Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Long Before You're Driven the the Brink?

What's the longest distance you've ever driven with your family? How did you while about the hours/days and arrive at your destination in one piece?

As a former Air Force family, we are used to the punishing drive. When Jacob was four weeks old we took a leisurely drive from Oregon to Georgia so that Bob could report to his new job at Robins Air Force Base. Our girls were entertained with movies and frequent stops and stays along the way and only bickered once or twice an hour, as compared with the every 14 seconds rate they currently have going. Jacob was in the barracuda stages of nursing, so each state we visited was punctuated for me based on where my nipples were. North Dakota will always have a special place in my heart, because that was the first time I nursed Jacob without needing to clench my jaw in pain and pray to the mother of Jesus for the kid to never get teeth.

On a particularly long, arid stretch through Montana Chloe had to go the the bathroom. Why I haven't just invented the traveling catheter for children is beyond me, but even with our strict limitation of beverages while traveling, the children always have to potty eventually. But when you're in the middle of Montana, there may be 6,243 miles before the next rest stop, unless you count the pasture filled with bison. When we finally found an exit with facilities, we found ourselves parking next to hundreds of Harleys in front of a bar that said "No Minors and no Assholes Allowed." Jen's traveling tip # 7: When you're the whitest family in America, and you think it's fun to travel in matching Old Navy patriotic t-shirts - don't expect to walk into a biker bar without rendering the entire place silent. As it happens, we had pulled off to the only place with facilities, and it was also knee-deep in the Annual Testicle Festival.

I also remember Kentucky as the first state where I ever ate catfish and the first state where I lost my Cracker Barrel virginity. I had never even heard of Cracker Barrel, and then just like that I was loving gravy and Old Yankee candles.

So you how about you, mom reader? What's the longest road trip you've taken? Any tips that don't involve alcohol? (those can just be emailed to me, k?)

35 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My kids have no idea how good they have it--we pretty much fly long distances. Our yearly six hour drive to our vacation destination is long enough. We never did it with DVD's when the kids were little--they didn't have the portable DVD's--we did books on tape and that worked pretty well.

Hubby and I are taking MVP to college in 3 weeks. We'll do two 17hour drives in 5 days. That I'm looking forward too!

Anonymous said...

Driving to Disneyworld as a kid in the back of a station wagon without any seat belts!

Beth

Little Miss Sunshine State said...

When our kids were young we made many car trips from Cape Cod MA to Jupiter FL....about 26 hours driving each way. This was in the 80's when gas was way cheaper than airline tickets!
When WE were young enough we left at dinnertime and drove straight through the night, so the kids slept for most of the trip. When we got older, we did the trip with one over night stop.
The kids napped, played battleship or cards and did lots of snacking!
The limit of technology in those days was the original Game Boy. It saved our lives.
We also played Name That Tune and Name That Band. That's how we introduced them to the Beatles and Classic Rock!

Jennifer said...

We have driven from Shreveport, LA to Minot, ND with a 2 year old. In the days when portable DVD players were still too expensive. If I had known then about the NECESSITY of portable DVD players, I would have paid anything for one!

2 years later I drove by MYSELF from Minot, ND to the MS Gulf Coast with a 4 year old, a 2 year old, a cat, an almost falling apart trailer behind the loaded down SUV... all the while my DH was doing a TDY in route in Las Vegas... (choice name calling). Luckily, we had invested in a portable DVD player by that point and we all survived the trip. I define that a success!

Let me know if you find any secrets. I'm sure I see many more LONG road trips in our future!

MamaNeena said...

12 hours is all I can handle with the kids in the car...even with numerous things to use for bribery.

I can't believe there ever was such a thing as cracker barrel virginity!! Glad to see that line has officially been crossed.

Circus Kelli said...

Recently, we went on a 4000 mile (round trip) excursion with three children over the course of 7 days.

There were movies and stops along the way and LOTS of McDonald's visits.

