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Being a Backseat Driver in the 1960's.

Updated on August 17, 2013

Learning about the World from the Backseat of a Car

Oh, the back seat!

I remember many road trips where I was in the back seat. My Sister was there with me and we did enjoy the scenery.

From an early age, I learned about not only what I saw on my own, but what my parents pointed out to me.

While we still see these things today, think about viewing them in the 1960's; that's when I first saw them.

Any comments or views about your early nostalgic road trips would be appreciated in the Guestbook below.

Thanks for taking a drive through the country with me!

Flickr Commons

The View from the Backseat - Are we there yet?

View from the backseat
View from the backseat

This is where it all Began - The 1960 Volkswagen

1960 Volkswagen
1960 Volkswagen
The Backseat
The Backseat

The Back Seat of the Car - Let's go for a Ride!

I remember the back seat of the car very well.

I was born in the early 1960's. During my early years, my Father had a 1960 Volkswagen.

In those years, there was no such thing as a baby or car seat and we just rode on the seat. I don't even think there were seat belts. I do remember a strap that hang from the roof that you could hold.

Before riding in the back seat, I remember riding on my Mother's lap. In the 1960's, there were no laws that children needed to be in the back seat and we rode in the front.

As I got older, I remember being able to see out of the windows and watching the scenery roll by.

I have many memories while riding in the back seat. What are yours?

Flickr Commons

You can't grow up without your own Steering Wheel - Start your own family tradition in the backseat of your car!

Small World Toys Preschool - Dashboard Adventures
Small World Toys Preschool - Dashboard Adventures

Growing up, I think every kid had one of these.

Whether it was a hand-me-down, or a new one, I have seen these in cars for of almost everyone that have raised children.

Your children want to emulate you when you drive and this little activity center will ensure hours of fun.

If you don't bring any other activities for your child, you need to have one of these.

 

What Activities do you and your Children do while taking a Roadtrip?

How do you have fun while riding in the car?

See results

This is how the Previous Generation Predicted 1960 would Appear - Not exactly the way it was!

1960 Space Age
1960 Space Age
Dog on Road Trip
Dog on Road Trip

The Road Trip

Growing up, the highlight of our week would be to "go for a ride." on Sundays.

Although it was not the same "ride" that the mafia would take passengers on, we traveled many of the back country roads in Ohio.

I learned much about the country and about things from an early age, just from traveling these back roads and rural highways.

There were a lot of things in particular that we drove to see, but many times, we just took a ride. I loved riding in the car. I would steer my steering wheel, mimicking my Father, and we would also sing and play games. Roadside bingo was one of my favorites and I was surprised to find that this fun game is still made. I have included the ad for it below so you can order it for your children.

I have collected numerous photos and interesting facts for you to enjoy during your ride with me on my road trip and I hope you have fun during our journey!

Flickr Commons

I played this as a Child! - Roadtrip Bingo - It kept us busy while we were traveling in the car!

Travel Auto Roadtrip Bingo Vacation Game Family I SPY Set of 3 (Colors may vary)
Travel Auto Roadtrip Bingo Vacation Game Family I SPY Set of 3 (Colors may vary)

I remember that this was a favorite during our times in the car.

The purpose of the game is to look for the objects on the bingo card. Once you find and call out the object, you close the little window.

The rest of the game is just like bingo. You fill up the card and the first one who completes the card, wins!

None of the cards are exactly the same and there are different objects on each. This makes the game interesting and allows variety every time it is played.

 

Wilmington Ohio - My Hometown - And all of the surrounding highways

Ohio Map
Ohio Map

Being Safe while Taking a Roadtrip - What should you take with you on your roadtrip?

You may not need all of these items but you can never go wrong by having them in case you need them.

  • Always have plenty of drinking water. Although it may not be hot, if you break down or get lost, you will not know if you will have access to drinking water.
  • A flashlight along with an extra set of batteries.
  • A small folding shovel - This could be useful if you get lost and need it for any reason.
  • A set of jumper cables.
  • Enough blankets for everyone in the automobile.
  • A set of tools including pliers and screwdrivers.
  • Food or rations (enough to last several days).
  • Rain gear.
  • Extra clothes.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • Toilet paper.

The Road Sign

One of the most common sights on a road trip is a road sign.

When I was a child, I was fascinated by the numbers on the signs. As I got older, all of the numbers get became more confusing!

Highway road signs were first used in the the mid 1920's. Before that, you drove by landmark. "Turn at the 3rd tree past the picket fence."

The highway road "shield" design was actually created in the late 1700's, after the Revolutionary War.

Road Signs
Road Signs
Route 66
Route 66

The Backseat Driver Song for Children - by Frank Leto

Get the Backseat Driver Song Here

Backseat Driver
Backseat Driver

This is a great little song for children who love riding in the car.

There were similar songs when I was a child and this song will keep your child entertained and have fun while taking a road trip.

 

The Bridge

Bridges have a unique history.

Everyone remembers the first covered bridge they've ever seen. There were many of them where I lived. They were created long before cars to keep the horses and riders from getting wet in the rain.

In the early days of the automobile, there were not many bridges but they took on many shapes and compositions to enable people to travel during all types of weather.

