The Longenecker Sisters’ Road Trip, Part 1

Girls’ road trips are part of the landscape of American pop culture. Who can forget Thelma and Louise? Wanting to take a short vacation from their dreary lives, Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) head out from Arkansas to the Grand Canyon in a 1966 Ford Thunderbird. They stop at a roadhouse and it’s all downhill from there. Crime and mayhem ensue until finally the gun-toting girls and their car zoom over the edge of the Grand Canyon. Both Davis and Sarandon received Best Actress Academy award nominations (1991).

Image courtesy Wikipedia
Image courtesy Wikipedia

And what about Oprah and friend Gayle who took off in a much ballyhooed road trip documented on TV and watched by millions . . .

Image Huffington Post
Image Huffington Post

Here’s how the Huffington Post encapsulates their excursion:

In 2006, Oprah Winfrey and her friend Gayle King embarked on what became a much talked-about (and hilarious) 3000-mile road trip across the country. When they weren’t cruising the highway in their red Chevy Impala, the two joined a local game of Bingo in Wichita, met some real-life cowboys on the range and crashed a wedding in Tulsa, surprising and amusing nearly everyone they came in contact with.

In spite of an anxiety-ridden moment on the George Washington Bridge, Oprah and Gayle completed their trip unscathed. When they returned to Chicago, Oprah handed over the keys to that Chevy to a deserving woman named Reola Holdaway.

The Longenecker sisters, Marian, Janice, and Jean are not movie stars or TV personalities. None of us has owned a gun much less aimed one at a policeman as Thelma did. But as siblings, we have done many other things together — playing and fighting as children, working in the tomato patch in Bainbridge, PA, even singing in a trio at church, sometimes with less than perfect results.

Scred Trios_final_7x9_300

The last time any of us can remember vacationing together was back in 1977, the year Daddy broke all sales records at Longenecker Farm Supply, won a free trip to Jamaica and took the whole family including his married daughters and son Mark. We left our husbands and young children behind and frolicked in Ocho Rios for a week — just Mom, Daddy, my sisters and brother Mark.

As married women with children, we have met at least once a year at the Longenecker homestead in Pennsylvania. Recently, we have been clearing out the house after Mother’s death making decisions about her possessions together. And now, as a pause in our separate journeys, we celebrate with a road trip. So, you see, it’s high time to make more memories.


The plan: My sisters and I, with two of our daughters, are gathering from Florida and Pennsylvania for a Merry-May celebration in Charleston, SC. We’ll get there by car and I’ll record our adventures here in two installments. It won’t be the Italian Riviera but we can refresh and renew our sisterhood close to the Charleston harbor inlet leading out to the Atlantic Ocean. And it won’t be Thelma and Louise, or Oprah and Gayle, but it will be Marian, Janice, and Jean.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

In the meantime, have you and close family members taken a road trip together recently or long ago? Tell us about the adventure here.


31 thoughts on “The Longenecker Sisters’ Road Trip, Part 1

  1. Marian — Oh my blessed word, you’re going to have a complete and total blast! I’m so glad you’re going to capture and share the adventure with your readers!

    You asked, “Have you and close family members taken a road trip together recently or long ago?”

    Let me preface my answer by saying that we should have remembered how much we argued (knock-em-down-drag-em-out-fights!) when we were growing up. Yet somehow time managed to fade that memory…

    A few yeas ago, my only sibling and I went to Mexico together. Our personalities are on the opposite poles of the spectrum. She assured me that she’s “practically fluent” in Spanish. Yet somehow we nearly (oh so close!) bought a timeshare — which I assure you was NOT on the docket!


    1. Coming up Saturday – maybe sooner! (With this crazy new WordPress editor making last minute edits sometimes results in premature publishing, like this evening for instance.)


  2. How delightful, Marian. Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures. My sister and our favorite, and our oldest cousin, and I annually head on a little road trip to our family reunion in western NY. Lots of family stories and giggling. That happens first week of July. I can’t wait !


    1. Oh, Beverly, by then your memoir-writing course will be history and you can take a well-deserved break. Besides, family stories shared can help flesh out some of those scenes you have probably been struggling with. I wonder whether your reunion is in the Adirondacks or close to them.

      I’d love to hear/see more, maybe on Facebook. 😉


  3. I love road trips we take one every year. When we go to Miami and Pennsylvania the children love stopping and meeting people. They enjoy the hotels especially if it has a pool. Christmas before last they were swimming in an outside pool in Bonita Spring, Fl. After going to Disney the day before they had so much fun. We always have a great time. How nice that your all getting together for a road trip – can’t wait to hear all about it. Enjoy, and tell them I said hi.


