Moms - Road Trip games and car travel games for kids! Car Trip Games to play in the car
 101 Car Travel Games & Ideas for Kids
Home | Games for Kids | Games for Toddlers | Games For Babies | Travel Freebies
Games for Kids
Ideas for Toddlers
Ideas for Babies
Printable Games
Travel Articles
More Articles:
Car Bingo Song Lyrics
Coloring Pages Battleship
Car Sick Kids String Games
Cootie Catcher CardGames
Travel Journal Doin' Disney
Scavenger Hunt Travel Tray
Aluminum Foil Fun Travel Beds
Flying with Kids Kids in NYC
Pipe Cleaner fun  Kids in DC
Travel Pillows Counting Cows
Cats Cradle Travel Journal
License Plates String Figures
Roadside Oddities Card Games
All Articles...




Merry Miler Memories
By Laurel Smith (Roadtrip Mom)

Merry Miler
In the 1970's the standard family car was a station wagon. Minivans hadn't really been invented and were a far off dream. My family was on the cutting edge of the minivan movement. At a time when other families were still driving around in their station wagons, we had just traded in our wood side wagon for this brand new, big blue Chevrolet Merry Miler. (I'm the tall one in the picture!).

Ok, so it wasn't a "mini" van. It was a regular full sized van with a raised bubble top, a cooking stove, seats that folded down into sleeping areas, curtains for privacy, and a sink -- kind of like a mini-RV, but without a bathroom. It was bright blue with a big white stripe down the side to match the huge bubble top, and a ladder on the back so you could reach the luggage rack. Kids were not allowed to climb on the ladder, ever. We had a porta potty that we'd bring along for big trips, but used it only in emergencies!

In the beginning, our Merry Miler saw more than it's share of Girl Scout camp outs, Indian Guides pow wows, and school field trips. Then we began our many family road trips. In those days we didn't wear seat belts, and we were free to move about the cabin. 

On those long road trips, we would set up the Formica table in the back where my brother and my two sisters and I played endless hours of Monopoly, Crazy 8's, and drew in our trip journals. 

The very first entry in my journal included a drawing of our van. (May 26, 1976.)

I mentioned the Merry Miler in my journal several times. I can remember riding in it through hot deserts in Arizona, along the cliffs in California, through hills of Tennessee, mountains of Colorado, and along beaches in Florida and Texas ...from Disneyland to Disney World and beyond. 

We listened to Mom and Dad talk to passing truckers on our CB radio. We laughed at our parents' CB handles that were  today's equivalent of a chat room screen name. Dad was "The Ancient Mariner" (being a former seaman). Mom was "The Blue Goose" (also the name we gave to our Merry Miler).  Once we took Grandma with us on a long road trip from Memphis to New Orleans to Orlando and back. Her CB radio handle was "Wild Turkey". 

Grandma was so cool.

Sometimes we all slept in the van using the bunk bed up top and the larger bed made from folding down the table, and other times we brought along some tents which were much roomier for our family of six. Rarely did we ever see another Merry Miler, and never did we see one the same color as ours. I don't know if she was a one-of-a-kind, but she felt like it to us.

There was no anonymity in that big powder blue vehicle. Those Merry Milerblack "Merry Miler" decals were unmistakable, and high top roof did not fit into the garage, so it was always parked in the driveway on display. Of course it's recognizable attributes had good points as well -- we never had a problem finding it in even the busiest parking lot. And on the days when Mom picked us up from school, everyone knew which car was ours. 

It didn't even become embarrassing until we were teens and had to be seen driving around in it. You see, we all learned how to drive on the Merry Miler, and even drove it during the road test for our driver's licenses. Several years with four teen-age drivers were hard on the old gal, and she suffered quite a few dents as a result. She was always there for us though. 

Then there were the farm days in the later years when we used the old Merry Miler like a truck. We loaded her full of lumber, or bags of grain. She pulled our horse trailer full of horses, and dragged a sled full of hay bales from the pasture. Once we drove home from a cattle auction with a few young calves in the back seat area.  Before our water well was working, we used to have to haul water out to the barn in big 50 gallon drums for the horses every day. I guess we hit the brakes too hard and one of those drums spilled over inside the van which made quite an interesting event as water spilled out like a tidal wave when the sliding door was opened. 

I'll never forget the night Mom and I parked the Merry Miler next to the barn and camped in it when my pony was expecting a foal, so that we wouldn't miss the birth. 

The Merry Miler took us across the country and back more than once. She taught us a few lessons and is a mainstay in my collection of childhood with memories. 

Finally, after many years and thousands of miles, my siblings and I were told to give her a detailed cleaning in order to put it up for sale. Way back under those seat cushions we found a couple of tiny plastic Monopoly hotels that had been traveling around with us from the very beginning. Eventually we sold our van to another family whom we hoped would love her as much as we had.

It was like saying goodbye to a very old friend. 

~ ..· ´¨¨))   -:¦:- 
        ¸.·´  .·´¨¨)) 
      ((¸¸.·´  ..·´   Road Trip Mom -:¦:- 
     -:¦:-    ((¸¸.·´* 

Laurel Smith is a former schoolteacher and mother of three who has logged thousands of road trip miles both as a kid and a mom.  Visit her website for more than 101 travel games and activities for kids at

thumbs up
Road Trip Mom recommends:

Back Seat Travel Games Tin

For kids of all ages. A travel tins with various activities. Comes with magnetic pieces & activity cards. Hours of Fun!

Available at Amazon

Back Seat Survival Kit
From Klutz. A full-color book of car  activities, plus a game pad, and a vinyl pouch full of everything you need  Hours of Fun!

Available at Amazon

Don't Miss These:
Games for Kids | Toddlers | Babies | Articles | Travel Freebies

Roadtrip Mom Recommends:
Ultimate Road Trip Games!
thumbs up
It's loaded with printable car games!

Download it now!

ALL material on this site is Copyright ©2001- All rights reserved.
Feel free to link to this site, but do not copy the articles, games, activities, travel ideas, photos or images onto another website or onto printed material without my specific authorization. All original images are also owned by this site. Advertiser's images belong to their respective advertiser.  Stock images are licensed for use on this site. There are several articles available for reprint that may be used on other sites, provided you abide by their terms of use. Please do not use any of the unauthorized material from this website without permission. Thank you.
Home Privacy Statement Subscribe using any feed reader! Moms Minivan Facebook fans!