Eleven secrets for an excellent road trip

If there are people in your car who follow Elmo on twitter, keep the banana industry thriving, and compel you to keep snacks and wipes on hand at every single moment less you risk Armegeddon, then you need to read this post.

We are driving to spend three nights with dear friends on the Olympic Peninsula next week. They live approximately four hours away, a modest drive north from our urban home to a majestic rural community that is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Resting in the shade of dense forest, and flanked by sandy vistas from which we will gaze upon enormous ships steaming across the water, we will listen to fog horns fading into soft, deep echoes that reflect this place of solitude.

We will dine together, raise a glass, and watch our children scramble and fuss and laugh and run in a most exquisite setting.

With any luck, we will sleep in. Upon waking, we will warm our hands and hearts by consuming small cups of dark rich coffee brewed by one serious barista in the house.

And we will talk, and breathe, and settle into a much-needed break from home and  work.

But first we have to get there.

I’ve compiled a brief list of must-dos/haves in order to make the road trip successful. Some are obvious and others, perhaps, unexpected. But they work for us.

1. Water bottles. They need to be filled, and the water cannot be too cold nor too warm. Candy thermometer useful.

2. For the two-year-old, a pacifier. His “boo boo” can only come out at bedtime and in the car.

3. For the five-year-old, a sharpie. Neither of my kids will draw with crayons, and rarely with washable markers. No, only the permanent ink of a sharpie will do. Visit our home and you will note the evidence.

4. Music. An eclectic mix of the Avett Brothers, Pearl Jam, Norah Jones, classic Sesame Street muppets, Dixie Chicks, Amy Winehouse and Neil Diamond guarantees that each of us will be car-dancing for at least a few minutes.

5. Two absolutely identical snack packs with the exact same number of dried cranberries, puffins, Goldfish, cherry tomatoes and pretzal sticks. They have to be THE EXACT SAME.

6. Anti-anxiety medication for our overly hyped up lab, Coppi. We haven’t tried this in the past, but the vet suggests it will work wonders. We will also take him on a five-mile run before getting in the car.

7. DVD player. Obvious.

8. For me: Good will toward men. Patience. Faith that there is a glass of wine waiting for me by the edge of the wood-burning hot tub.

9. For my husband:  Sense of humor. Be prepared to rough it at all times and be stuck in the car for hours and just keep on driving.

10. For me, again: Knowledge that I am the Social Director because I don’t have to drive. This mean I’m in charge of snack distribution, storytelling, and toy rotation.

11. And finally, a bag full of bags. The kids will probably trash the car anyway, but one can quickly de-litter the backseat with a couple of plastic bags.

Armed and ready for the road, we will head out at the crack of noon on the 4th of July. Adios, Portland!


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16 thoughts on “Eleven secrets for an excellent road trip

  1. risinghawk says:

    We have a Pekingese that has to take anxiety medication – for storms; they terrify him. Unfortunately, there are some coming tonight, with possible 80mph gusts and lots of other fun stuff. Have a safe trip!

  2. Minor Anderson says:

    Try traveling with your father sometime!

  3. Susan Alton Dailey says:

    Love it Sara! We are just heading to the beach this evening and hoping that the hour will inspire sleepiness in the car. Considering the prep, i hope we will survive the heat!!

  4. evafannon says:

    Enjoy the trip! Hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised and it will be smooth sailing :-)

  5. kenyagjohnson says:

    Good luck with that sleeping in part. I think #10 is more work than the driving itself.

  6. momfog says:

    Good list. When the kids are older all you have to have is a handheld video game for all of them. And at least two kinds of every game. I took 5 kids on a 12 hour trip by myself and those things saved my sanity.

  7. Great advice. Only thing I’d change is the anti-anxiety medication – I’d need it. I’d be sharing the back seat and the meds with Coppi. But I would enjoy the trip. It really does sound like fun!

  8. Nekky says:

    Now I know that I must have been doing so many things wrong. Thanks for linking up to Welcome To The Weekend Blog Hop.

  9. rkwpnw says:

    One of my favorite ‘discoveries’ were books on tape. On our first looong road trip, my daughter didn’t even want us to stop because it meant the CD had to be turned off. My favorite book on tape: Three tales of my fathers dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

  10. escorts Emirates says:

    You could certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write ON sunshineandsalad.com . The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

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