Road Trips: Arriving at Our Destination

Twenty-eight hours. Seven days. Those numbers may not amount to anything big, but to me they equal progress. After ten years of trips with kids, my husband and I finally have progress. No shushing whining kids, doing acrobatic maneuvers from the front seat to reach a dropped toy. No hearing, “My shoe come off! Ha, ha, ho, ho!” Silence and then an ear-piercing scream. No more potty breaks on the side of the road (fingers crossed). Can I say it out loud now? We have arrived. We are finally at the point with our kids where we can take cool trips. We can venture further away from home. We can start to show our kids the world.

I know. People out there, they do this. They pack up their tiny tots and pack and plays. They tour and do naps on the road. That has never been us. That was always hell. And I’ll admit that I don’t think being cooped up in a hotel room for a week with my kids is ever going to be easy. A five-year-old boy thing is to jump on the hotel bed. Did you know ten-year-old boys still jump on the bed? Back and forth over both of them, at least mine does. I fear in ten years I’ll still be telling him to stop jumping on the bed.

I forget easily my own shenanigans as a kid: Fighting with my sister in the car. Not being able to sleep in a room and bed that weren’t my own. My sister not wanting to sleep with me because I always draped a leg over her in the middle of the night, which got a bit awkward when we were teenagers.

But even those are the memory makers, getting from point A to point B. The nights when you slept in luxury and the nights when you prayed bed bugs wouldn’t come out of their hidey-holes.

On our recent Maine trip, we made the best of these moments. We enjoyed beautiful scenery, a bit of history, and good food, though my daughter does prefer the plain pasta I make at home. We could leave our hotel in the morning and stay out all day.

There were the occasional head scratchers. “That restaurant was goo-ood!” heard after my child ate overpriced boxed mac and cheese. And, “Dad? Is that rain?” as a downpour brought cars on I-81 to a crawl.

But my family just spent 28 hours together in the car. No screaming, no scratches, no tears. We spent seven days in four hotels up and down the east coast. Aside from someone still jumping on the bed, we’ve come a long way.

It was worth it.

It was worth it.

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55 Comments

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55 responses to “Road Trips: Arriving at Our Destination

  1. Enjoy every minute of it!!

  2. So true! I was just thinking what a relief it is the kids are getting older and we can venture out more not just for vacations, but more restaurants where I don’t have to worry they’ll be tyrants. I’ll especially consider these words as we head on a road trip on Saturday–I hope your words stay true to us then!

    • Oh, we saw the horrors of a toddler on this trip. My kids just kept staring as the child ran all around the restaurant, rolled on the floor, ran out the door, etc. I was so glad to be done with the possibilities of that! Hope your trip is fantastic.

  3. Traveling with my kids is a nightmare! The whining, crying and battles between my 2 “angels” has me exhausted before we even get to our destination. Kudos to you for 28 hours in the car with your wee ones! 🙂

    • We’ve had some doozies. I think we were “owed.” When I was a kid, I would ask every ten minutes when we were going to be there. Of course, all this bragging has also probably just jinxed me for the next ten years. 😉

  4. I know exactly how you feel. We took a few recently, and they made it without whining or throwing up! I hadn’t felt such relief in years.

  5. My husband works as a youth minister, and trust me, we still have to tell them to stop jumping on the beds! :-). I might admit that in college, I may have jumped on a bed or two.

  6. Maine is always worth the drive!!! Even if there is fighting in the back seat!

  7. I am the middle child of three and my parents didn’t make the kind of money it took (even back then) for a family of five to travel by air. Needless to say, we took road trips every summer! And, do you know what? Those are some of my happiest memories! I really enjoyed your post. Thank you for sharing!

    • I hate flying. I get motion sick and now I hear all kinds of stories about getting stuck on the runway with delays. Sounds like an awful thing with kids. At least in a car, even if the kids are fighting, it’s our own hell and not someone else’s I have to deal with!

