It is never easy driving with the person who taught you how to drive. It’s even more challenging to drive with your teacher/father for 3,000+ miles in a variety of climates and conditions. My dad would occasionally correct my form and re-educated me on driving 101. I politely nodded my head as I was transported to being 16 again trying to learn how to drive in my father’s truck. I quickly learned the only way to get out of the never-ending driving test, was to encourage my father to rest (aka take a nap.)
The road trip with my father was an incredible experience. I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. My father had always wanted to see the American country side, especially the old frontier lands and the wild west. I was happy I could share this experience with him.
Some of my earliest memories of my dad are of him indulging in his guilty pleasure, western novels. These little books depicted the wild west with stories of Buffalo Bill, Jessy James an the entire cast of historical character in fictional stories.
My dad was excited to drive through the Black Hills in South Dakota and through Cowboy country in Wyoming, the deserts of Nevada and the former gold rush territory in California. Sometimes his eyes would widen in excitement at the site of historical western gear. Almost like a kid in a candy store.
In Cheyenne we saw many of the carts that transported millions of Americans out west. As we traveled on I-80 to California we constantly discussed how the settlers could have possibly made the long voyage from the east to the west in those buggies. For goodness sake we were exhausted after a five day drive in our very modern car (well compared to what horse cart.)
I actually think one of my father’s highlights of the trip, in addition to Mount Rushmore, was visiting Old Sacramento. Preserved in all its old time glory it fulfilled all my father’s expectations and made his western novels come to life.
If you have never visited Old Sacramento you should go to the Railroad museum, take the train and hang out on see everything you can of this great town.