The family (minus our two older children) plan on traveling to Atlanta Labor Day weekend to visit friends and watch our LSU Tiger football team (GEAUX TIGERS!) open the season against North Carolina in the Georgia Dome. We used to live on the outskirts of Georgia’s state capitol for nine years and my closest friend and his family still resides there, so we typically mount an excursion in that direction every couple years. I’m also meeting up with my best friend from high school (who attended UNC) and his wife. Although we enjoy ourselves immensely while we are there, road trips are a struggle for me and tend to overshadow the entire trip.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, or have checked out my profile, you know that I grew up a military brat. That means a lot of long cross country trips with a family of six and the family dog all crammed in a station wagon (think National Lampoon’s Family Vacation). That was also back in the days when there were no portable DVD players (or DVD’s at all), no PSP’s or gameboys, and all that was available to help pass the time was to read, which I couldn’t do because I get sick when I read in a car. So what did I do? I became my father’s navigator. I kept track of what route we were taking, how far it was until the next city, if we were making good time or not, alternative paths to avoid heavy traffic, etc etc. There was no map I couldn’t decipher, except maybe Mississippi. What was a great way to pass the time when I was a kid became my curse as an adult, and a severe point of contention between me and my family.
I hate to say it, but I’m that person who’s extremely anal regarding a traveling timetable. Departure time: the earlier the better, preferably before the sun rises. If we are not ready to leave on-time then I’m pissed for at least a 100 miles. Potty break: that’s what mayo jars are for. Hungry: that’s what the bag of snacks is for. If we are traveling far enough that one tank of gas won’t do, then the resultant pit stop looks like something you’d see at Talladega raceways. I can not count the number of fights my wife and I have suffered revolving around our family trips, and I know it’s all my fault. I admit it, I AM ROAD TRAVEL COMPULSIVE. I wonder if AAA offers some kind of therapy meetings I could attend?
Actually, as I’ve grown older I’ve learned to relax more and it helps tremendously when you’re driving a car that just a year old and the worry of break-downs is minimal. Something else I’ve discovered that helps is having my wife (or older children) help out by reading my manuscript aloud as we drive, road-editing so-to-speak. The time really flies by that way.
Anyway, I’m doing all that I can to concentrate on other things, thinking about how much fun we’ll be having. I’m even trying to make arrangements to meet up with my Georgia-based blogging buddies while I’m there. You just can’t pass up opportunities like those when they present themselves, so if you’re in the Atlanta area and free that weekend…give me a shout.
But still…deep in the back of my mind… I wondering how I can shave another 5 minutes off our best time. How about you? What are your road trips like?