  8. that is impressive!! you almost make me want to brave it.. in a few years. 🙂 hey, would you consider linking this post up to Yeah Write. It’s perfect for it and they are really looking to hit 40 writers tonight. here’s the link… i really think you’d like it. i met some great writers there. http://yeahwrite.me/challenge-120/2/

  9. Glad you had a great trip. I love Maine…lived there for six years. We had a family Christmas picture taken in front of the Nubble Lighthouse one year. Yes, we were freezing.

    Oh, and my kids still jump from bed to bed. I think it’s the best part of staying in a hotel.
    ~FringeGirl

  10. That sounds great! Those kind of trips sound like a distant concept for me! We tried to take our 2 year old (then 13 months) to the Outer Banks, while I was pregnant. Let’s just say that car ride was interesting.

    • We also did the Outer Banks earlier this summer, but we don’t live too far from there. We walked up two of those lighthouses. Well, I walked up one. My fear of heights got to me and I just couldn’t do the other one. Wish you could go in the Maine ones. They’re so short!

      • Nice! We are 15 hours from OBX. My parents live there, so we were visiting them. The trip was great once we arrived. One lighthouse was under construction when we were there. I haven’t had a chance to check them out, either, so don’t feel bad!

      • Oh, was it the Bodie lighthouse? If so, that’s finished now and that’s the one I went up. It’s beautiful but a bit intimidating for those who are afraid of heights. Those ironwork stairs you can see through and all the landings are on one side. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse has landings on opposing sides and solid stairs. I didn’t know that or I would have possibly been able to do it. It’s worth it, I think the tallest lighthouse you can climb!

      • It was! I’m pretty good with heights, so I’d enjoy that. 🙂

  11. Good for you. It’s great that you guys have reached this point and can enjoy this type of trip.
    My kids are pretty good in the car already – as long as they have their electronics. However, hotels are not a pleasant experience. The sleeping itself is not so bad though getting them to sleep is a long process. In addition, they bump off of each other while in the room. The bickering nearly made me leave the hotel room on our last over nighter. When we take a week’s vacation, we rent a house. It is so much better. Space is key.

    • We rent a house when we go to the beach with family and that is great, but for this trip we were going to lots of different places. I didn’t really think about it. It would have been better for meals and I’m going to consider it if we ever do it again. My kids are fine in a room together–they think that’s fun. I just can’t stand it–they’re so loud when they sleep! Plus other travelers are less than considerate, standing right outside your door having a loud conversation.

      • Actually, that’s what we do – rent a beach house.
        I hear you about the noise level. I am waiting for us to be tossed out of a hotel ala an unruly rock band.
        In terms of other travelers, the only comfort for me would be that if they are loud, it would make less my kids seem less so. However, I would be the one annoyed about noise. Ironic.

  12. It’s so nice to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel 🙂

  13. Ok, this gives me hope! We did a Michigan to Texas road trip with our son when he was 4 months….. Worst. Trip. Ever! I may have cried most of the way. I think we’ll be flying for quite some time!

    • When my son was four months, we took a four-hour road trip. I remember sitting in the backseat with him, holding a noisy, light-spinning toy to entertain him and hoping he’d just go to sleep. He was never much of a car traveler until we splurged in his toddlerhood and bought a DVD player after an awful eight-hour drive on I-95 to Philly. We had had enough screaming! That was the miracle silencer and I still stand by it. I am not ashamed to admit it. My kids read, they listen to music, and they watch lots of movies. No whining!

      • I don’t blame you. We did an 18 hour trip split into 3 days on the way down and 2 days on the way back, which equals 5 days of hell. :/

      • I cannot imagine 18 hours. Fourteen both ways was a lot. It wasn’t bad going but I got vertigo coming home and the world was spinning. Plus traffic. Plus just wanting to get home.