When I was young, I remember the flooding over bridges and I am scared of floods to this day.

Covered Bridge
Covered Bridge
Old Ohio Bridge
Old Ohio Bridge

The Highway Billboard

I have shown two billboards from the 1960's era with designs that were very popular during that time.

Billboards have been prominent on highways since the advent of the Ford Model-T.

There were so many billboards emerging during the 1960's that Lady Bird Johnson helped promote the "Highway Beautification Act" to help minimize advertising.

1960's Billboard
1960's Billboard
1960's Billboard
1960's Billboard

Old Buildings

In taking a road trip through the Midwest, there is no shortage of old buildings.

Many of these are old barns and homes, but other numerous types can be seen.

When I was younger, I would go in these old buildings on personal treasure hunts, although I had to be very careful.

Old Ohio Barn
Old Ohio Barn

The General Store

When I was young, I lived near a general store.

I remember the wood floors and old advertising, including the bread signs that were strapped diagonally along the screen doors.

Many of these exist today but most are abandoned or used for another purpose.

It was common to pass many of these on a road trip in the 1960's. Some of them doubled as the post office.

The General Store
The General Store

The One Room Schoolhouse

I first went to school in a brick schoolhouse, although it had more than a single room.

The back roads of the Midwestern States are littered with these old one-room schoolhouses.

Most are brick but you can find them built with other materials.

The One Room School House
The One Room School House

We need to Stop at the Filling Station

Gas stations were local in the early 1960's and accommodated all types of auto-related purposes.

Other than filling up for gas, you could usually buy your tires, oil and windshield wipers. The attendants would fill up your gas, wash your windshield and also check your oil. There was no such thing as "self serve" in those days.

Also, there was usually a "pop" machine, you couldn't buy any other food there. You needed to go to the general store for that.

Don't forget to drink a Bottle of Pop with Goober

The old Filling Station
The old Filling Station

The Old Country Church and Cemetery

Along with all other types of buildings, there are also many country churches that dot the countryside of the Midwestern United States.

Old churches take many shapes and forms. Some are abandoned and some are still in use.

Usually, a church had a cemetery associated with it. While other cemeteries exist, most of the families that attended that particular church were buried behind it.

I have a friend who lives in an old church, converted into a home.

Old Country Church
Old Country Church
Old Cemetary
Old Cemetary

Rusty Old Vehicles

If you live in Ohio or other Midwestern states, you will most always see old rusty vehicles either along the road or around the properties.

While most people in the 1960's didn't think their junk was worth anything, there has been a resurgence of interest in rusty vehicles.

Old Truck
Old Truck
Old Tractor
Old Tractor

"Mom, we can't see out of the window!" - Did you enjoy this website? Please leave some comments or road trip experiences.

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    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 3 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for the memories!

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @anonymous: We just all banged around inside the card...but hey, we still made it! ha! Thanks for the visit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes the backseat of the car was good but the front seat was even better! As you said, there were no seat belts in those days, kids just ran around the car or stood on the floor peering between the two front seats.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Congrats on your purple star. Nice to meet a fellow collectibles dealer too.

      As a kid, we enjoyed the backseat when our parents took us to the drive in movies.

    • frenchlingo profile image

      frenchlingo 4 years ago

      Wow absolutely great lens here. I love all the pictures included and all the details provided. great article too thanks so much for sharing.

    • rbnewman55 profile image

      rbnewman55 4 years ago

      Wonderful! This was not only very well done but it was fun. I was born in 1955 and my hometown was Zanesville, Ohio. My dad used to take us on Sunday rides in the early 60s, also. He'd get some buns and bologna and load us up. We'd drive and eat, and then we'd generally fall asleep as we pulled in back at the house. Great memories. Thanks for remembering the important things.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 4 years ago

      I love taking long rides in the countryside. If gas wasn't so expensive, I would do a lot more of it.

    • Blonde Blythe profile image

      Blonde Blythe 4 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Being born in 1957, I well remember those fun road trips in the 1960s viewed from the back seat. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @LeroySmith1: Yes, I remember Mom's arm getting tossed in front of me when I was little also. ha! Thank you for stopping by!

    • tvyps profile image
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      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @Lady Lorelei: We used to live off the land a little too. We had various farm animals & some crops. I remember the old chest freezer that was about ready to rust away. It helped us at those times where we tried to make things stretch. Thank you for visiting.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I loved the pictures of the covered bridge, the old church and one room school house. I hope we keep some of that for young people to see in the future.

    • profile image

      myspace9 4 years ago

      Interesting lens and all pictures are beautiful.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      We lived 50 miles from the nearest city for quite a few years so once a month we made the trip into town for a major grocery stock up. There were certainly some adventures along the way.

    • profile image

      JaspinderKaur 4 years ago

      Nice lens!

    • joseph-sottile-16 profile image

      joseph-sottile-16 4 years ago

      Congratulations! Your slant is very clever!

    • adragast24 profile image

      adragast24 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing those nice memories!

