Goodbye, Girl

By M.L. Lyke
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, May 12, 2002

We hit the highway south out of oozy gray Seattle, two sun-seeking road-trippers with no particular place to go and all the time to get there. I was at the wheel of the Honda CR-V; my 14-year-old daughter, Liz, rode shotgun. Too soon, I thought, she'd be in the driver's seat and I'd be out of the picture.

Maybe not soon enough for her.

Nothing's as simple as a free-form road trip, and nothing's as potentially tangled as the relationship of mother and teenage daughter. I was pretty sure my coming-of-age companion would rather be spending precious vacation time with friends -- "my friends" -- the teens she sighs with, rolls her eyes with, when clueless Mom -- "Mahhm!" -- comes around.

But the long, winding road to nowhere is full of surprises, and so was my daughter.

Trip prep was a cinch. Power down computer. Check. Pack road atlas and camera. Check. Stock car with water and junk food. Check. Recite Tao wisdom: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." Check.

Fill 'er up, crank up the rock-and-roll, blow town.

Check, check, check.

We headed down Interstate 5 listening to Liz's Red Hot Chili Peppers CD, our heads nodding to the easy beat of "Road Trippin' ":

Now let us drink the stars

It's time to steal away

Let's go get lost

Right here in the U.S.A.

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