Hitting the Road

For my most recent Northside Woman article I issued this plea via Facebook:
Writing an article (due today, naturally) about Road Trips with Kids - what's your favorite tip for keeping them entertained in the car (and dosing them with Benadryl does NOT count as a good tip)? What's your favorite road trip memory from when you were a youngster?
Friends submitted the most fantastic responses, but my stringent word limit for the article kept me from sharing them all … but the memories and tips for travelling with kids were too good to keep to myself. Enjoy!
I distinctly remember riding in the back of our station wagon on the way to my Grandparents on Christmas Eve. I saw Western Barbie in her shiny Barbie box through the cracks into the trunk in the back and wondered to myself why we were giving my cousin Alice that Barbie when I had asked Santa for one. Miraculously Santa delivered to me a western Barbie that next morning! It still took me years to figure out what was really happening!
We play the ABC game with road signs. But, I actually just saw these cards at Learning Express for dinner games. I'm buying those for us to play this summer when we drive back to Texas.
We always played the ABC game... Where you had to spot every letter of the alphabet on road signs or license plate... We would keep our fingers crossed to pass "q"uick stops, e"x"xons, or e"z" marts... Those last few letters were always the hardest... Of course Ellen and I would also sing all the songs from our tape of the Grease soundtrack... she always got to sing Sandy’s parts, and I got stuck singing Danny’s
(the sister’s response) of course I sang Sandy's part... we also counted cows (whatever side of the car you were on was the side of the road your cows would be on) not sure that was exactly fun but we did it and somehow I think I won every time (there is no way I would have cheated). Now with the boys we just put a DVD in and are good to go.
She always got to sing Sandy's parts, and I always got stuck singing Danny's... I'm sure Chris would have killed for a DVD player-- if only they'd existed back then!She always got to sing Sandy's parts, and I always got stuck singing Danny's... I'm sure Chris would have killed for a DVD player-- if only they'd existed back then!
Listening to books on cd (Chronicles of Narnia—the present favorite), switching seats mid-trip (this always restores peace), handing out toys/books that I have kept hidden for a month or so before the trip (they respond like I've given them something brand new) . . . looking forward to reading it!
I LOVE LOVE hearing these stories! My children would, of course, dub these "Pioneer Days Stories." They are always stunned to discover when I was little it was perfectly legal not only to ride around without a seatbelt, but that, as a tyke, I was frequently allowed to stand up in the front seat on the way to the store. Though, upon further scrutiny, that seems to push even the boundaries of 1970s safety....
These days we take two cars! Divide & conquer!
Ok, my mom always had Tootsie Pops and we counted how many licks it took to get to the middle. Once you got to the thinnest layer of candy coating you just couldn't help but bite it, thus, losing! We had to listen to real country music, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, on 8-Track!! We also slept, with no seat belts, in the back part of the car (a Suburban so there were no seats, it was just flat.)
My mom had a bag of pennies and she would be creative, first one to find a black sheep gets a penny, we would be quiet and intently look for the black sheep. First one to find a dog in a car, a lady wearing a hat, etc. Then we could spend our pennies in the souvenir shop at our destination. I also loved the invisible ink books, still have them today and my kids love them!
Riding to West Tenn. from Disneyworld with the family of 4 and a 3-foot stuffed Mickey Mouse taking the middle of the back of a VW rabbit...
We used to drive to LA from Nashville from '73 - '80 around Christmas to visit Aunt and Uncle. We slept in the back of a Mercury station wagon ( think Griswolds) with no seat belts, but we did have a TV and VCR (mom was an electrical genius). We watched so many episodes of NOVA and National Geographic. Every year we would stop to ski somewhere out West – parents would take a different route every year. One year my parents gave us our own CB to play with on the trip. It’s amazing what truckers will talk about. I didn’t understand most of it at the time.
When our son was 18 months old we were driving up to Wisc. to visit. He was crying and really fussy (his sister was sleeping) so I opened up a Gogurt and handed it to him. He was so very happy and so very quite. Half an hour later I looked backed at them and the entire back seat was covered with Gogurt! He had flung it all around my brand new BMW. The roof, the dog even his sleeping sister was covered in the stuff! It kept him quite but I wouldn't recommend it - Jim was very happy to see us!
As much as I love being "published" (ha ha), I'm fresh out of ideas for road trips. I hate them!!! My only tip is to try to be the parent who drives, so your spouse has to deal with the kids' fights, passing back snacks, Kleenex, changing out the DVD's, and, God forbid, car sickness.
It's not old fashioned like alphabet billboard. We do the dvd thing. We travel A LOT. We do all of our shopping, dentists, & doctors 6 hours away. My biggest secret is for mom. Not really a secret, but I NEVER drive w/out a great book on my Ipod. Earphones work fine. Since it's not constant music I can hear the road safely.
My dad used to put 10 Hershey's Kisses in a row on the dashboard at the beginning of a trip. If we misbehaved, he would take one off and eat it in front of us. Whatever was left at the end of the trip we got to eat. Don't recall ever eating one.
Played "pa-diddle" (not sure how to spell it), the game when you look for a car or truck missing a headlight? Loved that game as a kid! These days we play the geography game when you say a city/state/country etc and the next one has to start with the last letter of the previous one...fun one! The girls love the alphabet animal or food game when you say something that starts with A and the next person says something that starts with B and so on! Can’t wait to read this article! You always crack me up!
Are my Facebook friends the smartest, most resourceful parents on the planet? Yes, they are. The best things I’ve learned about parenting I’ve learned from friends – and I hope you learn a few tricks for travelling with kids from this post!

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