Road Trip

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?

32 comments

  1. Similar to yours! I'm also a military brat. I just hate road trips. The construction, the slow drivers, the idiots on their cell phones... I just want to teleport there and be done with it!

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  2. None of my family can read in the car much or we get motion sickness.

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  3. I do road trips very very sparingly, I hate driving

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  4. I'm not big on road trips either - and I can't say my family enjoys having me in the car (I'm the WORST backseat driver you've ever seen).

    The ideal family trip for us is everyone in the car enjoying the ride while I catch the first flight out to be picked up at the airport when they arrive.

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  5. Woah. I could never take a road trip with you. Mayo jars? Yeah, that totally wouldn't work. I do like to get things moving, but my bladder is too small for that rule :) Have fun!

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  6. Ohhhhh....you sound like my dad. He was in the military too. But I do pity the carsick-reading thing; thank goodness that never bothered me. I could read and write without incident.

    These days, Evan's and my car trips are pretty laid back. We always have the GPS, so no worries about getting lost. We leave comfortably early, but no ass-crack of dawn business. We stop when I have to pee (which is about every 40 miles), we buy lotto tickets in each new state, and generally have a fun time.

    Marriage car trip definitely wins over childhood.

    (And I'm still up for meeting; just let me know!)

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  7. I like road trips. Driving is relaxing to me, singing karaoke with the radio and talking with my passengers. If I'm a passenger, I generally play my DS or fall asleep.

    I'm like you in that I only make stops if we need gas. Otherwise, you better learn to hold it or pee out the window. But for the most part, I find being on the road to be a fun, laid-back adventure.

    Here's my best advice: Treat the journey itself as part of your vacation, a chance to spend time with your loved ones. It's not just the destination that's important. :)

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  8. Reading in a moving vehicle makes me nauseous, too. :( I was always so envious of my siblings' ability to read in the car!

    My summer family vacations consisted of camping all over the U.S. with our pop-up camper. So we spent lots of time in the car traveling! My parents would pack us travel bags that they'd give us as soon as we got on the Turnpike. So fun! They were filled with snacks and toys we could use in the car like travel-sized board games, cards, and electronic hand-held games. So that's what I'd do since I couldn't read in the car: listen to music and coax a sibling to play Connect 4 or (magnetic) checkers with me!

    We'd also play things like I Spy and keep track of how many different state's license plates we saw. I loved road trips!

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  9. Hahahaha!!! I wasn't a military brat (until now?) but we had crazy road trips and my dad is super anal about travel plans. He makes traveling by car, plane, or train (only once) highly stressful. My grandfather though is a blast to have on roadtrips because he's just so bizarre. He does store TP in his fridge so.
    Every backroad is the "short cut" in his mind and AC is for wimps. I've seen a lot of cool things because of his off-the-map excursions, and have been lost on many occasions.
    I'm in Georgia!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WooT!

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  10. OMG--LOL! What IS it w/you guys and that "conquer the road" thing??? Have fun, and yes--GEAUX TIGERS! We'll be sendin the love from the coast.

    Now hop over to my blog and weigh in on some burning questions. I need MALE input... I might troll your followers~

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  11. We fly more than drive, and traveling always stresses me out! Less so as the kids get older, but still. I need a little more precision in my traveling. Can I borrow some?

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  12. oh wow! you and my hubby would make excellent travel partners!

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  13. I loved road trips as a kid. My family would drive north to see my family, and en route we'd stop at tons of museums. I still remember one in NH that my family dragged me out of. And the Salem stop rocked. I highly recommend museum breaks. Fun, educational, and relaxing. Even for road trip compulsives.

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  14. I like road trips. Especially the ones where there isn't a time frame and you can take random scenic detours. Of course, most of the time it's me and my cat traveling cross-country, in which case it's just a straight shot with minimal stops. Audio books are a must. Helps make the time go faster.

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  15. Life is about the journey and not the destination--I've applied that philosophy to my many travel trips, and it's worth the peace of mind.

    I hope you have a great time! (5 min one way or another!)

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  16. My hubby is much more like you than I am - and his brother is crazy about timetables and getting there.

    I'm grateful I can read in the car though - not being able to would drive me batty!

