Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Ode To The Venerable Turtle Top

As vacation looms on the horizon for my family, I wanted to wax poetic about a piece of equipment we use to help transport us to far away places. My beautiful wife in the past had about a year and half where she would wake early and go out with her sister on weekend mornings looking for for garage sale bargains. She tended to grab only the most needed things, many small and yet intelligent buys. One day she came home and informed me that I had to go pick something up somewhere and it was a turtle top she bought at a garage sale for 20 bucks.  I have to admit to you I was ignorant to the power of the turtle top, but I was knowledgeable in the intelligence of my wife. So, with me grumbling I'm sure, we headed off in my truck, then a Ford Bronco 2, and picked up our plastic Turtle Top. We brought it home and I sprayed some WD-40 on the hinges, but for the most part this baby was brand new. 
So let's talk about vacationing. When you have a Ford Taurus and 2, then 3 kids, and you load the trunk and add on the bike rack, you really don't have much room.  We carry beach chairs, umbrella, coolers, fishing rods, sand toys, boogie boards, etc., etc.  You add on a Turtle Top and you have TONS of new room. I really mean megatons. In the Turtle Top goes all the bags and luggage, all the beach towels and all sundry items.  Might not seem like a lot, but we will go ever inventory in a moment.
In the later years, we moved on to a Honda Odyssey to tote our now 4 sons to various shore locations. Some of them 2 hours away, some 4, others, and my favorite, 10 hours. 2 teenaged boys, 2 boys in car seats, and TONS of stuff. One year we hauled 4 bikes, 3 boogie boards and 2 huge shovels. (And, remember all the crap you need to haul for a baby?? Diapers, playpen, etc.. OMG!!)
Now we are older and our second set of sons, #3 and #4, still get to go on vacation. We take my truck and I put the Turtle Top in the bed of the truck and bungee her to the tie downs. This still allows me plenty of room for all the extras, and I can keep the extended cab clear for the 10 hour run.
The cars, vans and trucks this old Turtle Top has accessorized? A Subaru GL, a Ford Bronco 2, a Ford Taurus, a Honda Odyssey, and Ford f-350 Van and a Chevy Silverado. 

The stuff that it has hauled? Obviously bags, but bags for 6 people, including one very beautiful lady who takes a ton herself, to obviously look good for me. Beach Towels, we seem to have a HUGE collection and always have more on the return trip. XBox, Play Station or Wei AKA game station popular that year, DVDs now, but VHS tapes back not long ago, Portable playpens, bibs, bottles, fold up jolly jumper, wind up Swing, and I could go on all day!

 When I go up into the attic of the garage to retrieve the venerable Turtle Top, it flashes me back to all the fabulous times and wonderful family trips we have had. It bailed me out and allowed me to relax and have relative comfort in my travels. Funny how your mind works, huh? It struck me so hard that I had to write a blog about it. 


  1. LOL- Those were(are in your case) a lifesaver! Between wives and kids, that's at least 8 bags to your one... :-)

  2. I can tell you what, you were dead on with that ratio!!

  3. Damn, I just bought one off Craigslist from a guy in Media last week! :(

  4. I hope it gives you happy memories like mine does! But it does scream Daddy driving to vacation!!