Our return to Cannon Beach over Labor Day was monumental. I learned from the mistakes I made on our last road trip. I picked up a few new tricks as well. Above all, I figured out the recipe for success and I was ready to face the 4+ hours in the car with the kids.
Have an awesome destination in mind
Ever since we left the beach in July Dek has been hounding me to get back (hounding is a gentle word. Incessantly harping on it would be more accurate). Imagine his delight when he woke up one morning, we loaded up the car and told him we were going to the beach. He was beyond thrilled. We talked about it for at least 45 minutes in the car as I raced us down the highway.
Pack a lot of food
Snacks were overflowing in our backseat; Munchies for Mike and me, a case of water for and all of Dek’s favorites. I tucked them into a reusable grocery bag that we all could easily search through when hungry.
Snacks in the bag? Here’s a sneak peek.
- Pirate Booty and corn chips
- Goldfish snack crackers
- Peanut butter filled pretzels
- Fruit leather
- Peanut butter sandwiches
Plan pit stops along the way
On our last trip we didn’t expect the kids to need to stop. Yes, we were crazy and not thinking. This time we planned on it.
I knew where the two random rest stops were along the highway. I had a spot picked out for us to have lunch at the halfway point to and from the beach. It worked like magic.
I don’t know if it will always go so smoothly, but this time it did.
Have a game plan
Dek had been miserable on our way home from Portland in July. He was overtired, bored and ready to just be home. This time we left as soon as everyone woke up in the morning. Dek is not a car sleeper and we learned that leaving at nap time did not work for our family.
I also gave up on my “no technology” strategy. Instead I made it a reward.
Dek, on his own, hung out in the car just watching the world go by for almost 2 hours. When we stopped for lunch I turned to him and said since he had been so quiet and lovely, he could now have my Kindle Fire to play games and watch movies. He was ecstatic!
On top of that I gave him his very own headphones; a move that was a win win for all of us since I don’t think I could survive another round of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Honestly I would have given it to him sooner, but it was all the more sweet for me to be able to hand him my Kindle without any whining or temper tantrums coming from the back seat.
The journey went surprisingly well. Mentally I had prepared myself for the worst. I’d seen the worst (Dek trying to open the car door with his toes as we speed down the highway at 75mph is pretty bad, even if the child-safety lock is on).
I knew we might have to make multiple stops. It might take us 8-9 hours instead of 4 or 5 to get there. I was OK with that.
If we needed to find a park to let Dek run around in and a shady spot for Ty to stretch so be it. If I had to make an extra food stop to try the amazing pie and jam advertised in a Podunk town in the middle of Oregon, so be it.
As long as we got there in one piece I would be happy.