Letting the kids change where they are sitting in the vehicle is a good move (if possible) and never traveling more than 3 hours in a row without a break is a really good idea.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Maryland to California, honey - with a 2-year-old and a 4-month-old. Good times! We were such rookies, it took us 10 days. Unbelievable, but true. When we reached Fort Ord, we met another family with 4 kids who were far more experienced in military travel than we were. Get this - 4 kids, ages 2 - 8, and they made it from Long Island to Disneyland in 4 days.

We avoided biker bars, though.

Robin said...

Distances in Israel are small, so our longest car trip has only been about 4-5 hours, but on Thursday night I (not we, *I*) am flying back to the States with both kids, a 24-hour ordeal involving two long-haul international flights (with no onboard personal video screens - aaaaahhh!), a 4 hour layover, and a two hour drive at the end. Should be a ball. Did I mention we were traveling without my husband?

Katrina said...

Our road trips are about 3 hours each way these days up to see my folks in the mountains. We like to play the alphabet game, sometimes the license plate game, and try not to have to stop 93745093485092345 times for L to use the bathroom.

Parent Club said...

We've survived a 15 hour flight many a time.

Though I'll never forget the day; we rushed to the airport (2 hours before our flight) only to have our 6am flight cancelled. Kids hungry. Two hours later we were flying only to get to our stop over to find there were no more international flights to our destination for the day. Oh, and our luggage didn't make it on our flight either.

It took us 24 hours to get from door to door that trip. Happy hour started shortly thereafter!

painted maypole said...

ha ha. having just completed the 4600 mile family road trip i found that a bag loaded with dollar store coloring books, sparkly markers,stickers, DVDs bought on ebay, library books, etc went a long way. and junk food. must hand out the junk food.

before we had The May Queen we drove from Philly to LA in 3 days when we moved, with 4 free range cats in the car. Somewhere in the middle of New Mexico they devised a plot, and all 4 of them came over the back of the seat yowling and hissing at the same time. My hubby tried to keep the car on the road while I grabbed them and flung them back, just to have them rebound right back at us. fun times.

painted maypole said...

by the way, i am waiting for my taut, poreless and youthful skin

Sunshine said...

Well mine, document on the blog, was last summer....driving from Iowa to New York and back with four kids and no other adults but Your Truly. And it went incredibly smoothly, helped by the fact that 3 out of 4 kids got better bladders than I.
My tips: massive snacks divided into snack size bags, no reason to pass back the entire bag of Doritoes when a handful will do.
Also, equal parts movies and radio so mom doesn't lose sanity and there can be some napping.

If I can drive over 3000 miles round trip alone with four kids, ANYONE can do it.

The Cube Monkey said...

In my 20's, my best friend talked me into driving to Denver...from Cleveland...in one weekend...to pick up furniture her sister was giving her. We left on Friday morning and got home Monday evening.
It was hot, we were in her fiance's beat up pickup with no ac, she is a virgo, she was pms'ing, tired and hungry.
Needless to say we did not speak for a few days after that trip.
And I will NEVER...EVER...drive through Kansas again.

Kellan said...

Hi Jen! We have taken many a road trip from Texas to Virginia and that is a 22 hour trip. That is probably the farthest we have driving, but we have done that one A LOT!

Nice to see you - take care - Kellan

Lora said...

With the kidlet, we drove more than once from Colorado to WI and from Colorado to southern CA. We've got a good traveler so I really cannot complain. I will say that the American West is pretty sparse on the "facilities". Luckily, the kidlet is of the male variety and has peed more than once in the grass/rocks/ditch on the side of the interstate.

Season said...

We once drove from Florida to Texas; Texas to New York; and then New York back to Florida. I've also driven from Maryland to Texas. I have only one child though so it wasn't too bad. We are both ex-military so I know how all that traveling can wear on ya'.

Catherine said...

My longest drive looks LAME compared to these others. I drove with a 1 1/2 yo and 3 1/2 yo from Denver to Durango. Google maps said it was 7 hours. They neglected to take the "traveling with toddler" differential into account. It took 10 hours. And then my MIL was there waiting to berate me for being late.

Rima said...

I've never ventured farther than three hours away with the kids, but my husband once drove from NYC to Mexico in the back of a cargo van.

