Sunday, November 08, 2009

Only The Strong Survive

I know there are families who like nothing better than to pile everyone in the car and go off on a road trip for a day or two. I mean, I've read about this strange phenomenon. And we do have friends who managed to cross the entire country with 4 kids (ages 2 - 8) in a station wagon in a mere - are you ready? - 4 days. (No DVD players involved - they hadn't been invented yet.)

Our family, sadly, is not of that ilk. The kids' bickering during a 90-minute road trip last July almost put me in the loony bin. I've blocked out how we made it to our vacation spot 12 hours away last August without abandoning someone en route. And the logistics of preparing for a family car trip are enough to make me cry.

Which makes it all the more puzzling why I brought to Larry's attention the "Free Admissions For Veterans" week at a living history museum we've been too cheap to visit all these years. Why don't we just pop down there for the day? I asked brightly. It's only 3 and a half hours away!

I don't know what's wrong with me, really.

Of course it might have been that Theo's college is on the way, so I'm planning to finagle a stopover there for dinner. It is his birthday, you know...

Anyhoo, all that to explain why I can't post tonight - instead, I need to pack sandwiches, find water bottles, locate travel games, and (most important) plan my knitting for the trip. Larry is already abed, having just returned from a weekend encampment with David. That man is not as young as he used to be, I'm afraid. Camping in subfreezing temperatures and peeing in the woods seems to be taking its toll.

Let's just hope tomorrow doesn't finish him off.


Check out this ode to station wagon living - babies stretched out for a nap, children playing in the back while Dad motors down the road. Ah, the simple life before seatbelts and car seats!


  1. we were just talking about this very thing last night. We could go on long vacations because the kids could stretch out in the back seat and sleep while the parents took turns driving!

  2. We have a dual screen dvd player in the 15 passenger van, plus the boys usually take their gameboys and the girls their mp3 players. It still takes forever to get to NY state to see our families. The stops for potty breaks for the younger ones, plus nursing the baby, and if we go on the spur of the moment, we have to take the dog, who requires extra stops, can make a 325 mile trip take 8 or 9 hours. Our next trip, Anne (19) has volunteered to pay for the gas for the Camry and drive herself and one well behaved sibling. I told her she gets her bug brainless mutt, also.

  3. Phew! Good thing you saved all that time by not posting tonight. ;) I wish you luck, sanity, and a birthday dinner with your first baby. I myself am still prone to tears when anyone mentions our one day trip over Labor Day weekend, I may never be the same, mental bruises just don't heal like the physical variety.

  4. I was particularly fond of the overhead camper on our truck growing up--reading in bed while vacationing? Life didn't get much better than that.

    Okay, so I would have been ping-ponging off the walls in an accident, but who thought about that. It was the seventies!

  5. My own childhood was spent seat belted, thanks to my mother's life-saving experience on black ice. My siblings and I are probably the only ones of our generation who were always belted in on long car rides... and there were many of them. MANY. LONG.

    I salute you and wish you an event-free journey... or else some really good blog fodder! And I'm curious about your destination. E-mail me?

  6. OMG!! That picture is hilarious! When I was 5, I almost fell out of the back of our wagon. My Mom started to pull away from the light and the gate fell open!! The man behind her had to honk his horn so she would look and see I was sitting on the open tailgate!! Can you imagine?? LOL Keep writing , I love your blog :)

  7. Ahhh yes, the "way back" of the station wagon. I rode there, along with all our luggage and sleeping bags, all across the country and back (NY to CA) when I was 8. My baby brother was in an infant seat in the front in the middle, usually with a pillow in the seat so he could sleep comfortably on his tummy. The other four kids were in the middle seat...probably my little sister on my older sister's lap. No air conditioning. And I believe that same station wagon is the one that had rusted out floorboards in the back seat. We could see the road whizzing under us at 6o mph and drop things down and watch them bounce out behind the car. Luckily none of us kids ever fell through. Oh- we also had a car top carrier that opened up to a tent. It was so fun to sleep up there on the car!

  8. Oh I remember the days of no seatbelts sitting in the back of the station wagon playing. That station wagon is also how my sister was able to come home from the hospital in a full body cast. Picture this if you will. Seven children and two adults in a car built for five, going 1000 miles non-stop, long before DVD players and such. Actually wouldn't have been room to use them anyway.

  9. Harry (who does not have a blog)November 09, 2009

    Someone should warn Theo to act grateful and happy to see "everyone." That will not be the natural reaction of the 18 year old male who is suddenly confronted with parents and over-tired younger siblings.

    My favorite "family" trips right now involve the ride home by myself after a drop off at a school, so I'm "traveling with just my thoughts and dreams."

  10. No seat belts, and mom handing back Wonder bread-and-baloney sandwiches. Deelicious. (If you don't have DVDs and MP3s to put the kids in a trance, you can always suggest singing 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.)

  11. That is totally how I remember traveling by station wagon...back in the Olden Days.

  12. man you gotta love them road trip destinations, worlds biggest roll of yarn, them was the days.

  13. It isn't the actual car rides that kill us since they all have their own iPods plugged into their ears. It's the sit down dinners or the actual trip to the museum is when the bickering begins. No one ever wants to eat at the same place, then they sulk if they don't get to eat at the place they wanted, ugh don't get me started.

    Best of luck on your mini trip.

  14. Ah, we used to have so much fun in the back of the station wagon- an all day drive from California to Arizona, listening to my dad sing gory songs all the way. What nostalgia! As for me, it has to be a matter of life and death to drive my kids the 45 minutes to an hour it takes to get to the closest bigger city. Good luck!



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