    • LeroySmith1 profile image

      LeroySmith1 4 years ago

      Oh my. So much to remember. Like no seat belts and your parents putting their arm in front of you for a short stop. Ha. Great job on this lens by the way. Love the colorful presentation.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 4 years ago

      Even growing somewhere else, I so remember those road trips. I loved them

      The crazies't road trip was when my mother and her best friend decided to take all the kids (2 of us and 6 of them) in a regular sedan car, the oldest of us was maybe 10,11 and the youngest about 2 it was crazy and illegal, but I have some great memories from that trip.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @tok2gman: Thanks for visiting!

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @GrammieOlivia: Not sure but if you banged around as much as I did in the back of the car, you may want to go check out your bones at the Doc. ha!

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 4 years ago

      Great lens, and yes it brings back memories, Your dad and mine had the same car back then! Are we related?

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      I enjoyed your tour and some of the things resonate with me. Those old gas stations sure evoke warm memories for me too, but they're lots older than both of us. Out West there aren't any covered wooden bridges that I can think of, but I did see some in Massachusetts in the 70s. BTW - the wooden bridges were covered simply to protect the wood from the rigors of climate, to prolong the wood.

    • tok2gman profile image

      tok2gman 4 years ago

      Enjoyed your lens! Thanks for sharing. Congrats on your Purple Star.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @anonymous: Thank you. Do any of your friends think you're a quack?

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @JohnTannahill: Hello. Thank you for visiting. Not knowing your backroads but seeing photos of the UK, I can't imagine how it could be boring. I would give anything to go there someday. It all sounds so green and wonderful!

    • tvyps profile image
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      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @anonymous: That is all pretty crazy! Thanks for the visit!

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      Brings back memories. Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My mom was pretty courageous to pack her 3 boys into a 1967 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon to hit the interstates and do the "California Spanish Mission Tour." We hit every one no matter how minor or decrepit it was. Gas was cheap, folks were friendly and motels were spotted by looking for the neon "Diving Lady." That long stretch of steel had fold-down third row seats in a conversation pit rear with a roll down back window that would let just enough exhaust tumble back in to make the boys' nap time real easy. Plus it was far enough away from the driver to let her enjoy a Carleton cigarette and hear talk radio among the hot chrome push-button selectors. We visited aunts, uncles, Disneyland and zoos, sang songs and played all the word games that we could invent through random association. Mom would inevitably get lost reading green signs while trying to remember if she was going north or south. Her solution was to pick a trucker to follow, and wish for luck and a place to stop and figure it out in the morning. I really miss her and get sentimental driving up 101 and seeing the beige historic signs naming our CA missions. I don't miss the Ford.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 4 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I'm about the same age as you but grew up in England. The big road trip (we didn't call it that) was one or two times a year from just outside Birmingham to Glasgow (to see relatives) and then up to the highlands. With roads as they were then, and it being a longer journey than most people think, it was a two day drive. As soon as I was old enough, I swore I'd never do that trip by road ever again and flew up to Scotland for years, until one day I was forced drive it. There were memories round every bend, too many to count. It was amazing - from the urban sprawl of the Midlands, high over the Manchester Ship Canal, past the Lake District and the Solway Firth, over the border and into the vast emptiness of the Scottish Southern Uplands then down hill into Glasgow in the rain. It seemed like nothing had changed. I'm tempted to get in the car right now.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Duck! Another awesome lens. This was really original. What an idea!

    • josietook profile image

      josietook 4 years ago

      I love the prediction of how the 1960s would look. Great lens.

    • LeslieMirror profile image

      LeslieMirror 4 years ago

      Great pics! =) Traveling is perhaps the best activity ever! =)

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 4 years ago

      What a fun lens!

    • missBorokwa profile image

      missBorokwa 4 years ago

      love this lens. i still enjoy traveling and staring out the window at the scenery.

    • DeeRight profile image

      DeeRight 4 years ago

      This lens was great. Brought back lots of memories of times gone by.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @sybil watson: Absolutely, I have slept there too! I also remember being locked in the car when my parents went into the store. I lived! ha!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 4 years ago

      What fun memories - we're around the same age. I remember sleeping in the backseat wedged in between the top of the seat and the sloping back window. When my dad would brake, I'd roll over into my sisters' laps. Amazing that we're all still alive!

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @Mary Stephenson: I think everyone has had the experience of car sickness. I remember that when I was a kid, although I remember more of being sick by getting tossed around in a boat. I remember the crying and colicky kid who wouldn't go to sleep until you put them in the car and drove them around. That wasn't for fun either, it was for sanity! haha! Thanks for visiting.

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      My husband and I both love road trips. Just get in the car with no destination only in which direction to take. Our daughter never liked road trips and opted out when she got older. She used to get car sick, so I suppose it was much fun for her. She would sleep if she could and then be raring to go when we got to our destination. If it was a long trip to a destination in a short amount of time...well we were tired and so it was difficult to try to get her to understand that it was not going to be playtime as soon as the car stopped. Now that she is grown...as long as she is the driver she has no sickness issues. But I still think for her it is to the destination that matters, not the sights along the way.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @SBPI Inc: It's a secret! ha! Email me.

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      Great lens but gotta ask how did you get that scarf to blow in the wind? Wow

      Jonathan