Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Road Trip Ramblings

Spring is here! I love stepping outside and hearing the birds in the trees, seeing the bright yellow daffodiles, smelling that crisp, spring air.
It's making me long for the days of flip flops, summer blouses and.... road trips!

We took our first road trip almost 24 years ago, when Sharaya was one month old. We lived in San Diego at the time and Chuck's aunt had invited us to the Tri Cities (here in WA State. I swore I was never coming back!) for Thanksgiving. Looking back now, I can't believe we did it with a one month old! Since then, we have taken more than 30 road trips, covering most of the U.S. 

All of my family still lives in San Diego and for that reason, most of our trips have been there and back. A few times we drove straight through. Twenty two hours of driving without stopping to sleep. 
Mainly because we were young, and we could. Don't do that anymore.
Mainly because we're old, and don't have to. :)

We would pile the girls into the car with pillows, snacks, books, things to keep them occupied. Chuck prepares for these by mapping out our route, then pinpointing all the gas stations, rest stops and truck stops along the way. We know what towns to stop in to fill the car with gas and to fill our tummies with food. In between, we would stop at road side rest areas to let the kids run around, throw frisbees and burn off some energy. Often we'd plan stops at McDonalds. One of us would take the kids to the play area while the other bought our food. We'd eat while the kids played. Then, after a trip to the bathroom, we'd get back in the car with chicken nuggets for them. They'd settle into their seats, tired from all the playing, munch a while on their lunch, then be asleep for hours!


As they got older, we saw the need for a bigger car. The cramped quarters became too much and it wouldn't take long for the fighting to begin. "She's touching me!" "Stop touching my stuff!" So, a mini van was purchased and they took turns in the middle seat.

Our two longest road trips took almost a month each. Once we drove around the Western U.S. and the other was up and down the Eastern Seaboard. We flew into New York, then drove from Boston, MA to Orlando, FL. We've grown up on the West coast, so it was quite a treat to be at the ocean on the East coast. Having the sun set... behind us. We got to see fireflys for the first time; stand at Ground Zero and at the base of a Saturn V rocket; tour the Library of Congress and watch the Wampanoag Indians at the Plimouth Plantation. That trip required 15 pieces of luggage! Well, maybe we didn't require that many... the poor mini van we rented, took a beating!

Brushing hair became an issue. Spending hours in a car can really mess with a girls hair! We began to braid them each morning and it made it a lot easier when getting to the hotel at night. Even as they got older, Beth always wanted her hair braided. She's not a fan of snarles. Can't say I blame her.

This may surprise you, especially if you don't take many road trips, but one of our favorite things are the truck stops. They have become like small cities; they have huge bathrooms with showers. These truck stops have restaurants and large stores. We love going into these places for quick stops for drinks and snacks. Usually the weather is warm, we're in flip flops (easy to put on when you're in and out of the car all day) seeing a part of the country we've never been in. We purchase our goodies, open the double door, usually to a blast of warm, summer air, pile back in the car and settle into our comfy seats, roll down the windows, blast the radio and pull back out onto the highway. No phone calls to make, no deadlines to meet, nothin' ahead of us except the open road!

I don't know if you have any road trips planned for this summer, but I sure hope you do!!


Becca said...

Wow, you are BRAVE! I love road trips, but not so much since Samantha was born. The farthest we'll really go now is about 3 1/2 hours away, to the Jersey shore. We are planning a trip over to England next month, though. This will be Samantha's 2nd time on a plane, the first when she was 9 months old. I think it'll be easier this time. I do look forward to real road trips with her someday soon!
I love your nostalgic look back!

Heidi said...

Wow! You really know how to make a road trip sound great! I used to take road trips all the time when I was younger but now that we have two little kids the idea is just dreadful to me! We usually don't travel for more than 3 hours up North to where my husband's family lives. That seems to be enough travel for all of us! Maybe when our kids are older it will get better.