July 28, 2013

Day 9: Halfway Home

We drove 600 miles today and are more than halfway home.

It was not a very exciting day.

We had our first Waffle House experience, we saw a couple of possibly Amish families riding horse-drawn buggies across bridges, and we accidentally visited Cuyahoga National Park as part of a meandering restroom quest.

That's pretty much it.

Instead of trying to stretch out these adventures (the waffles were good, but not life-changing), I present you a list of 10 random things we have discovered on our trip:

* If you give a 6-year-old an iPod Shuffle full of music, she'll instantly find the three most insidious pop tracks and play them until she knows every word. You'll know this because you'll hear her belting out "Baby, you're a firework!" from the backseat. But you'll set aside the last vestiges of your rock snobbery and appreciate her for the firework she is.

* If you want to impress a three-year-old boy, don't bother with national monuments or world-famous museums. Take him by a construction site and show him the diggers and crane trucks. Or drive past a semi that's hauling tractors.

* Audio books are a great way to pass time while the kids watch DVDs in the back seat. Tangled and Wall-E for them, Neil Gaiman and Chuck Klosterman for us.

* Tolls seem like a fair system to distribute road maintenance costs. But they're still annoying.

* To feel like a genius, carry a packet of baby wipes at all times.

* If you're going to pass a food item to a 3-year-old in the backseat, keep your expectations low. In the best-case scenario, your bag of trail mix will be returned as a bag of peanuts.

* The Prius is a great car for long road trips. It's fuel efficient, it's easy to parallel park, and nothing that gets dropped in the back seat is unreachable from the front seat.

* Sam should teach a lecture series on the art of packing. We brought fewer belongings for 10 days in Washington, DC than we do for 24 hours in Fargo, and we couldn't think of a single missing item.

* I was pleasantly surprised by the scenery. Watching fog creep through the forests of Maryland, watching rain brighten the green hillsides of western Pennsylvania, I realized how wrong I was in my assumption that "out East" was one giant stretch of urban area.

* Despite a few backseat scuffles and Felix occasionally saying "I want to get out of the car so I can run off in the grass and be by myself," the kids handled the trip really, really well. Their patience and compliance will be rewarded with more road trips to come.

No comments: