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.