Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “Life is a journey, not a destination,” but my guess is that he has never ridden in a mini-van for 17.5 hours with four little kids.
Although I was apprehensive about the looooooooong car trip from Indianapolis to San Antonio, we had a mostly delightful time. The kids did much better than I imagined, thanks to some advance planning to implement a little structure and fun to the long days on the road. We gave them bags with the exact amount of gummy bears as there were hours on the road, for each leg of the trip. My phone alarm went off every hour and they got to eat another gummy bear. Not only did they appreciate the sugar, they also were able to see progress and count down how many hours were left. This was a great visual and kept the “Are we there yet?!” questions at a minimum!
We also spotted all the state license plates except for Wyoming and a handful of New England States. It always amazes me how often I see Alaska license plates on the road. We saw Alaska plates twice on this trip. I want to flag those people down and figure out their story and how their car got here. Did they ship it or do they just like obscenely long road trips? If it’s the latter, they clearly do not have four small children.
My favorite part of road trips is random stops. Even going to buy some snacks at the gas station can seem like an adventure, especially for the little kids.
That’s the great thing about travel: you can plan, but you never know exactly what’s going to happen next or what exactly you will see around the corner. It’s kind of like opening Christmas packages. But it’s even better than Christmas because you don’t have to deal with all the mess and putting away all the stuff (much of it, you probably don’t need). I just love all the anticipation!
I try to talk to my kids a lot about maintaining a good attitude when traveling. I think that’s the most important thing because there will always be inconveniences. I tell them that we can all still have fun, no matter what, if we have good attitudes and make the most of it. I think they did a pretty good job on this trip. That makes me happy, because I hope we can see a lot more of this country, and maybe even some parts of this world, together in the coming years.
All six of my kids’ cousins currently live in Texas. When you are nine, seven, five and two, nothing is more fun than down time, playing with cousins. We enjoyed seeing the kids have fun together. We also enjoyed some outings and made sure to take advantage of seeing the Alamo and some cowboy history, along with a boat ride and a trolley ride to downtown Dallas.
Being from the northern part of the country, we looked forward to some warmer weather and prematurely got out the flip flops. We ended up wearing hardly any of our warm weather clothes and all of our cold weather clothes. We froze! But, oh well. Spring is just around the corner, even here in the north. We did have one nice day in Dallas. It was absolutely wonderful to bask in the sun and people watch.
And also to watch the kids play in the water park, despite the fact that they weren’t prepared. Oh to be a kid, to throw caution to the wind and fully embrace the water, not thinking about cold breezes that might occur later in the day. It was fun to watch them frolic and enjoy life.
Incidentally it had snowed a few inches two days before. Crazy times!
Also, we ate a lot, a very lot, of Mexican food, including breakfast tacos twice. Yum.
I loved sitting across from these two little guys on the trolley. They are hysterical.