Friday, August 20, 2010


I know Ive written about this before but I think it bears repeating.  My little trio, me and my two darlings are some badass roadtrippers.  We have made 10 round-trip visits to Ohio since we moved to North Carolina 10 months ago.  That's 20 car rides averaging 8.5 hours each time, and about 500 miles.  We start with a full tank of gas, stop once for food, restroom and a diaper change (usually in Beckley WV - its basically the half-way point) and the only other stops we make are for Gus to pee on the side of the road.  Hardcore?  Maybe.  But these kids are some troopers (no Army pun intended) and I'm so proud of them for putting up with me.  I don't think these trips would have happened quite as often if they were making it difficult to do.  Sure, there's whining and crying and occasionally screaming and yelling, but generally its just not that bad that I don't want to do it.

Some things Ive learned along the way:

  • I strategically place everything in the front passenger seat that I will need along the way, so it's only an arms reach away.  DVDs, tissues, directions (yep, I still need them), drinks, snacks, wipes, diapers and that's about it.
  • West Virginia should pay me to drive through it, not the other way around.  I never really feel like I get my moneys worth with the $6 in tolls I have to pay.
  • The speed limit everywhere should be 70 mph on highways. 
  • Related: North Carolina needs more highways.  It takes about 2.5 hrs to get from Fort Bragg to the VA/NC border because there's no actual highways, just back roads to get there.  Annoying!
  • When there's no more reasoning with your freaking out toddlers, just roll the windows down and turn the radio up.  The fresh air (even if filled with exhaust fumes!) is good for every one's state of mine, and you can't hear them yelling anymore.  Bonus!
  • It is possible, but not recommended to refill sippy cups while driving through the mountains.  
  • Speaking of mountains, I always appreciate and love how beautiful the drive is.  The mountains are breathtaking, and I am in awe of the view every time I'm cruising through Virginia.
  • We like to break up the trip by landmarks.  The kids know we need to get through 2 mountain tunnels, then 3 toll booths, then the big, big bridge over the Ohio river.  It really helps to feel like we're making progress.
  • When the drive gets tedious, I rationalize it simply by comparing it to a day's work at an office.  8.5 hours.  That's it.  In the time most people sit in a cubicle for a day, I drive through 4 states.  Not so bad when you think about it that way.
  • I have remarkable contortionist abilities to change DVDs in the kids portable player while driving.
I know these trips will be a lot less frequent when Gunnar comes back home, and honestly I am going to miss it a lot.  I know the kids will too.  They love going up and visiting our family all the time.

I'm already planning our next trip :)

Here's pretty much exactly what a road trip with us looks like:

I swear the girl is actually wearing clothes, you just can't tell.  Shoes however, never.  This kid refuses to keep them on any time she's strapped into a car seat.  Come to think of it, I drive barefoot the whole way too.  So maybe it's a genetic thing.

I splurged and spent a ton on this car seat because even though the boy is big enough for the high-back booster style seat, I couldn't stand his poor head falling all over the place when he'd fall asleep.  This thing is like a throne!  Also - apparently we take eye protection seriously in this family.  We never go anywhere without shades.

Please don't take me seriously.  Ever.  This is my duck face impression.  Why do girls do this duck face thing these days anyways?  There's no way to look cute imitating a duck's face.  Obviously.


  1. Elizabeth- I give you props for doing this drive so often by yourself. We are in Richmond, VA right now visiting Matt's brother. He had to be down here early for work and I refused to drive it by myself with the kids so we split it up- 2 hour to grandma and grandpas, picked then up and then 8.5 hours with both kids, me and grandma and grandpa. Kids did ok but seriously by yourself.... that is nuts. I don't know how you do it. I do like the one about just turning up radio and opening windows... I do that one and if it make you feel better Charlie refuses to wear shoes in the car too. We can't even make it to the zoo wtihout the shoes coming off.
    Anyway, thinking of you as your time alone comes to an end...

  2. Thanks Mandy! It actually gets easier the more we do it. They finally started to understand that when we're going to Ohio (or NC) that we're going to be in the car a long, long time. So they know what to expect and it makes it tons easier. I really wonder how they'd do for anything longer than 8.5 hrs. I'm willing to bet it would be a disaster. I'm kind of a jerk about stopping though - I feel like more stops just make the whole trip longer, and nobody wants that, right?

  3. I love this post! Your kids are the best and you rock for traveling with them so much. And while I generally detest the duck face, you, my dear, manage to somehow make it look cute. :)

  4. Haha Bekah - thanks for the duck face support. I seriously don't get it. Am I old or something? The nice thing about doing these crazy long road trips is that it makes a 1 or 2 or 3 hour drive seem like nuthin'. And that's a damn good thing. Especially because I drove 1.5 hrs today just to get to a damn Whole Foods. Seriously, why the hell do I live here???

  5. Because you love your husband? :) Seriously though, you've gotta move closer. I want to hang out again!

  6. Ahhh the things we do for love, eh?
    We DEFINITELY need to get together for sure. What do ya say we crash Rachel's new pad?

  7. For real, I would love to see it! Just need to talk Liv into an 11 hour drive...maybe she could call your kids. :)

  8. Ouch!! I didn't know it was 11 hrs from you. That's a pretty hefty hike. Hmmm. We're going to need to figure something out. I'll probably be in Ohio for a few weeks in Oct, and we'll be in Mingo, we should get together for sure!

  9. It's so far, but your always welcome! I think we should try to line up another gathering over the fall/winter if possible. I'm thinking of heading home for Thanksgiving because it's been probably at least 5 years since I had my mom's turkey.