Perusing them now, I confirm what I've always known: my siblings and I fought a lot, and it's amazing that my parents never carried through on their threats to PULL THE CAR OVER RIGHT NOW and YOU CAN ALL #$@% WALK HOME. (I don't know that my parents ever said #$@%, but it was implied.)
Day 4, 5/31/78
My father is in a bad mood and wants to go back to Illinois tomorrow. I have the feeling he'll change his mind. Maybe.
Day 3, 7/7/79
Got up. Fought. Took down the tent. Fought. Left campsite. Made up.
Swedish bakery! Yummmmmmmmy!
We stopped at a winery. Mom and Dad say the wine stinks.
Providing the outline for the journals were, in theory, the great natural and historic sites that were our destinations ("We are now at the [Philadelphia] zoo. It's not the greatest zoo in the world."). However, the greater value of the texts is the insight they offer into road-tripping with tweens in the 1970s.
I meticulously recorded every encounter we had with sugar, whether candy corn, napoleon, Whitman's Sampler chocolate, eclair, ice cream, turnover, Hawaiian Punch, fudge, or soda:
Day 13, 8/18/78
Woke up, took a shower, ate breakfast, played outside. Bye!
Plains yesterday, hills today.
Kansas City, Missouri.
Day 7, 8/12/78
...With supper we had Pepsi in a shatterproof bottle. When the Pepsi was gone, I tested the bottle, and boy is it shatterproof.
...Since I found my mom's tablecloth, she gave me a prize of 1/4 of a lb. candy corns. Boy are they sweet. Then we looked in stores, got Pepsis at a pizza place, and came back. I was so tired I couldn't sleep straight.
Reading this explains so much. So much.
Of course, we ate more than just sugar. I offered no-holds-barred assessments of the sub-par cuisine at Ho-Jo's and Stuckey's ("It was O.K."; "It wasn't the greatest, but it was O.K."). Few non-sugar foods warranted mention by name. Their relative value was measured in exclamation points, including Bacon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (17), Pizza!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (14), and Ham! (1).
I kept careful track of expenses, probably feeling a little like Laura Ingalls Wilder ("Gee, [the monorail] was expensive. 75¢ per child. My parents gave N and me each a quarter. We paid the rest.").
With a righteousness passed down to me by my father, I wrote often and sternly about "Nutty Drivers!!!!!!!!"
Day 5, 6/1/78
...This really rotten driver just went past us, going more than 60 mph! He was driving like this:
In ignorant bliss, we communed with nature by wreaking havoc on fragile ecosystems.
Day 10, 8/15/78
A tour of the Big Thompson Power Project. Boring! After the tour, we went around back, found peanuts, and gave some to marmots. There were billions of them.
My intent when I began this post was to toss the journals into the recycling bin when I was done, but instead maybe I'll hold onto them for another 37 years.