When I was a kid, a roadtrip entailed getting up at the crack of dawn to bring some overseas relatives to Niagara Falls, and possibly being home before lunch. (It is a 2 1/2 hour drive, usually, but not with my dad at the wheel.) My father did not especially enjoy this ritual, and so his plan was to get it the hell overwith as fast as possible. Hence, the early morning departure, the barrelling down the 401 at Mach One, and looking at the falls for about 3 or 4 minutes. I'm pretty sure he'd have just had us peer at the falls from the moving car, if he thought he could get away with it. Then we piled in the un-air-conditioned car and drove home as if the hound of hell were at our heels. There was no radio on, and talking was impossible because of the gale force winds whipping throughout the vehicle. You felt as though you been through a hurricane by the end of it. A particularly boring hurricane, at that.
Now a roadtrip is a much more pleasant undertaking, since we have air-conditioning and I have much more control over the in-car entertainment. Also, a roadtrip is a no-strings-attached excuse to eat whatever is required to make the trip more bearable and which has the added benefit of doubling as entertainment, too. "Treats for the car" has morphed into "my metric weight in carbohydrates and salt" for my children, and I am not a whole lot better, although I did bring cherries and almonds this time around. But everyone knows that calories are simply neutralized when one is eating in a car moving at 100 KM an hour, so it in no way will effect your health if you consume an entire bag of Miss Vickies Lime and Jalapeno chips in one sitting.
The rest stations along the highway have improved dramatically since I was a kid, too. Say what you will about fast-food chains, they are a spectacular improvement on the independant fast-food offerings that were previously available to the hapless traveller. I recall limp, oily fries, tired hamburgers of dubious origin, and watered down "cola" as the only available food along the 401. Imagine our ecstatic gratitude when the put in a Tim Hortons and a McDonalds along the way.
I am apparently very lucky that I am able to read in a moving car without throwing up. I assumed that everyone was able to do that, until I actually saw someone throw up. (Thing 2, as it happens.) I will happily get in a car and drive anywhere, because it means I have both the opportunity and the excuse to eat nutritionally dubious food and read at the same time, and for hours, too. I am also blessed with the ability to sleep extremely soundly in a moving car, and can do so in about 12 seconds of departure. The Mister and I went to Montreal for the Jazz Festival many years ago, one of the first times we ever went anywhere together. He was more than a little take aback that I conked out before we hit the city limits and only woke up 5 hours later when we stopped to get gas. If he had known then what he knows now, he would have been grateful for the silenc. (When Wendy and I drove to the Laurentians last year, I'm pretty sure neither of us shut up for then entire 16 hour trip. Luckily, it was just us, and neither one of us minded.)
But I think the best part of a roadtrip is the coming home. No amount of potato chips can compare to pulling into one's own driveway.