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  17. I hate road trips right now. We have three girls and they fight constantly. Maybe they'll get better when they're older...

    Aw, I'm in Georgia but I'm not close to Atlanta:(

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  18. Every year we travel back to Iowa (from Houston) It is a 17 hour drive and my husband and I drive straight through. If we need a break it's normally right when the sun comes up, we'll stop at a rest area and sleep for 20 minutes before we are straight back on the road.

    I love road trips. I would prefer a plane, however I can make the most of any travel form and choose to do so when I'm given the opportunity!

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  19. ::shudders:: the last road trip I went on was a nightmare. Nightmare! So I would rather not remember it. But I hope you have fun on yours!!

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  20. Hey Don,

    We were going to originally drive to Atlanta for the game but opted to fly instead. We are in a bit of a time crunch. Jackie had to be back at work and the movers are coming on the Tuesday following the game.

    We don't drive as much as we used to. Flying is so much easier. We would rather spend more time at the destination rather than being on the road.

    Go Heels beat the Tigers!

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  21. Sadly, the older I get the more I have to stop...so you wouldn't want me along on any of your trips. Have a great trip and be kind to your wife!

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  22. Road-editing, huh. How interesting! I've never heard of that idea.

    For seven years I lived with my brother's father, who was in the military. We moved from Texas to Georgia to Arizona, and our vacations were always to visit his family in San Antonio. And much to my dismay, it was via car. I was always afraid of getting in trouble by saying something I shouldn't so I would spend practically the entire 16, 17 hour drive silent, just staring out the window. Fun times. /:

    But as soon as my step-father would leave the car for gas, I'd start whining to my mom how hungry/tired/bored I was. She must not have been too happy either.

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  23. Glad to know I'm not the only one who can't read in a car. You know, I'd go on lots of road trips - and pee in the mayo jar, yes - if I could pass the time that way.

    So I have to drive; and I get lost easily. Lucky me, my kids practically WON'T get in a car with me to far at all, and they have video games and MP3 players (I'm cheap, no iPod).

    But, my sister and I drive her hubby to the brink of insanity with our every 45 minute potty/snack/smoke breaks. He don't say anything, but his ears have blisters on them by the time we reach our destination.

    He would like us to knuckle under so he can do a road trip like your's :)

    ........dhole

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  24. I like road trips. Just got back from a long one myself (Seattle to Toronto). Good music, a couple of audio books, and being very open-minded about where and what we eat really help. I think the key to not losing your mind is to stay chill.

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  25. Your wife is a saint! Kids, candidates thereof. Why can't the trip be part of the vacation, an adventure that includes everyone??? Ohhh, tsk, tsk!

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  26. I love road trips. Make them all the time. Our last vacation was basically one big road trip with many destinations.

    I'll also be in Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend. I'll be attending Dragon*Con with my daughter. I've gotten a glimpse of it in the past, but it will be the first time I'm actually attending.

    Have a fun weekend. I know I will!

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  27. I love road trips!! I haven't done one for a while, but my very favorite one was several years ago when I drove cross country to Las Vegas. We didn't have definite plans (other than our hotel reservation), and we stopped wherever we wanted on the drop of a dime throughout the whole trip. It was very fun & freeing! Your compulsive road travel side probably would have hated the spontaneity of it -- lol.

    I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend trip! :)

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  28. So your one of those time line travelers. ;-D As long as we dont have to be anywhere at a specific time, we just....drive.

    I navigate, although Jim loves his gps on occasion. I love maps. We listen to the radio (talk and music) and we just talk. We both love to quietly watch what we pass on the road and enjoy long moments of quiet.

    I really do love a car ride. It's a adventure to me. And I drive when I need to think. It's relaxing.

    I do hope all of ya have a great time. Type at ya later.

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  29. I love road trips as long as I sit in front or drive because I get carsick. Ugh. I love singing and truck top restaurants! Oooh, I want to go right now!

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  30. We do very little travelling. It is many years since we had children in the car. Nothing electronic to keep them interested in those days. But I-spy and verbal games kept them amused and interested in what was going on outside of the car. No motorways in those days. No holidays abroad so no flying or boring waiting.

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  32. Thanks for taking the time to write that. I found it very interesting. If you get a chance you should visit my blog as well. I hope you have a great day!

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