Reflections of summer and family road trips bring to mind traveling with my parents with lunch spread under trees in a country church yard.

There was no fancy destinations for us but an extended family visit, something longer than a holiday weekend. Visits never lasted more than a week, if that.

My grandparents were smart enough to shoo my parents out of the house and not meddle. They understood that as young adults Ted and Frances needed to depend upon each other without advice from home.

Long-distance phone calls were rare and if one came it was either really good or bad news.

Sometimes it is difficult to view the past without distortion of modern technology.

A phone call came last week from a college friend who is nearly off the grid in Idaho. Burt has electric power but no land-line telephone. He is connected to the world via satellite internet. The nearest cell tower is an hour away so he uses a cheap cellphone via his home Wi-Fi.

A phone call to that isolated spot is nothing but before cellphones keeping in touch with someone who was away from home was complicated.

People didn’t plan a hotel stay without reservations, so that was a contact. All contacts would be one way via post cards.

There were no packaged cleaning cloths, so we traveled with a couple of dampened wash cloths in glass jars.

There were restaurants along the way but there weren’t fast food joints at every intersection. We carried food that didn’t require refrigeration and roadside picnics were common. We had drinking water in glass jugs, fruit and sandwiches.

Few cars had air conditioning, ours didn’t. With windows and vents open there was enough air moving through the car to keep occupants comfortable. Traffic moved slower.

Cars today don’t have little rotating window vents forward of the side windows. I think they were a good idea but I haven’t seen a car without air conditioning in a very long time. The last one was a police car.

People in the South went north to cooler temperatures and higher altitudes of the mountains while people in the snow states drove South. Women wore hair nets.

I’m about to start a road trip to South Georgia. I’ll trace the route my father drove before Interstate Highways. I enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

I’ve loaded a plastic jug to collect drinking water at Indian Springs and planned a leisurely route I haven’t traveled in years. I dread the stress of driving on I-75.

You can’t enjoy the character of land when you are passing it at a hundred and seventeen feet per second.

Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He can be reached at