  14. Can’t wait for that time to come! Mine is just 3 1/2 and we always think twice before going out! Congrats and enjoy!

  15. Great post 🙂 and Mums all over the world will be smiling and nodding their heads at what you’ve said. My boys are 10 & 9 and they still jump on beds, have major acts of silliness, are best friends one minute and worst enemies the next but I wouldn’t swap it for the world because in this current world of ours they are still managing to be kids and have a childhood we as their parents recognise as similar to the ones we had, which is not easy today :).

  16. That’s awesome! While I don’t want my kids to grow up too quickly, I do look forward to those days ahead that you have reached. We are like you, travelling unless necessary with little ones on a big trip is not desirable. This weekend we will be flying all day to go on vacation and packing has become a massive undertaking. I will not miss that part.

    • Packing has become less of a burden too. Unless one of my kids decides to bring 20 stuffed animals without us realizing it and then we have to hunt them all down in the hotel room. Have fun on your trip!

  17. Your story gives me hope. I’ve gone to Michigan on a long drive when the kids were younger (18 hours), we flew to North Carolina when my daughter was a baby and my son was four. It was pure hell, wrestling with the diapers…the bottles….the binkies.

    Next year we’re going to Disney World and I pray it goes smoothly now that my kids are 11 and 7.

    But I have one question– where is this magical place you went to with the beautiful lighthouse?

    • Oh, 11 and 7, they should be good! At least none of that bottle and diaper business. And it didn’t occur to me until I read Heather’s post on Becoming Cliche that I know a Maine blogger and I could have connected. Maybe. I don’t think of those things when I travel but I guess I should start. I bet we could have gotten some tips from you. I think we’ll be back. I found a nice island I’d like to live on.

  18. SO looking forward to getting to that point. My kids, 5 and 6, fight and argue in the car. Constantly ask, “Are we there yet?” “How much longer until we’re there?” The freak out b/c my 5 year old dropped her blankie and can’t reach it. Ugh. I am so very truly looking forward to getting to that point.

  19. Lisa

    Lucky you. We’re not there yet. Still have to sit in between the kids and entertain. At least now I get an hour or so break to sit up front but our limit is still 6 hours a day in a car.

    • I’ve never been able to entertain much in the car other than when my son was a screaming baby because I get motion sick. The kids have always had to fend for themselves and I picked up dropped toys and throw snacks at them. Tell them you’re getting old and you can’t sit back there anymore. 😉

  20. Congrats mom! I love your humor – great fun! I’d like to nominate you for The Versatile Blogger Award! You can find the details here at http://wp.me/p3swsV-61. Congratulations!

  21. HealthyFamilyFun

    Although I look forward to those days, because hubby and I love to travel, we’re not there as we’re just starting our family. It’s so nice to know that one day, we will be able to plan such trips! It sounds like a wonderful vacation :)!

    • Well just starting a family is fun too! You have lots of exciting times ahead. Traveling can wait, and when the time comes to be able to do it together, it is definitely worth the wait.

  22. I’m heading out in the morning for a 5 hour trip alone with my 3year old, 18 month old and 2 month old sons. It’s going to be miserable.

    • Sending good vibes your way that they’ll nap happily! You’ll get some good practice in on the old backward underhand toss. I can now get a clean, wadded-up tissue to a drippy nose in the third row of the van with that technique. Think I can get a job with that skill?

      • Thanks for the vibes!! Crossing my fingers they will all nap (oldest only does occasionally).

        Job skills lol..maybe write it on your resume

      • Well we arrived 9 hours later instead of 5 because we were held up on hwy 3 by sparwood for two hours because of an accident. I was able to nurse baby then and let my other two run around. Also able to do diaper changes etc. But since it was past supper time b4 we started driving again, we stopped in fernie for McDonald’s. Half hour b4 our destination, baby was screaming to be nursed again so we had to stop which woke my oldest who was napping. He ended up crying the rest of the way. It definitely was miserable!!

      • That does sound miserable! Here’s to no more repeats of that!

  23. We just returned from a trip, and I know exactly what you mean! Great picture, by the way!

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