Packing to go over the river and through the woods?
With gas prices dropped to levels you haven’t seen since you gave birth, many parents are considering road trips with their children (we recommend at least three under age six). If you haven’t packed for a road trip since that unfortunate incident with the Swedish Beach Volleyball Team and the goat during Spring Break your second year of college, you may need the following packing tips.
- Make two piles, Essential and Nonessential. The first things to put in the Essential pile are several giant-size boxes of Pampers. You never know when you’ll be in some foreign locale (anywhere it’s a toll call to your pediatrician) where they might not have the necessities of life like disposable diapers.
- Your children will naturally want to bring mementos of home. You can refuse them, at least the first couple of hundred times they ask. In the end, however, you’ll find it’s easier to just go ahead and add the Ms. Dolly, Miss Baby, and Mr. Ernie dolls, and all the kids’ bedding, clothes, books, toys, and electronica to the Essential pile.
- The Essential pile should also contain large stocks of snack foods with the average nutritional value of carpet lint. Relax. Only total strangers will actually see you feeding it to your kids, and the odds are they won’t mention it to your in-laws. Flinging these snacks over your shoulder at thirty-second intervals—bonus tip: never turn around to see what they are actually doing with them—will allow you to go for extended periods without stopping the car, sometimes even 13-16 minutes at a stretch.
- In the Nonessential pile, you can put the road maps and your clothes, if you want. But there won’t be enough room in the car for them anyway, so why bother? I advise slipping in a change of any underwear that fits into that little pocket in the driver’s door. Something unisex works well here.
Since I’m away for the next few weeks, super-blogger Rosie Amber will be hosting the blog today. In addition to her own prolific reviews, Rosie heads a team of online reviewers, supports writers, and hosts a blog full of resources for both writers and readers at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com. Please welcome Rosie with her tale of a family road trip through the wilds of the western United States.
Ah, Winter Holidays!
–Guest post by Rosie Amber
Ah Holidays! Don’t they seem so inviting when the temperature plummets, the nights are dark and winter seems to cling on too long? So how do you write a holiday post which is interesting without it sounding like being smug about travelling? Here goes!
This is about a trip to the States – seemed like a good idea at the time. I had made friends with an American family who arrived here in the UK to live in our small court; three kids under 5, furniture six weeks behind them, no car etc. They gave it a year in their tiny 3 bedroom rented house before the English house buying legislation finally brought them to their knees and they decided to return home, Ed went home to “hug ma fridge” (his American style fridge/Freezer before they were fashionable in the UK) leaving us with an open invite to go and stay.
We booked tickets to arrive in Denver in March 2003. We took our oldest child—who was 6 years old—out of school (back when you were allowed to do that sort of thing, us believing the experience would outweigh the loss of 2 weeks education) and travelled with our youngest still in nappies(diapers), I put off potty training until after the trip. Have you ever tried changing a two year old in the toilet of an aeroplane on one of the baby changing flaps?
I’m just going to slip in here that my husband likes to drive, so when you read it a little later you’ll remember. Ok so where were we? Oh yes arriving at Denver around 9pm local time along with 3 other flights we walked the walk, mile high Denver? They made us walk at least a mile to immigration. Hubby, who doesn’t like using aeroplane toilets, announced he had a pressing engagement leaving me with two tired kids and armloads of carry-on baggage. I didn’t dare join the immigration queue as hubby had all the passports, so we sat on the floor and waited while my man did whatever men do that makes them spend enormous amounts of time on the toilet. Sniffer dogs came and went several times before hubby arrived to help us join the back of the immigration queue. We took so long, the baggage hall was empty except our lonely bags, which had been taken off the carousel and the hall lights dimmed. Next came the queue for a hire car. With snow forecast, hubby upgraded to a 4×4 and he was king of the road, close to 11pm local time as we headed out of Denver.
Clutching hand written instructions, confident in our local friend’s knowledge we headed off—in the wrong direction. A couple of hours later and well past midnight we arrived in Nederland (on the map it’s left of Boulder). Up at 4am (kids still on Uk time and they’d slept in the car and on the plane – lucky things!) Nederland was lovely in the spring sun.
And then it snowed and snowed and snowed. In fact it snowed for 45 hours and dropped 5.5 feet of snow.
There was no power for 36 hours and the whole area was cut off, the local supermarket held a free barbecue because its freezers were defrosting.
Needing to drive his car and me needing a bit of sun, we headed off south down I-25 through Colorado Springs and Pueblo and on to Alamosa and the Iron Gorge Bridge, then Durango and on to Utah.
We climbed Wilson Arch, springing up it with our altitude trained lungs, nine years after hubby and I first went there when travelling as a couple.
Then we headed north to Wyoming—did I mention hubby likes driving? We visited the Green River National dinosaur museum and wound our way to Laramie. A place for me which resonated Saturday afternoon westerns on TV, they had snow in Laramie but we were veterans of the snow storm now and their few inches were nothing.
Coming full circle we came back to Nederland to spend one last night with our friends before heading home. I love the States, I love the open roads the wild diverse landscape, but travelling with a husband who likes to drive, rather than stop long to explore and two young bored kids who asked everyday if we were going home yet? Looking back the photos are lovely though!
Note from Barb:
A quick check of Google Maps shows this journey was approx. 1644 miles. Or, to put it in perspective for UK friends, the equivalent of making the longest drive distance possible in the UK—from Land’s’ End at the extreme southwestward point of Great Britain, situated in western Cornwall at the end of the Penwith peninsula to John o’ Groats at the extreme northern point of mainland Scotland—and back again.