I snapped this shot as the sun emerged over the horizon, on our 14 hour road trip to Oregon. We’d been on the road for 3 hours, survived black ice (and I do mean survived), beat out a snow storm, and fought the nausea that accompanies early morning hunger. Overall our trip went smooth. I am making it sound far more dramatic that it really was.
There are families that have braved longer road trips with kids than us. Many in fact. And honestly I don’t feel the need to compete- 14 hours with 3 kids and a puppy is long enough for me!
Our last two trips to Oregon we applied a principle I first experience on an overseas flight to Singapore. This is the principle: people do better with structure and a schedule. On our way to India, Singapore Airlines scheduled our flight something like this: Meal times, followed by washing (they actually brought each of us hot wet wash cloths), then a movie. At night they brought us slippers, blankets, pillows, a toothbrush, and dimmed all the lights. It helped us pass the long hours and time changes with a mark of sanity.
So on our long road trips we enforce a schedule. Ours looked like this (with some variation):
- 4-6:30 a.m. kids sleep (awake kids had to sit quietly with their blanket and/or stuffed animal)
- Sun up- 8:00 a.m. doughnuts in the car and play with toys (to hold us off a little longer before breakfast)
- 8:00am Quick stop for breakfast
- 8:20 Back on the road/playing with toys and listening to a book on tape.
- 9:30 a.m Movie time (snack around 10 a.m. if you are snack people)
- 12:00pm Lunch (either packed picnic lunch or another quick stop)
- 12:20 Back on the road/coloring and craft time (coloring pages and foam stickers)
- 1:30pm Nap times (awake kids had to play quietly without talking)
- 3:00pm Either another Movie or a children’s book on tape.
- Last hour: pull out the special treats (for us it is Red Vines) because the last hour of any trip is usually miserable.
- 5-6 p.m. we arrived!
The last two trips we took were a marked improvement over many that had come before. And while being in that car is a strange sort of torture in my opinion, I also understand it is a necessary part of getting to those places we want to adventure.