Life As I Know It said...

Well, considering I am the one who gets car sick, the farthest we travel by car is 3.5 hours. We fly if we are going very long distances.

MamaGeek said...

We drove 4,000 miles round trip from the midwest to California. I have to tell you, it sucked a duck after the first 500 miles were in.

BUT, looking back, our iPod podcasts and books on tape helped somewhat. AND LOTS OF COMFORT FOOD.

DID I MENTION LOTS OF COMFORT FOOD? :)

MamaGeek said...

P.S. EVEN MORE COMFORT FOOD.

katydidnot said...

longest trip i've taken=colorado to california, u-haul, me, 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and my mom. so. much. fun.

longest car trip i'm now willing to take? my house to the grocery store.

Mikey said...

OMG, soon as you said bikers and testicles, I knew it.

Rock Creek Lodge, outside Missoula MT... yes indeedy.

I had a ball when I stopped there :)

Ellyn said...

I drove from NY to FL with a dear friend when I was in the Air Force. I bought my first car and drove it down to my duty station. It was a great three days, just the girls. We had a blast and there was alcohol, but only when we stopped. We also went to and a Dennys at three in the morning in Atlanta. That was really interesting. I didn't know Dennys attracted so many tranvestites.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

We drove to Disney World....all 11 hours of it. There was much DVD watching and "tee-teeing on the tires" (for my son....not myself!). We broke it up on the way there...but drove it straight on the way home. I prefer to fly....but my husband is ALL about the driving! *sigh*

We survive using an unhealthy amount of snacks....they are less likely to fight when their mouths are full of junk. Oh...and they each have a DVD player...that eliminates TONS of fights!

Madame Queen said...

We drove once from GA to West Virginia when Bubba was about 8 months old. It wasn't too bad because he slept a good bit of the time and we broke up the driving into two days because we left late on the first day. The hardest part was getting him to sleep in a hotel room. And having to go to bed at 8:00 so that HE would go to bed.

Sarah said...

A couple of years ago we drove from west central MN to DisneyWorld. My husband was on a business trip and was to meet us there. So I loaded up the minivan with my mom and two girls. One had her first birthday on the trip, and the other was almost but not yet 3. It was mostly great actually, but I still get flashbacks from some Elmo DVDs after listening to them for 60 hours.

liv said...

i really don't prefer long trips with my babes only because i'm a single parent and there's no other adult buffer between me and them unless it's some unsuspecting idiot like my sister who i tote with me.

the last long trip was agonizingly long and pig trailing through south georgia to the florida panhandle with no drugs or alcohol. never again. (the drive, i mean.)

Heather said...

My husband, me, two boys and a dog from Sacramento to Austin for my brother's wedding. We saved our sanity with goodie bags, the portable DVD Player, and a lot of beer once we got to the wedding.

Jenn said...

Beleive it or not, the log drives were harder for me when the kid was still INSIDE...bloody uncomfortable that was! Now he's a super traveller. We've never done more than 8 hours at a time though, but the poor kid isn't even 2...I'm cutting him some slack...for now!

Memarie Lane said...

We drove from St. Pete, FL to Palm Springs, CA last year. With a 3yo and 1.5yo. And no DVD player. It's all kind of a blur, I think I may have repressed it.

Alyce said...

Hilarious! My husband is thinking about a career change that would involve a cross country move. Ugh! I haven't done any long road trips since childhood because I remember how awful my sisters and I were to our parents. The last one I did with my parents was a nonstop drive to Vegas. Nothing but 19 hours of mountains and flat land. They don't have a lot of rest areas either, and there is nothing to hide behind in the desert. So unless you can get someone to hold a blanket up around you, you're mooning the entire interstate.

Magpie said...

10 hours. but never with kids. no ideas there.

Crazy Mo said...

I remember one particular road trip when The Girl was 5 years old. We had stopped at McDonalds for lunch and she had pizza. Remember the pizza? Red Dye #5. Not a good thing. She sat between her father and I for the last hour of the trip quietly bouncing up and down in her seat. Aaahh ... good times.