This obviousness is prompted by this: I've been thinking about my family's cross-country road trip in June 1982, moving from Camarillo, CA to Virginia Beach, VA. We took about a week. My brother and I were way too young to do any of the driving, so it was all Mom and Dad, driving our long (long) and brown Ford LTD station wagon* and towing Dad's 1965 Corvette Stingray. The Corvette was, that week, the world's fanciest travel trailer, as loaded as it could get with boxes and stuff.
By design, we started out slowly: my brother and I still had school for part of the day on June 11th, 1982 (last day of 2nd grade for me, last day of 5th for him) so that delayed us, then the rise on Hwy. 101 out of Camarillo slowed us — Dad says we prrrrrrrrrobably were towing more weight than the LTD was rated for, though luckily we reached our destination just fine — and we went as far as Barstow, CA. Stayed with the sister of one of my uncles, and her family, in that town; then, the next day, we headed out along not I-15 (where the drugs began to take hold) but I-40, because Las Vegas wasn't on our route.
The Grand Canyon was. Sightseeing was not a priority for this trip, except at the start: we stayed a couple of nights on the South Rim, boggling at that big of a hole in the world, then, once we hit the road again, looking at another (smaller) hole, Meteor Crater. After that, the trip got more functional: GET, TO, VIRGINIA. With stops to sleep at Albuquerque, NM (our cars slowly climbing another rise, this one east of there), Oklahoma City, OK (delayed by the A/C going out so that we stopped in Amarillo, TX to fix it), Memphis, then...
...somewhere. One more night before reaching the Virginia Beach Navy Lodge? Two more nights? Did we sleep in Eastern Tennessee, and/or somewhere in North Carolina, while waiting to finish the trip? Turns out neither Mom nor Dad nor I can remember. I could ask my brother, but I doubt he knows either. It's like I think we drove into a hole. A memory hole.
OBVIOUSLY WE STOPPED SOMEWHERE. We'd definitely remember if we'd needed to sleep in the car, using copies of Mad Magazine as pillows and asking on the CB for truckers to sing lullabies for us. I think we at least drove through Knoxville, but I have no memory of doing so, and I'm also pretty sure we went through North Carolina instead of swinging up through Bristol into Virginia, because the freeway routes that way are a little shorter than going up through Virginia.
We made it. I remember that. I also recall the two weeks we spent at the Naval base at Little Creek, north side of Virginia Beach, staying in the Navy Lodge while Mom and Dad looked for a house to rent. I read, played on swings, and got bored, not having to think about oh my God we need a place to live oh my God. Though of course I then got to learn that breathing in the Southern humidity was, um, not going to be fun. (My 8-year-old body did not like it. No sir.)
There are other, huger swaths of my life I don't remember, either; not recalling the end of this trip shouldn't bother me, but it does, a little bit. But finding out where we were when would be a lame use for time-travel.
* Yes, the same model that the Family Truckster from National Lampoon's Vacation was based on, though that Truckster was made specially for the film.