|His solution is to rent two RVs, pile three adult children and a daughter-in-law into them, leave Chicago for Arizona where he will pick up the parents and head back to Chicago, returning in time for the birth. On the way they visit sites important to his parents, reminisce, share family secrets and bond in a way that makes each proud to be in a family that includes the others.
Since no one has driven an RV before, the plan has some rough spots, especially when, a half hour into the trip, his daughter-in-law drives onto a cement island at a convenience store and takes out the bottom of the vehicle. Undaunted, the group makes (costly) repairs and continues their trip of a lifetime.
The elder Leonards - Jack and Marge - are polar opposites who have been married 60 years and are still completely devoted to each other. Jack loves to visit with people (sometimes to the detriment of the vacation) and although he constantly moans about the plight of the average working American who gets a raw deal, he is an optimist.
Marge not only sees the glass half empty; as far as she is concerned, the glass was shattered long ago. Her negativism - laced with the profanity she can’t communicate without - has been dubbed by her family, “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.” It’s Mike’s job to keep the peace, connect his parents with their individual pasts as well as their common one, and make a family memory.
What they discover is that, although the American landscape may sometimes be alien to its travelers, there is joy in exploring it.
The same is true of the inner landscape, and family stories and experiences voiced on the trip bring all the Leonards closer emotionally.
The Ride of Our Lives is quite a trip!
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