We did it!! Holy Moly, my little idea to take 5 kids under the age of 10 from Texas to California with one other brave mom in her Storm Trooper (also known as the white minivan) is now complete and my final answer is…….it was a success! Hear me out, days 1 thru 3 while we were logging about 500 miles per day and trying (but failing) to find a groove I was fairly certain I’d made a huge error in judgement. After all 7 people in one car for 7 hours per day, 5 days in a row is a lot to ask of a grown up let alone a 5, 7, 7, 8 and 9 year old. Up the ante on this little pressure cooker by breaking an iPad, then a DVD player, then a pair of “ear muffs” (also known as headphones), for good measure have your iPod start to malfunction and you are ready to start checking flights from Nowhere, New Mexico to San Francisco, California! Thankfully, it never came to that. We were armed with a HEAVY dose of humor, and we made it and even smiled and laughed along the way…..in between the pee stops that is.
Here are a couple tips we picked up.
Tip 1: It’s really helpful if your nightly stop has a pool.
While the “adults” planned the next days’ travel strategy pool side, the kids happily went insane. Nothing quite like a cannon ball to express your daily frustrations.
Bonus points if you can find something like this for your lunch break.
Or even this random gas station treat.
Tip 2: Electronic distractions are certainly helpful, a movie can provide maybe 30 minutes of quiet, however that peace and calm usually won’t last.
The other mom had packed up Lego Hero Factory (in that nifty clear container at the bottom of the pic) and these provided hours of entertainment for all our little passengers.
Tip 3: One exciting stop for the way out and one for the way back is plenty. Especially if one of those stops is the Grand Canyon. We opted for the North Rim and were able to stay inside the park in wonderful cabins that were more comfortable and hospitable than most of our other hotel stays.
Super comfy beds and since there is no wifi or cell service to be had the park provides free long distance to check in with loved ones. See below my daughter’s first experience with a phone that has a chord – that’s exciting stuff!
Even more impressive than the phones with chords is the canyon it’s self! My son’s 7 year old words were, “It looks like a cool bath tub for giants”.
But the best thing about sleeping in the park is the canyon at sunrise, I highly recommend this!
Tip 4: If you’ve been driving for 5 days straight try to give yourself at least a full week outside of the car. Your destination should provide lots of easy fun, no helicopter parenting required.
Tip 5: When in doubt follow the signs.
And last but not least…..