Foudys take memory lane to Lake Tahoe

Courtesy of Julie Foudy

Julie Foudy has decided to take it slow this summer -- bringing Jimmy Buffet and Frank Sinatra along for the family vacation.

I have these vivid -- some fabulous, some not so fabulous -- childhood memories of driving to Lake Tahoe. It was all six of us rowdy Foudys crammed into a station wagon (with wood paneling, of course) for 500 miles, which meant approximately 10 hours in the car.

Since there was no third row in those wagons, I was the lucky youngest sibling who got shoved in the back with all the bags. No seat belt -- or seat, for that matter -- just me with the bike handles and skateboard wheels poking me in the ribs. Our only forms of entertainment back then were conversation, cards, "I spy" car games and music. Just the six of us screaming over Jimmy Buffet and Frank Sinatra, who gave us a sweet serenade as we asked, "Are we there yet?"

With a somewhat insane flash of nostalgia, I recently said to my husband: Let's DRIVE to Lake Tahoe for the family reunion. We'll pack up the car and hit the road with Jimmy Buffet and ol' Blue Eyes leading the charge. Roooooad triiiiip!

So here we are, five hours into our trip, in the middle of our car adventure to Lake Tahoe, with two kids, two in-laws, two bikes, too many bags, two iPads, two iPhones, one iPod and plenty of playlists (including Jimmy and Frank). My how the times have changed! I am happy to report that my father-in-law, Steady Eddie, is now the chosen one for the back-back row, and he has a seat and a belt. There's no legroom back there, but airplanes don't offer that, either.

Our first vacation of the summer, ahhhh! I can almost feel myself relaxing already. I can't wait to unplug (after I write this blog!) and focus on my family ... something I'm sure all adults struggle to accomplish, given the demands of work, travel for work, school, sports and an iPhone that keeps you linked in at all times and chained in on occasion. I think that's why I loved the idea of this road trip. Ten hours of family time -- the good, the bad and the ugly in all its glory. We'd be in it together.

So we're taking it at our own pace, singing loud and proud, and remarkably, we're not even angry at the big semi truck ahead of us, with 20 cars crawling behind it.

I finally have the chance to tell my kids about Lone Pine and Bishop and every rattlesnake ranch in between. I can expose them to real music -- Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Van Morrison, the Gypsy Kings and even Mommy's favorite band in college, the Indigo Girls. I can Google "how Lake Tahoe was formed" and find out it's the second-deepest lake in the United States. I can even type a blog. Couldn't have done that in the station wagon of my childhood.

I think the other reason I relished the idea of this full day's journey back in time was to reminisce about those long bus trips with the national team. Some of my favorite soccer memories with my crazy teammates came to be during our asphalt adventures. It will all be reaffirmed in the soon-to-be-aired ESPN and espnW Nine for IX film "The '99ers." It's a glimpse into the 1999 World Cup, with behind-the-scenes footage I took myself. To see bad dancing, worse singing and Brandi naked, watch it on Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. ET.

But back to my present adventure -- our family's Tahoe excursion. Declan, my 4-year-old eating machine, wants to go at it for 10 hours straight. Good thing I packed the entire fridge. My favorite part of our trip is when Izzy, my 6-year-old daughter, screams, "It is SO GREAT being together. I love this!" When I tell her that we still have five hours left, she sings a different tune: "Remind me why didn't we fly?" Having a love-hate relationship with road trips is inevitable. Although many things have changed, some things will always stay the same. I wouldn't trade this trip for the world.

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