June 04, 2012

Road Trip Review

The last post of the trip.  I promise.  It's just that there were about 52 hours worth of road-tripping that are not documented, and I deemed it significant enough to remember.  So a few gems from the road:

My children are apparently more alert than I am at 4am.  We left early to get from Nebraska to Texas, and about 10 minutes down the road Allie says, "Hey, Mommy!  Gigi is driving now!  She cannot reach our things when we drop them, but YOU can!  That changes the Road Trip Rule!"  She is too talented at finding loopholes for my own good...
The twins deleted most of the pictures they took of the trip, but we did manage to catch this video one of them took of me driving...
The Oklahoma welcome center was our favorite.  Beautiful, open, tons of books and brochures, and giant, stuffed buffalo.  Our only complaint: no coloring books :(

Garmin decided to take us the scenic route through Texas...which meant we spent a LOT of time in the middle of nowhere...almost all of it after dark.  I was convinced we would break down and I would have to leave my mom and the twins alone in the Texas wilderness while I jogged (potentially many miles) to the nearest town to get help.  I couldn't remember what Texas wildlife one should be concerned about running into after dark, but I was confident that scenario would be bad on so many levels.  The good news was that all my praying to get us there safely kept me awake since the route added 2 hours to the trip and I had been up since 3:20am...

We discovered during the trip that Allie's beloved seahorse (her "baby") - who is a boy, according to her - is named Lizzie.

This wasn't part of the driving, but worth recording since Lucas and I got to meet up with a dear (but not often seen) friend from college!  It was such a delight to spend a way-too-short evening with her and her little girl!  Too bad I forgot to get any pictures...

The road trip from TX to NE went much faster since we researched a more direct route (to keep Garmin from reversing the previous trip) and we had 3 drivers.  Unfortunately, we made such good time that we miss the opportunity to eat Inn N Out Burger on the way home.  Lucas was devastated.

There is apparently never a convenient bathroom when you need it between Texas and Nebraska.  Especially in Kansas.  If we hadn't had the travel potties, we would have been in trouble.  I think that would be my number 1 tip for traveling with small children - make sure you have an alternate bathroom option with you always!

The trip from NE to MI went very smoothly, except for one thing...even though Lucas had gone with us from TX to NE, he hadn't quite gotten into our road-tripping spirit.  Making good time was still his priority, while having an enjoyable, memorable journey (since we were spending so much of our trip on the road) was mine.  After a few stops, where he got stressed about losing time (we stopped at a cool wooden fort/playground, the cheese factory that my family used to visit on road trips to my aunt's - cheese curds!  Yum! - and a favorite rest stop with a small, fun playplace), he started to come over to our side.  By the time we reached Michigan he suggested taking the time to let the kids run around the playground at the Welcome Center.  But my ultimate favorite moment?

We were pulling off to pick up some (admittedly late) dinner when Lucas turned to me and said, "Do you know what time it is?"  I looked at the clock and told him the time - wondering why he didn't just look himself.  He smiled and said, "Yes, but it is also almost sunset.  And do you know where we are?"  Still confused, I told him the town name from the exit sign.  "Yes, but we are also exceptionally close to Lake Michigan.  I'm thinking a sunset picnic on the beach..."  So we picked up food, found a nearby beach on the GPS, and took an adventurous detour.  Best detour ever.

The twins barely ate.  Partly because they had a snack in every goodie bag so there was never a moment when they were overly hungry.  Partly because they couldn't resist playing in the sand, and they were desperate to get to the water.  At first we were only letting them throw rocks from a distance, but we knew we were changing them into pajamas anyways, so why not let them feel the water.  Giggling as your hands are tickled by the waves in the pink-purple glow of the setting sun - can life get any better?

 The only other people on the beach were a few ladies - who were long-time friends reuniting after a long separation.  They offered to take a family picture.  They thought this beach was our destination - and it could have been since it was storybook, Hollywood movie, dream vacation idyllic.  Nope.  Just a happy accident on a long trip.
We got home late.  We were exhausted for a few days.  And we still have a random bag or two that needs to be unpacked.  But we are still reveling in the wonderful memories of The Great Road Trip of 2012 :)


Anonymous said...

Way to go! Making the trip fun and full of memories instead of a long gride! Lots of love, Grandma

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you didn't stop blogging about the trip cause this is one of my favorites. I really forgot how handsome Lucas is in pictures. He takes such a good picture. You all looked great but I just happened to zoom in on him this time cause he is usually not in the pics. You make trips so exciting. I really would like to do a train trip someday :)
Love and Hugs from Nana

Anonymous said...

The trip home looks just as Happy as the trip leaving that is a big blessing and good planning too. Thanks for letting me ride along to the Texas part. The twins are such good travelers and made me laugh so much. miss that alot now. Gigi

Maggen said...

So beautiful! And So much Fun!