plan my family's upcoming summer road trip, it was just the perfect amount of inspiration at the right time. I have to admit that I fell asleep somewhere after Aunt Edna is left in the pouring rain, tied to a chair in her son's backyard. But here are some of my impressions and lessons learned, as I feel I can more personally relate this time around:

     1. Ellen looks remarkably well put together for the cross country trek. She wears skirts, wedge heels, matching outfits, and her hair is perfectly coiffed at all times. Wow, she raises the bar. Obviously, I will dress for comfort when we make our trip. But I will think of Ellen and try my best to look cute too.

     2. The kids don't have DVD players to entertain them for thousands of miles, nor an iPod or DS between them. They do each have a Walkman, so they're not totally without electronic distractions, but they don't even complain that much about how bored they are. As I've been mentally debating the chances of us surviving our trip without the aid of DVD players, Russ and Audrey give me hope.
     3. A wicker picnic basket packed with lunch meat sandwiches, while quaint, is a big no-no. Both for reasons of food safety and because it offers no protection again Aunt Edna's dog peeing on lunch. While we won't be traveling with our dog, I can't help but think the Griswolds are lucky they didn't get food poisoning. I will not make the same mistake! Our food will be well packed in an ultra-cold cooler.

     4. Hopefully I can manage to get our luggage a lot more secure than the Griswolds. I will not take it so lightly if we lose a suitcase or three along the way. As much as possible will be crammed inside our fairly miniscule minivan, yet I'm pretty sure I won't be able to escape the need to bring along the rooftop luggage carrier. I will make sure Chris gets it up there good and tight before we hit the road. Never mind that I will probably also have to bring a step stool so I can reach the luggage carrier when the need arises.

     5. Remember to stop when tired. Clark is lucky that everything turned out okay after he fell asleep at the wheel, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be so lucky. I must remember to always take a break when I'm getting too tired, and to not push my limits too much in this department!

     6. Don't be too tied down to a schedule. Although a schedule will be necessary because I plan on making nightly reservations ahead of time, I'll try not to make the same mistake Clark made by scheduling everything down to the minute and not allowing for any spontaneity.

     7. Know where I'm going and pay attention to my surroundings. Getting lost in the ghetto in the dark and running off a closed road are two scenarios I do not wish to re-create. You really dropped the bomb there, Clark. Thank God for GPS, but I will also have a route outlined on a map and/or printed directions because I know all too well that the GPS is not without fault.

     8. Divide the cash and never, ever let anybody see all of the cash in my wallet. Clark, if you had let Ellen hold onto half of the cash, you wouldn't have got yourself in such a bind after crashing your car and being bullied into turning over all your money to the thug mechanics. I'm not sure exactly how I'll work this out yet, but all the money will definitely not be in one place. And of course my preferred method of payment is plastic (Love those American Express points. Maybe someday we'll actually have enough to do something with them!). So I will need to guard that card with my life!

Since I fell asleep, I'll have to watch the movie again. Maybe even tonight, after the kids are in bed. I'm sure I can glean even  more gems of inspiration from the Griswold expedition! Do you know of any other movies I should watch or books I should read as I prepare for a super long road trip?

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