Over the holiday weekend we drove half-way across the country with three kids. Florida to Western MO, then all the way back two days later. Now, before I start getting sympathy letters, it wasn’t THAT bad all things considered. The infant was more tolerant of his car seat than I expected. The two year old loved the perpetual construction zones in Georgia that supplied never ending views of tractors, dump trucks, and other machinery. The 5 yr old got to talk the whole time, from the third row where we couldn’t quite understand what she was talking about.
What helped the trip go well? First, we rented a Mazda 5. The gas we saved mostly paid for our rental since Hertz gave us a good deal and called it “mid-sized.” Me being able to sit in the second row with the baby saved us many stops and was worth more than we paid. The two “big kids” got to sit in the back, but weren’t so packed in that they could reach each other easily like in our daily three-across set up. It was surprisingly comfortable for all of us and got decent gas mileage, although you’d think a 4 cylinder would get over 30 on the highway, but I think 29 was the best we got. I spent about 75% of my passenger time in the middle row next to the baby, and drove for about 3 hours each way while my husband got to play mom in the middle seat. I think he decided it was more relaxing to drive! It made us really want to buy one, but we just aren’t sure that there is enough room for a family with three kids. We didn’t have to take a pack and play, stroller, or other large baby gear. If we did I’m not sure it would have fit with both back seats in use. We have over a year to decide, but it’s in the running at least. The rest of the things that made the trip go well are pretty standard: DVD player, snacks like raisins, cheddar bunnies, and cheerios on yarn necklaces. Oh, and stops and Chick-fil-a play places are at the top of the list too.
The worst things about the trip? Georgia construction zones. I’m not joking when I say that it’s been in a constant state of construction for longer than we’ve lived here- over 7 years. I think it’s just so they can double the speeding fines for everyone driving to and from Florida. As a runner-up: the rain. Ever time I would drive it would pour down sheets of rain. I’m used to driving in the rain. I live in Florida. I just want to know why did it only seemed to happen with monsoon-intensity when *I* was driving? Pair that with a construction zone with no shoulder, cement barricades and 18-wheelers; It would make anyone want to pull over for a latte! Lastly, gas. No, not the PRICE of gas, natural gas courtesy of my dear husband. Never give your husband BBQ on a road trip… Lesson learned!
Anyway, to all of you planning family road trips this summer, have fun, stay safe, and stay sane. Oh, you might want to stay away from BBQ places too!