Wild West Adventure begins

 My wife, Melani, is the planner. She researched and mapped for a year. Her itinerary, while flexible, was a showcase for some of her favourite things: quirky museums, bizarre restaurants, Frank Lloyd Wright and rock hunting.

 Trevor, at 12, is a veteran roadtripper. He doesn’t much care where he haul him off to, so long as there’s a Ripley’s museum and his parents don’t sing too loudly in the car. This will be the first big trip for his half-sister, Kendra. She’s 16. At first she balked at the idea of leaving her friends and boyfriend behind for three weeks. But our spirits lifted when we saw she’d put snowy mountain pictures on her desktop.

 Me, I’m into blacktop. I cherish those moments when there’s miles of open road, just me and a convoy of truckers, and everyone else is asleep, trusting me to get them there – wherever there happens to be – safely. I love driving, and it’s a good thing, because I’m the only one of us qualified to take the wheel and we had more than 10,000 kilometres ahead of us.

 Fasten your seatbelts; we’re taking you on one helluva ride as we hunt the tacky and the sublime.

I love my car. I do.
Like most families over the decades, we play the licence-plate game. We had a long-standing payout – $100 to the first person to see a Hawaiian plate. You can’t drive here from there, after all. When Melani claimed to have seen one in Montreal, even though none of us witnessed it, we dropped the bet to $50. Just in case.
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