For a long time, we swore off the idea of road-tripping. With two kids in three years, the idea of getting in a car and driving anywhere for long periods of time sounded less than palatable, but as F&B got older, we realized something else. Two kids in 3 years also meant having to buy 4 plane tickets anywhere we went. So we tested out the idea of the road trip.
We started with a simple one, up & down I-35 in Texas, when Shaun had a conference in Austin. We took the kids to San Antonio first, saw the Alamo, the Riverwalk and enjoyed some time at our hotel, before heading up to Austin. On the way to Austin, we stopped at the Natural Bridge Caverns for a cave tour, stopped in San Marcos to shop, then headed back up I-35. While Shaun was at his conference, I took the kids to the State Capital and the Texas History Museum, then we had dinner at one of my favorite Austin spots and went bat-watching on the South Congress bridge. In the process, we also discovered that road-tripping with a 4 and 7 year old wasn't so bad.
So we opted to try it again, this time at Christmastime and from Dallas to southern Ontario, Canada. For those counting, that's 21 hours worth of driving over 1400 miles, including the need to stop and stay overnight somewhere (we chose Nashville). And if that doesn't sound crazy enough, we did it again 6 months later in the summertime. I'd highly recommend the summertime option. In the wintertime version, we kind of took a 3 hour detour through rural Ohio when snow shut down the freeway and we remembered why we live in Texas.
During said trips, Shaun & I keep track of all the little gems we come across on the road--from the "Hell is Real" sign across from the really large "adult" store in Kentucky, to the store in East Texas which sells "Donuts, Guns, & Archery". Also in East Texas, we've found "Bait, Worms, Tackle & Goldfish".
But the highlight of all these trips comes from our winter road trip to Canada and is brought to you by Mr. Ben, age 4.5 years at the time:
Somewhere between Jackson & Nashville, Ben starts hopping around in his car seat. I ask him what is wrong and he tells me that he really needs to potty. There is *nothing* between Jackson & Nashville, so I tell Shaun to take the first exit and well, at least Ben is a boy. Better to use the side of the road than potty in the car seat. He exits, pulls over and I hurry Ben out of the car and around the front. Logically, I figured if he was in the high beams, he could see what he was doing and hopefully not potty on his shoes. He goes, I get him back in the car and Shaun says "did you *not* see the skunk???" Somehow, in the rush to get Ben to the potty, I missed the fact that there was a skunk right next to Ben's potty spot.
Oh, and to add insult to injury, as he was tinkling away outdoors in the below freezing weather, he smiles and says "look Mommy, it's steaming on the grass."
Coming in a close second to the skunk was driving back from Pompeii in Italy, getting stuck in Naples rush hour, taking a detour through the less scenic part of Naples, including the garbage piled high on the side of the road, leaving Shaun & my friend's husband Dan at the car rental place, while she & I *ran* back to the cruise ship docks with three kids (ages 20 months, 4.5 years and 5.5 years), in the hopes that the ship did not leave without us, then watching as our husbands came barreling across the docks, in a true Amazing Race moment, with minutes to spare before the ship left for Rome. But that's a whole separate post.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Discount Tire blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card and be entered for a chance to win a prize valued at $1,000. For more information on how you can participate, click here.