Like other families, we’ve just returned from an epic holiday vacation to spend Thanksgiving with relatives. Unlike most, however, we went 1,705 miles to do it — according to AAA, about “48.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving” — and we did it in a car with legroom equivalent to a Little Tikes push-mobile.

You’re thinking, “Sarah, you’re crazy. Why not just fly?”

It’s 2016; any trip longer than 100 miles should be done in an airplane, right?

Let me refresh your memory. Three years ago, I walked off an airplane at Reagan National Airport, and despite my usually calm and even-tempered husband yelling at me on the tarmac to get back on the airplane, the flight left with just my baggage and more than 50 passengers gawking at me out their small round windows.

We have not attempted flying again.

“But, Mom, it would be so much faster if we just flew to Virginia,” my children say, and they can get right in line behind their father with their complaints. Like Meg Ryan’s character said in “French Kiss,” “I get around as nature intended: in a car.” Yes, even though both my dad and my husband are Navy pilots.

Several times during our Thanksgiving trek, I looked back at my brood, some of them with their knees jammed into the back of the seat in front of them, and reminded my family, “Some people are sitting on suitcases on layovers at crowded airports. Isn’t this much more fun?”

To their credit, my boys are sick of traveling in general. For my entire marriage, our nearest parents have lived more than 500 miles away. Going to see Memaw has never amounted to a “Sunday drive.” And then, when Dustin was stationed at the Pentagon and we kept the family in Maine, several times per year, we made that trip, too, to stay with him in Washington, D.C.

And, OK, long car trips do become tiresome, but I mean it when I say some of my favorite memories have happened on Interstate 95.

One time, when Lindell was about 4 years old, we were at a rest stop somewhere in Connecticut when we came across a man from Philadelphia. Lindell had on a Philadelphia Eagles T-shirt, the kind that boasts the team’s mascot more than the team’s name. The man locked onto it from across the room, where he was ordering French fries at a Burger King. He came right over to Lindell like he had spotted a long-lost relative in a foreign country.

“Hey, little man, are you from Philly, too?”

“No,” Lindell said. “I live in Maine.”

“But you’re a fan of the Eagles, I see,” the man said. He pointed at Lindell’s shirt.

Lindell looked down at the eagle on his chest, shrugged and said, “I’m actually just a fan of eagles in general.” Then he ran along to find his brothers.

Then there was the time we spent a whole 90 minutes trying to recall all the things that Leonardo Da Vinci did. I know, that sounds like a whole lot of not fun. In fact, it sounds like school. But when you’re cramped together in a car, even regular conversations become twisted and giddy, like conversations spoken across sleeping bags at a slumber party.

“I’m pretty sure Da Vinci invented the internet, too,” Owen joked after Ford read a list of Da Vinci’s accomplishments off Wikipedia. And that led to a long, silly conversation that ended with, “When Christopher Columbus reached America, they rode horses, because you can only imagine how crowded the Metro was back then.”

Then there was the time that we tried to remember all the bad things we ate on vacation, the small voices came from the darkened back seat of the car: “I had a dough boy … and a milkshake … and ice cream … and pancakes.” And then Ford suggested that popular destinations print shirts that read, “I assaulted my stomach at [name of place here].”

And there was the time Ford accidentally left the car on while we went inside a restaurant for lunch.

None of these things sound very interesting on paper. But they are my memories, small moments when all of us were trapped together in a car, and we made the most of it. On road trips, I have 12 hours of listening to my boys’ thoughts, understanding their humor and making memories together.

Sure, these things can happen on airplanes, too. But for our family, air travel ends with me crying on the tarmac. And no one likes that memory.