Sunday, July 04, 2010

Road trippin' part 1: What worked

What worked:
1. Dividing the 11 hour drive into two roughly equal halves. Six hours buckled into a car seat is plenty for one day.
2. Giving Z my hand-me-down iPod. She was plugged into audio books, Taylor Swift and ABBA the entire time and happily zoned out, looking out the window and listening. Once in a great while she'd take off her kid-sized earphones and read a book, color a picture or provoke her little sister, but mostly she was content to sit quietly.
3. Packing a decent variety of snacks, from the familiar crackers and carrot sticks to the super-special/exotic Pringles, animal crackers and Fruit Roll-Ups.
4. Stopping for good food. Thanks to a little advance planning, a GPS device and Twitter access from my Blackberry, we only stopped once for chain fast food (and we only bought a Happy Meal so we could access the PlayLand guilt-free). Instead, we enjoyed the best bad-for-you food at places like Triple XXX Family Restaurant in West Lafayette, IN and Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville, KY. We even ate semi-healthfully at the Alfalfa Restaurant in Lexington, KY.
5. Driving in the morning. Our kids are much better behaved in the a.m., so leaving after breakfast let us get most of the driving done before prime meltdown time and ensured enough time for a dip at the hotel pool before dinnertime. Speaking of hotels, I can't praise Staybridge Suites in Lousville enough. For $100, we got a 1-bedroom king suite with full kitchen and a very nice bathroom. The staff was helpful, the pool was immaculate and well stocked with towels and new deck chairs and the breakfast featured real foods (as opposed to the thawed, plastic-wrapped Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits and Pop-Tarts disguised as a "continental breakfast" at Ashley Quarters hotel outside Cincinnati [which was a rip-off at $150]). And did I mention the pillows? There were 8 just for the king size bed!


Stay tuned for part 2: what didn't work.