When I was a kid growing up in California, we made frequent trips up and down Highway 99 to visit grandparents and assorted relatives. I have distinct memories of the songs and baseball games we listened to on the radio as we made those road trips.
For 8 years running, JT and I have made an annual July road trip to Cape Cod. We have lots of traditions for this trip, including lunch at Cracker Barrel in Rhode Island and listening to music that I select for the six hour drive. Those songs become the soundtrack to our annual trip and evoke memories of the journey long after our yearly camping trip is complete.
When the annual trip first began, JT sat in his booster in the back seat of the car and the music we played came from playlists I burned on to CDs. Over the years, the boy grew. His booster seat was retired and eventually he moved up to the front seat. My silver SUV was replaced by a blue station wagon. My co-pilot came to have specific music preferences and he's no longer the seven year old who rocked out to Lenny Kravitz as we sped through Connecticut, though the memory of that trip is forever in my mind.
This year, he's made a playlist to join my collections. We have some podcasts of This American Life, Radiolab, and the Moth Radio Hour to help keep us company. We've got a loaner car while my VW is in the shop getting repaired and we're rolling north in a spacious Nissan Pathfinder that we've already named the Behemoth.
But the boy remains my co-pilot companion, getting tall so quickly that I can now envision the time when he will share the driving obligations. This morning, we'll make the familiar drive north singing and laughing and listening to songs that will become our soundtrack for the summer of 2013. Certain songs will come to evoke this year's Cape Cod trip and we'll have some more memories to share. Let the journey begin!