Some of you might have seen Mandy's post last Friday with tips for traveling with kids. It had some sage advice, but was written with blog-colored glasses. While 22 hours with four kids ages 9 and under is usually a blissful experience, my experience has shown that occasionally there are minor complications during the trip. My thoughts below should clarify a few of Mandy's recommendations.
Mandy says, Trevor clarifies:
- "Take a fun picture loading up the car." Pictures are good. I don't recommend video of the loading process, certainly not with audio, until the entire van is packed and pulling out. Have you ever managed to load 13 suitcases, six pillows, a cooler of food, a box of diapers, and a pack n'play in the vehicle by perfectly utilizing all the available space through careful geometric and spacial distribution (I have a gift for packing) only to have your significant other query: "Maybe we should take the jogging stroller, just in case."
- "Drive-thru dinner..." It's easy for Mandy to recommend drive-thru eating as she is not the one who does the pre and post trip detailing. In our house, Dad cleans out the van, which is funny since I hardly ever ride in it. I've found that french fries are much better if stored in a seat crevice and aged for a week. Tip - it's easier to clean up grapes if you turn them into raisins first. Roll up the windows and leave the car parked in the sun for a couple of days. Does not work on banana peels.
- "Head out at 4pm...bathroom break at 7:30." Right. With two little girls in the car, we usually have about six bathroom breaks between 4pm and 7:30. Then it's "no more drinks till we get there!"
- "They'll fall asleep and you'll still be trucking!!" I wish it was that easy! Usually there's one who pops awake from time to time with some incomprehensible sleepy whining that means "I need to pee!" Then its pull into a truck stop at 2am, steer sleep-walking kids to the bathroom and back to the car. Resume peaceful driving with sleeping kids OR resume driving with suddenly chatty 4-year old who is wide awake and thinks its time to party.
- "Take turns!" At least her next statement is "I admit...Trevor takes the bulk." I do almost all the driving. On some trips, all the driving. I have to admit that it's not because I'm extra chivalrous (though I am), it's mainly because Mandy's driving is...not like mine. She's safe and all, but she never uses cruise control and for some reason thinks I'm in charge of the kids while she's driving.
- "Enjoy it!! I have Trevor trapped in the a car with me...it's fun! we get hours and hours to talk." This is an accurate statement in that is uses the verb "trapped." While I honestly do enjoy chatting in the car, my idea of fun in a van with Mandy involves a lonely country road, no kids, and no curfew...
Note: If you can't drive through the night, don't. You know who you are. If you can hack it, do it.