    1. I know you come to Pennsylvania regularly , Gloria, but I didn’t know about the Miami trip. My sisters read this blog sooner or later, but I’ll remind them today, you sent a greeting. Happy travels!


  4. Your reunion sounds great – so nice to keep in contact with siblings. I have two sisters and a brother and we took many many long trips together – many of them around the world from school to visit our parents abroad.


    1. Did you start from the British isles or from Sweden where you now live? I believe you grew up in England, and you know how fortunate you have been to enjoy around-the-world geography lessons together with family. What stories you can tell, Fiona!


  5. There are so many films I have not seen . For one reason or another I missed them and keep on missing them …Thelma and Louise is one of them definitely on my list .
    I love the way you and your family get along , keep it touch and work things out together . It’s the way it should be .
    I only have one sister who is 10 years older than me and she’s always been my hero . The years between us mean nothing now we are older and she is stil my hero .
    She used take me on adventures years ago . I remember being about 15 and she was 25 , she had a fallout with her then boyfriend and she took me on a camping trip . She cooked me the hottest chilli ever and we got sun burnt from being in the sun all day . Bet she got a telling off . She was fun then and still is .


    1. I enjoy reading about your older sister as mentor, friend, and traveling companion too it seems. What a wise one!

      As for my family, we work at getting along. Naturally, there are little flareups here and there, but we have an unspoken vow never to have a complete falling out. Life’s too short for our relationships to be anything otherwise.


  6. Love your Thelma & Louise road trip photos! Never saw all of the movie, but I know the theme.

    My sisters and I took Mom to Florida to visit my brother about 4 years ago. We had the same kind of conversation: Oh my goodness, I think this is the first time we’ve traveled together in a car on a trip since, who knows when–finally figured out it was before my oldest sister headed off to college. So that was a long time ago!

    To meet up, I flew to Huntsville, Ala. from Va. and they drove down from Indiana to pick me up (my nephew lived near Huntsville at the time); flight arrival times are always uncertain and so are road trip times, but they pulled into the airport road just as my plane was landing. Mother raved about the great timing and we had a marvelous trip overall, & reconnecting with the Florida franchoff. (sp?) (Are you Pa. Dutch enough to know/use that word??)


    1. Thank you, Melodie, for adding a scenario to the Oh-my-goodness-who-knows-when scrapbook. About the PA Dutch dialect expression, I think it’s “freundschaft,” which I think means “branch of the family, but I don’t know of a surefire way to check the spelling.

      Yes, it’s all about timing. We’re already talking about when and where to meet again, perhaps making it a yearly event.


  7. You will have so much fun. 6 years ago I took my mom (recently widowed) and my daughter (recently divorced) to Sedona, Arizona where we met my mom´s youngest sister (who is my age and lives in Arizona). We had such a good time and even took a trip to the Grand Canyon one day. It was what we all needed. Highly recommend these female family trips. Look forward to episode 2.


    1. I wonder whether you have written about this convergence of family in Sedona. It takes a lot of planning, but we all agree: The best thing about it is just being together and catching up with the minutiae of our family lives.

      Thanks for reading and commenting today, Darlene.


  8. My sister and I drove from Minnesota to New Hampshire and back to be in my best friend’s wedding. Sis was 19 and I was 18. My mom says she can’t believe she allowed us to do it, but she admits we were very mature for our ages, and she had total confidence that we wouldn’t do anything stupid; and we didn’t. It was an unforgettable journey; not much adventure, though. We really were incredibly mature, and cautious.


    1. I can’t calculate the mileage between Minnesota and New Hampshire but I assume over a thousand miles regardless of your starting point. Just a guess, but I imagine your mother may have had more misgivings than she revealed at the time. Roots and wings, you have both – and a sister’s loyalty and affection.

      Thanks for the sweet anedote, Tracy.


      1. More than 1500 miles, one way. Mom tells me she only had misgivings when she thought about it in retrospect. We were fortunate that she trusted us; she was fortunate that we earned her trust by never betraying it. I’m glad my parents taught me to take risks, by showing confidence that I was capable of doing whatever I wanted to do.


    1. We hit a deluge of water from a cloudburst as we entered Charleston. The water was about 2-feet deep up to the belly of my niece Heidi’s SUV, which was headed the wrong way down a one-way street. We heard a cop car beep loud and quick and turned around in a New York second, believe me. We were just relieved to have not gotten a ticket.

      I’m happy to have you follow us Saturday on our four-day adventures. A miracle: the weather cleared!


    1. Yes, indeed It was a pause in the journey. Though Mother’s estate has not been fully settled yet, it seemed appropriate to celebrate together anyway. Thanks for adding your thoughts here, Marie.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Now that sounds like fun Marian. That should provide you with some good writing material, and gratefully, a happier ending than Thelma and Louise. 🙂


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