Thursday, April 9, 2009

Too Much of Nothin'

I've been putting off writing about the road trip because I have too much to write. The truth is, we made it with minimal disasters. (Nothing like the McDonalds Mishap of '08.) The trip itself was fairly uneventful. My kids are superb car travelers. (Although, we are not happy with Parker's friend Hayden for teaching him "opera" the day before the trip.) About 4 hours before we were leaving, the plans I made for my dog fell through so at midnight I had to get out of bed and rearrange the whole car to fit my beast of a dog in there with us. Every trip needs it's glitch, right?

We did have one incident in a Taco Bell bathroom. I took all three kids. Everyone was singing "opera"...and not just any opera....bathroom language opera which I'm certain resinated throughout the entire fast food establishment. I was that mom who yells at her kids to be quiet. Reid had diarrhea, Gray found the plunger, and Parker turned off all the lights leaving us in pitch darkness and we couldn't find the switch to turn it back on...meanwhile touching every filthy surface in that nasty public restroom. Nothing a few wipes and a whole lot of hand sanitizer can't solve. We all live to tell about it.

We drove straight through to Arizona on the way there. The estimated 15 1/2 hours of drive time took 17 1/2...with three kids and a dog in tow, I say we made pretty good time. I was expecting at least 18 hours. On the way home we decided to stop in El Paso for the night. It made for two shorter days of driving, but I prefer to do it all in one day. The second day of travel felt just as long.

Spence and I have traveled a lot of road in our married life...nearly coast to coast and north to south. We've discovered a lot of nothingness across this countryside, but none as bleak as the drive across Texas. I'm pretty sure there was nothing to call a city between Fort Worth and El Paso...10 hours of NOTHING. Then we hit two cities in New Mexico and nothing again until Tuscan, Arizona. It was a nasty drive.

Still, we prefer road trips most often. You can pack EVERYTHING you need. Stroller, playpen, swimming gear, diapers, pillows, favorite blankets, enough snacks and activities to entertain...your dog if need be. With our oldest not yet 5 and certainly not old enough to be responsible for his own suitcase and car seat and back pack in an airport, flying is not very feasible. Imagine unloading 3 kids...and their respective precious blankets, 3 car seats, 5 suitcases, 5 backpacks and a double stroller out of a car, unto an airport shuttle, off the shuttle, though check-in and baggage check, then some of that through security and onto a plane, then off , through an airport and onto another plane and off again then pick it all up at baggage (certainly having lost at least one item...as always), unto another shuttle and into a rental car. NO THANK YOU. Two grown-ups just can't logistically carry all that. When driving, there is never a point where we have to carry it all at once. And if your kids are playing too loud or throwing a fit...there is not concern for other passengers. Nothing is worse than your child causing a ruckus on an airplane.

So we drive. And my crazies really look forward to road trips. They do great. But not without some serious preparation on my behalf. I make great efforts to see that we don't have major melt-downs or tantrums...I probably have worse melt downs than anyone.

This post is long enough as is...be on the look out for an upcoming post on my expert advice for road trip entertainment.

12 comments:

Erin said...

We have done a few road trips, but they were under 6 hours. I actually prefer planes. I am a very minimal packer, and I have a car accident fear. We may be making a trip this summer in the car-we shall see!

tdmeth said...

You have no idea about long roads until you drive from Utah to Anchorage. 3 days, 10-15 hours per day. In a car with an 8 gallon tank. Meaning stopping for gas every 200 miles. But thats a problem if there are only gas stations every 250 miles. Meaning we had to carry gas cans to make it all the way. Thats right. Stretches of road with no signs of civilization (NONE!) for 250 miles. You could get to the top of a hill, see 20 miles in any direction, and not even see another car. With about 1500 miles to go, we hit an elk and had to take the last day and a half with a totally busted windshield. But at least we didn't have a car full of kids!

Jen said...

You are too funny! I will need some advice since we are doing a road trip with the three kids this summer. We haven't done one for a few years so I'll need lots of ideas now that they are older.

Curtis Whipple said...

I saw a science fiction movie once where you put people into "suspended animation" (sleep) for long trips through outer space. I think that could work here. Call Salt Lake, I think I'm on to something here.

Kris said...

You are for the sure the "go to" gal for that Katie!!! I bet you had a wonderful time. I know your Mom did!

jeanine said...

I can't wait to hear your road trip advice... we'll be doing it in a few months!

Autumn said...

We did a road trip out west every summer growing up. I have so many fun memories. Its such a great way to see the country. You can see a lot of stuff that you can't see in an airplane. And you're right about hauling all the loot!! Not feasable in a plane. I hope in time I can develop more patience-I'm nervous about any long car rides!! My mom and I want to go to Boston to watch my sister run her marathon. We are in the midst of trying to figure out what to do with Ells. She is NOT a traveler, sometimes even 20 minutes is a scream fest. Sigh. Decisions, decisions.

Suzanne said...

It's nice to read your perspective on road trips because we are taking one this summer. We've always braved flying with the 3 kids, car seats, strollers, 8 suitcases, etc. It's a lot to handle but we've done it enough that it's not as frightening as it once was. I'll be looking for your road trip advise. Heaven knows I will need it. We're looking at a total of 7 days in the car- yikes! I just hope we don't make the news. That's my goal:)

Sam and Becky said...

you said it best Katie, road trips are the best... You can stop when you want, eat what you want, play and "sing" what you want.. :)

glad you had a safe trip.

Amanda B. said...

I agree with you on road trips. The couple we have taken have gone well and that was the only way my family ever traveled growing up. We went every where in a car- and I certainly have lots of "experiences" to remember for it and stories to tell! :)

Genn said...

Great play by play of what it would be like to fly with a family of 5! That was too funny, and so true. My mother in law is constantly asking Jake when we are going to Boise to visit, but I have no desire to hop on a plane (which we did with Hannah), or to pack up and get in the car either! I bet it takes you weeks just to prepare for the drive. Sounds like it was well worth the trip though.

Shalece said...

Before I got to the bottom of your post I was thinking I should ask your advise for road trips with kids.. I dread them, we all hate them! And one is coming up... soo... looking forward to some good advise to get us a measly 9 hours.. split up because I refuse to do 9 hours in one day! Pathetic I know!