Ah, the summer road trip with the family. Maybe you have cherished memories of rolling down the interstate in the (pick your era) station wagon or SUV, playing license plate games and exploring neat little towns. Or perhaps it was always a nightmarish week of nonstop arguments, carsick kids, PB&J sandwiches and motel rooms that didn't live up to their billing in the AAA guidebook.

We imagine that you, dear readers, are split on the topic. For our latest Love It/Hate It smackdown, staff members Angela Hill and Donovan Farnham present two sides in the epic debate.

Love it

(Chris Ware/Lexington Herald-Leader)

I love the smell of dead skunk in the evening. Nothing against skunks, and I'm sorry when they die. But the repugnant odor they emit always reminds me of long, pleasant summer road trips when I was a kid in Virginia. It would be me, my mom and dad and sometimes my grandmother in my dad's 1972 Chrysler Imperial, a roomy vehicle the size of the Queen Mary II, which he didn't drive so much as captain, and we'd be sailing along on country roads, often on our way to Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home) or maybe to Tweetsie Railroad (a Wild West theme park in the Blue Ridge Mountains) without onboard DVD players or iPads queued up with "Plants vs. Zombies." So instead, we'd sing, or my mom would tell family stories, or we'd keep score every time we saw a white horse.


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Best moments of my childhood -- even the perfume of the skunk.

-- Angela Hill

Hate it

Road trips are possibly the worst way to spend a week or more during summer. Let's start from the kids' perspective: You, your siblings and your belongings are crammed into the back seat, with little to no legroom. Add to that terrible equation the inability to sit still for prolonged periods of time. Soon you're going stir crazy and fighting over who gets the iPad next -- and God forbid if that battery dies. The adults are trying to navigate through traffic, figure out when the gas stop is and if you'll get to the hotel on time. All the while they're dealing with cranky, sticky kids, making sure that Jimmy has his Game Boy and Susie has her blanket and dealing with Bobby the teenager's attitude. So someone will lose their temper, tears will flow, and something will be broken. Then you'll get to Disneyland, or wherever. And, hopefully, a good time will be had. But you have to all get back in the car and do it again.

-- Donovan Farnham

Readers, YOUR TURN

So how about you? Are you ready to hit the road for a summer-ending trip? Or never again? Send your responses, along with your name, city and suggestions for other smackdowns, to mross@bayareanewsgroup.com by Wednesday. Please put "love/hate" in the subject line.