Saturday, February 5, 2011

No Road Trips For Us

Once upon a time, I loved road trips. When we lived in New Hampshire, Utah Dad and I would wake up early on Saturday mornings and head north toward the Canadian border, searching for moose (they're hard to see in the thick woods) and quaint Northern New England towns to visit. Lunch in Meredith. Shopping for books in Center Harbor. Eating candy in Littleton. Hiking in the White Mountains. Observing the loons on Squam Lake. The scrapbook store was in Derry.

Sometimes we'd just drive and flip a coin to see what direction we should turn. Occasionally, we'd end up lost in the vast, wilderness of  western Maine and discover a farm of domesticated elk or we'd covet the immense mansions along the seacoast (all eleven miles of it) of New Hampshire.

Gas was cheap then and we often made weekend excursions in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, all over Vermont, and into Upstate New York. We put a lot of miles on that trusty, little car in those days.

When we moved back to Utah, we continued our weekend road trips. We packed up the one or two kids we had by then and drove to Corrine to see the water fowl migrating through. We went out to the Salt Flats or to Hardware Ranch. We went up to Park City. Down to Cove Fort. Out to Vernal nearly every month. We drove to Yellowstone. To Jackson. To Star Valley, Wyoming to visit my grandma. Saw the Utah version of fall foliage in Monte Cristo. We drove the Alpine Loop and the Nebo Loop. We went to Mirror Lake and Bear Lake. Sometimes we just drove with no specific destination--turning around and heading home when we were tired and/or hungry.

We don't do that any more. Utah Dad often mourns this loss and wonders why. Besides the higher and ridiculous price of gas, the main reason is that we now have five children smooshed, uncomfortably in the minivan (it appears spacious in the commercials) and even on short drives to visit the grandparents in Salt Lake, like tonight, we hear this coming from the back seat:

Amberly: Neal, stop elbowing me!
Neal: You're leaning on me! Get off!
Amberly: Mom! Neal is elbowing me!
(Mom and Dad are having a conversation in the front seat about the larger garden we intend to plant this summer and are attempting to ignore the ruckus in the back.)
Lilly: Stop kicking my seat!
Neal: It was Amberly!
Amberly: Stop elbowing me! Mom! (said in the most grating, whiney voice imaginable--pure torture.)
Me: Don't touch each other. Thomas, look at the train.
Thomas: Where?
Amberly: Out your window.
Thomas: I didn't see it. Where was it? (Crying) I didn't see the train!
Amberly: Thomas, stop elbowing me!
Thomas: I didn't see the train! (He's still crying. I remind myself not to point out objects of interest in the future.)
Neal: Mom, Amberly just kicked me in the mouth.
Amberly: I did not!
Neal: She did!
Utah Dad: How did she do that?
Neal: She has her feet up on the seat.
Me: Amberly, put your feet down.
Amberly: Thomas took off his seat belt!
Thomas: No, I didn't.
Amberly: Thomas just elbowed me. Why is everyone elbowing me? (My view from the rear-view-mirror shows that Neal and Thomas are squished over to the opposite sides of the car as far as they can. Amberly apparently needs room to sprawl. I think that I might also be tempted to elbow her if I was forced to sit by her dramatic highness. Clearly, I'm siding with the boys. Utah Dad sides with his daughter and threatens major punishment if the boys do not cease and desist immediately.)
Neal: I think my mouth is bleeding.
Lilly: I'm thirsty! I need water. (The three-year-old currently speaks one language - Whinese. Fortunately, Molly has fallen asleep.)
Me: I don't have any water right now. We'll be home soon. (Thank goodness.)
Lilly: I NEED water, now!
Neal: It's so uncomfortable back here. Why do I have to sit by Amberly? We need a new car. (Utah Dad and I consider the possibilities of driving a bus or at least installing a chauffeur window between us and the children.)
Amberly: Neal just hit me again!
Neal: I did not. You are laying on me.

And on and on--until we ground them from video games and play dates for the entire week. They all went straight to bed when we FINALLY arrived home--where we will remain for quite some time.

My Stick Family from


Laura said...

I'm so sorry! I hate to admit that I was laughing as I was reading this post! My kids just fight over who HAS to sit by Joseph!
I am soooo thankful that we will not be having any long road trips for a long time. When I say long, I mean anything more than 500 miles-one way!! This summer was brutal for us! One round trip to Utah in May/June, and another one way trip to Utah in August!
It will get better...eventually!! =)

Ammon and Jen said...

Ha ha ha. I can laugh now because it sounds so familiar, and IT'S NOT MY KIDS THIS TIME! I think all of us know the torture of this kind of car ride. I'm sorry. You and Utah Dad and me and Ammon will all have to have a delightful road trip together--while the kids get spoiled by grandma and grandpa at home.

Kerri said...

Just read this with the girls reading it aloud! love it! That is when we bought our big van. Even though I had enough seat belts with the minivan at least in the van they don't 'have' to touch each other!!

anna said...

Blood in my mouth?!? What??

This is my everyday of driving with three kids smooshed in our backseat. I think the chauffeur window is a really good idea :) I miss our drives around to look for moose and listening to Enya.

Rheanna said...

You make me feel crazy for making an 8 hour drive to Colorado-with the kids-this summer! Now I'm scared to go! :o) It's comforting to know that we aren't the only ones that have odd "issues" even when we're just driving down to Wal-Mart!

Janae said...

--Hi-I'm a new followerI can so relate--with four young kids we've been a little homebound lately also.