AmaZe Magazine :  CUBA
THRIVE NYC :
Go to the Galapagos Islands - Regarding kindness and the survival of the fittest...
Anniversary Issue 2007
Ashes and Snow at The Nomadic Museum
The Villager :
Ashes and Snow at The Nomadic Museum - New age Noah transforms a bestiary
Volume 74, Number 45 | March 16 - 22, 2005

Manhatten walking tours
National Geographic :
Manhatten walking tours
- When I moved here in the 1970's to work for the Parks Dept. I biked and walked everywhere...
Nov/Dec Issue 2006

AmaZe Magazine :  CUBA
AmaZe Magazine :
CUBA - Cuba is a modern parenthesis. I am just back from a writer’s jaunt to Cuba...
Anniversary Issue 2006
Hiking Is Where The Heart Is
harpersmarket.com:
Hiking Is Where The Heart Is
- Take a Hike. . . But Bring Some Sexy Lingerie
September, '06
Very Gai Paris and Beyond
Lonely Planet:
Very Gai Paris and Beyond
- A destination dedicated to indulgence opens its arms to gay & lesbian travelers.
May 1-31, '06
Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet:
By The Seat Of My Pants
- If you don't pack your sense of humour with your sunscreen, sooner or later you'll get burned!
May 1-31, '06
Budget Travel Online:  Trips for Families With Teenagers
Budget Travel Online:
Trips for Families With Teenagers
- Long days on the road leave plenty of time to open up.
Tuesday, April 18, '06
National Geographic Norway
National Geographic Traveler:
Dispatch/Norway
- A vision of Norway.
A Special Park Guide, Sep '05
Grace: Chile: Top to bottom
Grace:
Chile: Top to bottom
- The thrill of adventure with Wickham Boyle and friends.
Winter 2002 Special Holiday Issue
National Geographic Explorer:
Tundra Safari
- A mom-and-son trip to see the polar bears of Churchill, Manitoba, becomes a rite of passage.
A Special Park Guide, July '03
Gay City News: The Allure of Contradictions
Gay City News:
The Allure of Contradictions - Japan offers travelers a mind-boggling mix of tradition and technology.
Volume 4, Issue 2 Jan, '05
National Geographic Traveler:  Dispatch/Tansania
National Geographic Traveler:
Dispatch/Tansania
- There is a place in north Tansania called Lake Mayara Tree Lodge.
A Favorite Places Guide, Feb '04

 

Budget Travel Online, Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Trips for Families With Teenagers

Long days on the road leave plenty of time to open up.

Teenagers, and especially teenage boys, don't exactly go begging to hang out with Mom for a week straight. So when my 16-year-old son Henry brought up the idea, I jumped at the chance to spend time with him and only him.

Henry had just spent the year away from our New York City apartment, living with his tennis coach in Los Angeles and seeing if he had what it takes to compete on the junior circuit. It was a tough year for him; he was plagued with injuries and finally stopped playing. In the midst of disappointments on the court, Henry discovered a new passion: American history. Something clicked, and suddenly the struggles, people, and events he had been reading about seemed more than just stuff he had to learn for school. Henry wanted to find out more about the U.S., hence the request for a cross-country road trip on the move back home.

Over the years, I had found it increasingly more difficult to connect to Henry than to his older sister, Wilson. We gals could yap away about clothes, relationships, or social justice, and laugh or fight with equal abandon, but Henry rarely seemed all that interested in sharing. "You wish you had two girls," he'd say when pushed about giving us the silent treatment. "Two chatty girls."

In the hope of finding out more about my son--and scoring major points as a cool mom--I let Henry plan the journey. He researched the routes, chose whatever detours caught his fancy, and was free to blast hip-hop by Shyne and Jay-Z. Before entering his world, I made two requests: I wanted to visit my 90-year-old father in Durham, N.C., and for the duration of the trip, we wouldn't eat in a single fast-food restaurant.

Henry had his driving permit and was excited to pilot our giant rented SUV, which we dubbed the Dinosaur. It got awful gas mileage, but was perfect for hauling home a year's worth of detritus. The day after school ended we hit the road, heading east with the Dinosaur full of dirty laundry, far too many sneakers, five tennis rackets, loads of books and CDs, and a not-so-miniature minifridge.

The hillsides in the desert just beyond L.A. were covered with hundreds of high-tech white windmills. Their metal arms whipped in furious circles, and when we got out to switch seats, the wind they created nearly blew me off my feet. "The windmills are really cool," said Henry as he slowly navigated the dusty road. "My generation is going to face terrible shortages. I'm afraid we won't be able to drive or do anything because the resources will all be used up." I'd somehow forgotten how much I loved this kid.

We arrived at Joshua Tree National Park as the sun began to dip. On a hike to a promontory that we called "the thumb" (Keys View on the park map), Henry ran ahead, arms and fleet feet pumping up and down rocks. I arrived on top a little later, catching my breath as Henry pointed out a tiny deer mouse eating seeds in the nook of one of the eponymous Joshua trees.

The rest of the week unfurled with a mix of natural wonders, American kitsch, Southern cities, sunsets in the rearview mirror, afternoon naps in green fields, and snippets of conversation that added up to genuine discussions. We arrived at the rim of the Grand Canyon at sunset, and saw velvet-antlered elk the next morning. At a Native American swap meet, Henry dished a few tidbits he had learned in history class. "Our government herded 9,000 Native Americans into Fort Sumner in the 1860s," he said. "Can you imagine walking with your babies, animals, and all your possessions in this heat, without any water?"

In New Mexico, we saw a drive-up liquor store. "I don't think that's such a good idea," Henry joked. He then opened up, telling me about driving a friend's car home--without a license--from a party because the friend had been drinking. I told him that all things considered I was proud of him for not drinking and for facing a difficult decision.

At some point, Henry bought a tape of '80s tunes at a gas station. "Hey, Ma!" he said. "It was two bucks!" I sang every word to "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Lucky Star" to Henry's feigned disgust. But soon enough he was singing along with me.

In Texas we listened as someone on a Christian radio station proclaimed Harry Potter a dire danger to America's youth. After eating fantastic steaks at Cattlemen's Steakhouse on the outskirts of Oklahoma City's old stockyards, we waddled across the street to a shop where Henry found the perfect belt buckle: a huge gold and silver oval of a screaming eagle--"cowboy bling," in Henry's words.

We hit 2,000 miles in Memphis and celebrated with a delicious rack of ribs at Corky's. Billboards on I-40 in Tennessee promised the World's Largest Fireworks Supermarket, a must-stop for Henry, especially with July 4th around the corner.

In Durham, Henry told Grandpa that we'd been to the Grand Canyon. "The big ditch?" said Grandpa. "Is that still there?" I told my father that a lot of folks ask the same question about him, and we all laughed.

We hit 3,000 miles at Washington, D.C., by which time I was singing "Pass my cash!" along with Shyne. The Dinosaur hit 3,251 miles on the odometer as we rolled into New York, with Journey crooning "Don't Stop Believin' " on the radio. And when we finally arrived at our apartment--totally exhausted, excited to be out of the car, with a blur of images in our heads--I knew we had plenty to talk about.

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.