My wife Andrea and I recently returned from a truly delightful and action-packed Labor Day weekend visit with our son, our daughter and her fiance`in Washington, D.C. With overnight stops to see family and friends in New Jersey on both the way down and the way back, this road trip took eight days and added 1218 miles to the odometer of our trusty, dark red, Ford Taurus station wagon.
Now, to me, on a long trip, conversation is the best stimulant. However, putting together the right collection of music CD’s, for those times when the conversation wanes, is one of the most essential parts of preparing for such a journey.
The first and foremost requirement for any disc that makes it into our zippered, black and silver, “Honda”-emblazoned, CD travel case is that it must contain music that both Andrea and I enjoy. Driving music also needs to be energizing, invigorating and endowed with a high degree of something I call “sing-along-ability.” I don’t think there’s anything that can make driving the New Jersey Turnpike enjoyable, but belting out “Spirit In The Night” or “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” as you cruise on past Newark certainly elevates the experience.
The CD’s that passed muster for this trip were: So Far by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; All That You Can’t Leave Behind by U2; Greatest Hits Volume One The Singles from The Goo Goo Dolls; and Volumes 1 & 2 of Motown 1960s from the 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection series.
Complementing those six albums were four carefully compiled mix CD’s containing a wide variety of classic tracks that also easily fit the bill. There was a two disc set entitled “Songs To Be Sung” and another two disc set simply called “Rockers.” These collections included songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, John Hiatt, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers, The Band, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and a stellar list of many more of our favorite artists.
Thus prepared and finally packed, off we drove.
From Southeast New Hampshire to Northern New Jersey: RiverVale and Washington Township; then to central NJ: Chatham and Cherry Hill; finally arriving in Washington, D.C.: Connecticut Ave., NW, just above Dupont Circle. While based there, we paid visits to Arlington, VA; Potomac, College Park and Silver Springs, MD; the White House and the Watergate, to name a few.
As usually happens, Andrea and I found many topics to discuss and we never listened to all the music we brought. The discs by U2, CSN&Y, The Goo Goo Dolls and one each from the Songs to Be Sung set and the Rockers set did find their way into the disc player and all served their purpose admirably.
With our voices raised to the strains of “Slide,” “Our House,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Beautiful Day,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “The Weight” and many more incredible songs, we happily passed the time and covered the miles, rolling down that long ribbon of east coast highway. At the start, eagerly anticipating the sight of our children’s smiling faces and then, as we headed home, longing for a good night’s sleep under our own roof and together in our own bed. Home, sweet home.
What songs drive you?