On the road

Every year since Sarah Tither-Kaplan ’09 was born, she and her family, including her dogs and parrots, have taken a two-day road trip to Big Sur. Instead of traveling in the conventional SUV, the Tither-Kaplan family rides in another type of automobile: a 38-foot long Southwind RV.

Like Tither-Kaplan, many other students at Harvard-Westlake have had the experience of being in a car or RV packed with family members traveling to locations ranging from only hours away from Los Angeles to more than a week away. Students have taken road trips around California and even across the United States.

For Tither-Kaplan, traveling in an RV provides her family with bonding time, though it is sometimes too much. She said that there is almost no privacy in the RV, but since they’ve been doing it for years, they’ve created routines and learned to respect each other. Luckily, the RV has showers, televisions and a full kitchen, so they “don’t have to ‘rough’ it.”

“When you pack the Tither-Kaplan family in an RV, hilarity ensues,” Tither-Kaplan said.
The family always stops in Buellton, Calif. where there is an ostrich farm and miniature horse breeding facilities, on their way up to Big Sur. There is also a pancake house along the way that they always stop at.

From campfires to horseback riding to floating down the Big Sur River with her dogs, Tither-Kaplan loves these annual road trips with her family and sometimes her friends.
“My family is insane, so it never ceases to be interesting,” she said.

Rebecca Title ’08, and her father, cruise through California in the car up towards Oregon. On their way to their destination, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, they always stop at Pea Soup Anderson’s in Buellton. Title has taken this road trip for several years.

To pass the time on the road, Title and her father enjoy listening to novels on tape, and recently discovered that Agatha Christie mysteries “are the way to go for car trips.”

 Traveling further away from Los Angeles, Caitlin Cunningham ’09 takes a road trip every summer to her summer camp in New Hampshire. However, the first official road trip was in the summer of 2005 when she was moving from Singapore to Los Angeles and she and her family wanted to see the United States for the first time.

This trip took exactly two weeks there and two weeks back, which included stopping for sightseeing. Usually the trips to New Hampshire are shorter, but her family wanted her to see the country. Her father and mother sat in the front of their Blue Toyota Highlander while Cunningham sat in back by herself. As they traveled through the different states across the country, the weather constantly changed.

“The worst it was in Arizona where it got up to 117 degrees. I remember I went to the Tucson, Arizona Zoo that day and it was miserable,” she said.

Cunningham saw American sights such as Mt. Rushmore and the Carlsbad Caverns.
“I think the most memorable part was meeting all sorts of different people because people are really different from here than the people in South Dakota, for example,” she said.

Venturing out of the United States, Michael Diamant ’09 and Michael Stampler ’09 took a road trip while visiting Israel. Diamant, who frequently visits Israel, was vacationing there for two months last July. Stampler, by chance, ended up in Israel for a month and they took a road trip together for two weeks.

“Our friendship grew tremendously. Michael was shown firsthand what it was like to be a kid living in Israel. We were able to see virtually every different facet that the new country of Israel has to offer, from its long history to its recent culture and innovations,” Diamant said.

The duo, along with Diamant’s family, traveled throughout Israel in a Cadillac CTS, visiting historical sights and even watching the sunrise from Masada. They went in underground tunnels built by King David in his original city of Jerusalem and toured the Golan Heights.

Both thoroughly enjoyed the cultural trip and strengthened their friendship through all of the time they spent together.