Earlier this summer, we went camping with family over a 100-degree weather weekend. Right now, we're spending time in the Ozarks with the same family and my car has registered 104, 107 and 109 degrees at various points when we have gotten in it to please find a bit of relief. The air conditioner has been maxed out for a few days now, and my gas mileage has relatively plummeted between that and the up-and-down-and-up-and-down-ness. We've got the timing for finding those 100-degree days down to an art, it seems.
But the laughs have been abundant. We're all scattering back to our various parts of the country in just a few hours, so there's something to look forward to: hours upon hours of Boxcar Children audiobooks, numerous stops, and the inevitable "I have to go...it's an 'mergency." I don't enjoy a road trip on a good day, and then when you throw in some traffic jams for no reason and 10 cops in a 7-mile stretch of road (curses, Illinois), it gets tiresome. It seems like the rest of the family either loves a 14-hour car trip or else had a magical experience whereupon their children were quiet for 8 hours.
Friends, that was not our experience. We stopped 8 times, and our 8-hour trip took closer to 10 hours. Interminable. I quite literally forced myself to only check how many more miles were left on the GPS once we reached another exit rather than every 15 seconds.
But for the return, we feel like we have some things on our side - namely knowing which rest stop is inexplicably closed and which one has a playset, where the coffee stops can be and where we'll probably switch drivers.
I didn't grow up with a family that road tripped it regularly. the 3 1/2-hour trip to my grandparents' house felt like A BIG DEAL the 3 times a year we headed that way. I like the idea of a road trip, but I'm having a hard time buying in on the boy's sincere desire to just pack the kids up and take off for 2 weeks, wending our way across a handful of states while camping along the way. I feel like the romance of that just won't take me very far, maybe past the state line.
It's hard for me to suck it up to get past the never-endingness of the Midwest to get to the good stuff. The girls don't know it, but this trip is something of a test to see if we can handle a longer (in terms of driving hours) trip together next year. Perhaps it's just a way to ease me into the idea of getting over myself for the sake of adventuring with my family.
Then again, my daughter started moo-ing at me this afternoon when I was putting sunscreen on her in preparation of heading to the bathtub-warm pool. I asked her why, and she told me that I looked like a cow because "You have spots" (moles). There's nothing better than a kid to keep your vanity in check.