BOB McAULIFFE, 50, wife, MARY ANNE, 49, and son, DAN, 9, Hingham
WHERE: To Wyoming and back
WHEN: July 5 to Aug. 5
WHY: Bob took some time off after accepting an early-retirement package. ''We'd never had this much time off and I knew we wouldn't again," Mary Anne said. ''It's something I've always wanted to do."
CAR TALK: As a family, they had driven only as far as New York. This trip totaled 6,000 miles in 32 days. ''We have a two-year-old Volvo wagon and bought a cargo box," Bob said. ''For Dan we had a GameBoy in the back seat and borrowed a TV, with headphones," Mary Anne said. ''He had a half-dozen movies, which he went through the first two days. And I don't know if he'll ever play GameBoy again. I thought I'd be reading when Bob was driving, but I just liked to watch the scenery."
A-PLUS PLANNING: ''Mary Anne spent a lot of time planning on the Internet. We had motel reservations for the first two weeks," Bob said. They used AAA maps and tour guides, and a TripTik following the route Mary Anne devised.BASEBALL, FALLS, AND FORDS: ''Bob and Dan are both sports fans. We started in Cooperstown, a lovely [New York] town," Mary Anne said. Stops included the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Farmers' Museum. ''Then we went to Niagara Falls. We rode on the 'Maid of the Mist,' which Dan loved. You have to wear raincoats . . . Bob's a car buff, so we went to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn [Mich.], and Greenfield Village, the best American history museum in the country." (Greenfield Village is part of the Ford Museum.)
A SPECIAL BOND: Bob was smitten with the ''Bond. James Bond" exhibit at the museum (through Dec. 31), which features Bond memorabilia, including replica cars. ''Bob spent all his souvenir money at the Henry Ford Museum," Mary Anne said.
NOT SHY ABOUT CHICAGO: ''We'd never been there and thought it was a great city," Mary Anne said. ''We spent all day at the Museum of Science [and Industry]. . . . It was fabulous." Dan's favorite Chicago stop was the LEGO outlet. ''He wanted a big box of them but we didn't have room in the car," she said.
MEETING THE PRESIDENTS: They visited Mount Rushmore at night, when the foursome is lit up. ''The park ranger talks and there's a film about it being made and about the presidents," Bob said. ''They play the national anthem and everyone stands. It's very dramatic."
WYOMING ROUNDUP: The Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo took them by surprise, pleasantly. ''They call it, 'The daddy of them all,' " Bob said. ''It's the biggest rodeo in the world."
NEVER AGAIN: ''We went up the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Bob has a fear of heights, but it got to us all," Mary Anne said. ''We only stayed 30 seconds."
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