Thursday, August 6, 2009

Getting There-- Montana Road Trip, Part One

Now I know sometimes I give my kids a bad rap; its all a part of my drunk-mom-whose-kids-make-her-a-little-crazy schtick but I know you all know I'm not really drunk all the time and I adore my children and here's why: because they were perfect angels for a 17 hour car ride. SEVENTEEN HOURS IN A HONDA ACCORD BACKSEAT. For those of you who are a little slow on the uptake, that's 17 hours. As in 17 hours. Like only 7 hours short of a whole day. 17 hours.

We started as all good road trips do: going to bed at midnight and getting up at 2. We woke the kids up at 2:50 and were on I-5 by 3:20. As we picked their innocent, sweet, sleeping bodies up they both looked at us like "I'm sorry I didn't pick up my toys like you asked, but this seems a little extreme". Several minutes into the drive Samuel exclaimed, "I know its a long drive to Nana's house but I don't really want to sleep". And friends, he pretty much kept to his word. For 17 hours.

I'm going to save you all the boring details but I will tell you this: bribery was involved. And new toys from the $1 store at every state line. And Bob the Builder. A lot of Bob the Builder. Perhaps too much Bob the Builder. I also had the entire snack aisle from Walmart on the floor of the backseat and if ever we heard a hint of whining we said, "Who wants a snack? How about some gummy worms? Peanut butter crackers? Ooh, what's this? Grapes!" For Samuel and Emily it was the closest they will ever get to being back in the womb: not a lot of room to move and a constant flow of food. The whir of the tires on the highway was the perfect background music like that of my blood flow as they lived in my belly. Hummmmmmm. Hummmmmm. Hummmmmmmm.

The key to long road trips with a 1 and 3 year old is an early realization that making good time is a luxury meant for childless couples and college kids who haven't gone to bed yet. The prime goal becomes arriving with everyone's hair still on top of their heads. For us that meant making some good stretch stops. We had a short one in The Dalles and another in Wallace, Idaho and lastly in Butte, Montana.

We found this perfect little rest area/park/mining memorial/shallow river right off the highway. Kudos to Wallace, Idaho City of Commerce for making this place especially for us. The Hendersons thank you. We spent a whole hour here stretching, peeing and playing. It was awesome and when we left Emily screamed so hard and so loud we started calling her Samuel.

Here's an imitation mine shaft where we threatened to leave the kids if they cried in the car. "Stop crying or Daddy will turn this car around and take you back to that mine shaft in Wallace, Idaho". No, I'm just kidding.

When I bought Samuel's leather sandals at the beginning of the summer I told Hot Jeff to try and not get them wet because they would start stinking to high heaven. Well when I caught up to them after changing out camera batteries it was too late, the damage had been done. And yes, those shoes now stink to high heaven and Hot Jeff has taught Samuel the phrase, "My dogs are barkin'".

It was shortly after this stop when the kids were quietly watching a movie, Jeff was driving and listening to his iPod and I was writing on Ruby when I decided this was definitely not what Willie Nelson had in mind when he sang 'On the Road Again'. Remember the good ol' days when we took road trips and the only thing we had to do besides sleep was play the license plate game? And how about just making the back seat one big, huge bed to stretch out on? Well Willie Nelson can suck it because I'm pretty sure he's high on all of his road trips and not traveling with a 1 and 3 year old so bring on the porta-DVD player. There's always time to play the license plate game when the midgets are a little older, can read and have an attention span longer than 4 minutes.
My kids rock.


kim said...

you are so funny!! love it! we do the same thing on road trips. snacks up the waazoo, lots of movies and lots and lots of stops!!

Sarah Dawn said...

17 hours! Your kids do rock and so does their mommy.

Sarah Dawn

Traci P. said...

I think Jason Krone would be pretty peeved that you just told Willie Nelson to "suck it".

Amber said...


This sounds trips with my family.

In fact, I felt all weird and out-of-bodyish, because it was like I was reading about us. In the car. With free flowing processed snacks and a healthy mix of bribery and threatenry.

Even down to the husband. driving. with the iPod.

And the stinky shoes.

Emerson Merrick said...

Wow, i know for a fact that i wouldn't be able to hold it together for 17 hours in the back seat of a car. You're kids are better behaved than me!

Michelle said...

I went to school in Eugene my freshman year after growing up in Bozeman. I thought the drive was long for me!! Way to go!