Revisiting the Past: The Road Trip

Because I’m feeling lazy inspired by one of the prompts in this week’s Writers’ Workshop AND because I’m leaving on vacation early Sunday morning, feeling grateful that it is near impossible for us to do a 15 hour (one way) road trip here in Wales, I’m bringing you a post from July 2009.  At the time, people questioned the wisdom of traveling cross-country alone with a 3 & 5-year-old, but since shortly after this trip I started flying overseas alone with said 3 & 5 year olds, I guess it was good practice.

Oh, and Ox? She’s Boo’s favorite stuffy. ‘Cause traveling with a real ox would be silly. And smelly.

Also, I’m marveling at the sheer SIZE of their old Britax car seats. I don’t know if they would even fit in the cars in the UK. They sure look a sight more comfy than their boosters now, though.

* * * * *

In what some have claimed is insanity, I packed up our suitcases, a collection of DVDs, snacks, blankies, Ox, and the kids, and drove from Chicago to Virginia.

On my own.

Day one wasn’t too terribly bad: the kids snacked so much that they opted to skip lunch. Boo peed roadside twice (he discovered the joys of peeing out the side door of the minivan) – honestly, I think he waited until exactly 5 minutes after Pea zonked out in her car seat to announce his nature call, knowing that I wouldn’t want to wake her up…

At 5:15 (that’s a.m., people), armed with Dunkin Donuts Munchkins and the GPS, we headed out. On the Tri-State just south of downtown Chicago, I drove through what I later learned was a diesel spill; I knew it wasn’t water 15 seconds after driving into it, as the fumes filled the car. They lingered until Indiana, by  which time the smell was replaced with the odor of cow manure. Fun.

So….after Bee Movie, two Barbie movies, Cars, and Madagascar, we arrived in Charleston, West Virginia. I took the kids directly to the pool so that they could burn off excess energy. Following that, we wandered across the street to the local mall for a really (ahem) healthy dinner at the food court. God bless sweet tea and Chik-Fil-A, y’all.

My apologies to the fine people of West Virginia, but this place was Hillbilly Hell. The girl/boy in front of me wore a rolled up blue tank top, braids, and a trucker cap on his/her head. Below the tank top peeked plaid boxer shorts, and riding loooow on his/her hips was a pair of baggy homeboy jeans, held up by a belt. In the small of his/her back was a badly drawn tattoo of a hand “flipping the bird” (badly drawn because the middle finger actually looked like a thumb – quite a trick!) and illustrated with “F*ck You”. Charming. His/her mother must be proud (unless she took him/her to get it…) Oh, to perfectly accessorize this outfit, this person drinking from a milk jug about 1/3 full of red punch.

As he/she was leaving, she finally turned fully around, and I realized there were small breasts under the tank top, but honestly, if it wasn’t for the “girls” on display, I would have thought she was a boy. A very, very homely boy.

I so wanted to take a picture of the tattoo with my iPhone, but I was honestly afraid.

So after a very entertaining dinner, a few dollars worth of quarters fed into some ride-on toys, we headed back to the hotel, changed into pjs and climbed into our beds. Of course, Boo claimed to not be tired, so we set ourselves up for a Hannah Montana mini marathon until we fell asleep. (You know that’s what you really need after 9 hours in a car.)

The next morning, after ensuring that the Hubs may never get concierge level service again (my kids are very cranky until breakfast is actually IN them, you see), we loaded up the car. Today, not such a peaceful ride. Boo was not happy about the length of the trip, and 15 minutes into the drive began the “how much longer?” litany. The incessant questioning lasted all 6 painful hours of the drive…several more Barbie, Cars and Thomas the Tank Engine movies later, we arrived at our destination.

Never have I been happier to get out of a car! It took several days for the kids to burn off all their stored up activity. I’m sure there are many people along Route 64 wondering who the mad woman yelling out the open window was, but we survived.

Now the return trip home from North Carolina?

Oh, lets not even talk about that yet…


Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. Really makes you wonder about people doesn’t it? Sounds like you survived the trip though!

  2. Wow—shades of Delieverance. Amusing, yet shocking visuals!

  3. We are currently ON our second family road trip this summer. At the moment we are only 30 minutes into it so everyone is still getting along 🙂 thanks for the laughs!

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