Sunday, August 1, 2010

Adventures in Traveling

As many of you know (or likely read yesterday), we just got back from visiting my husband at his BCT graduation in SC. We live in GA, so it was a 4-5 hour drive one way. . . at least in theory.

We intended on departing for SC Wednesday, July 21, just after lunchtime, but my mother did not call or show up. This was unfortunate since she was driving us there in her Expedition. I cleaned my house and got us packed and did everything I could think of to do. When I ran out of things to clean and busywork to get us ready to go, I called my mom. She was in Jasper. 1 hour from her house, where she would have to go before driving 1.5 hours to mine. It was almost dinnertime at this point. So I had her meet me en route to Columbia in Conyers. When we got there, we waited another hour for her to arrive then moved our stuff to her car and continued driving to Columbia while my dad took my car back to his house. The trip from that point on was relatively uneventful. We got to our destination around 4 am, got to sleep around 4:30 and had to get up at 6.

For the return trip, we intended on leaving immediately following breakfast. We packed up the car, cleaned out the room to make sure we weren't leaving anything, ate breakfast and got in the car. Unfortunately, we passed the pool on the way to the car and my 5 year old wanted to swim. We explained to her there wasn't time and she had a complete meltdown. In the blink of an eye, the "I want to swim" meltdown turned into an "I want my daddy" meltdown which was impossible to fix considering my husband was already on the way to OK and had left for NC several hours before. I took the keys back to the front desk and she had stopped crying by the time I got back to the car. Thank God.

We drove just far enough to reach the middle of nowhere and promptly ran out of gas. Lovely. The AC would come on, but wouldn't blow cold, so we rolled the windows down to capture the breeze from the other cars while I called 911 and we waited for the Highway Patrol trooper to arrive. We went to 2 gas stations that did not have gas cans, encountered a jacknifed tractor trailer and finally found a gas station with gas cans. Unfortunately, they only had 1 gallon gas cans and my mom drives an Expedition, so I spent $15 on 2 1-gallon gas cans. Then I overflowed one while filling it and the cop was nice enough to wipe it off while I filled the other. All the while, I'm trying not to sob because I wish daddy was there at this point. Then we get the Expedition started, go to the nearest gas station and fill up. At this point, its about lunchtime, but I'm too frustrated to eat so we keep going for a bit. By the time I'm ready to eat, everyone else (besides my mom, who was driving) was asleep. We found a restraunt to eat at and drove about 30 minutes before my 5 year old had to pee. So we stopped again. Add a couple more pee breaks and that's how a 4-5 hour trip became a 10-11 hour trip, after which I had to drive an hour from my mom's house to get to mine.

Lessons learned:

1. Eat then let the kids play for a bit before you start traveling. Sure they might be hungry sooner, but its much nicer to start a trip without a fit.
2. Be flexible and if someone is late, start bugging them right away, not several hours later when you're already completely frustrated.
3. Make sure everyone pees at every gas stop and food stop. We forgot this when we stopped for lunch and had to stop again 30 minutes later, which was annoying.
4. Fill up on gas when you get down to 1/2 or 1/4 tank of gas. It is NOT fun to run out of gas when you are in the middle of nowhere. You have to give the trooper your liscence and wait while he confirms you are not a wanted felon then you have to find a gas station with gas cans if you don't carry one with you. . . its just not worth it to save a nickle a gallon.

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