This year we decided to drive back west to Utah and Nevada to visit family. It felt a little crazy to drive 32 hrs each way with two kids and being 6 months pregnant myself! But, we thought we'd give it a try. As my packing list grew I wanted a way to keep some sort of organization in the trunk. I loved THIS idea but couldn't find the shower caddy bags she used. So, I sewed up some of my own with some fabric and vinyl I had on hand. Thanks goodness they turned out ok, though with many flaws, because I did not have time to re-do them!
I made lots of lists so I didn't forget anything, but left the packing for the day we were leaving. I hate trying to pack ahead of time and realizing you can't pack something because you need it before you leave! However, I was way over my head with doing laundry and getting everyone's things together in one day. I spend from about 9am until 5:30pm packing that van! Whew! I was already exhausted before we even pulled out of the driveway!
One of my biggest concerns for the trip was keeping the kids occupied so there was very little whining and screaming :) The dual DVD player proved the best investment and kept the peace most of the time. I also bought lots of snacks and treats to keep the tummies happy. I also bought a handful of new toys from the dollar store and wrapped them up for the kids to open periodically. Each kid had their own bag of toys plus a bunch of books and toys to share.
Blankets and pillows kept everyone cozy!
On average we stopped about every 2 hours to stretch our legs, have bathroom breaks, and change drivers. I think I may have been the most uncomfortable and need the stops the most! We drove about 6 hours the Friday night we left. Little Lucy was our crazy girl that night deciding not to fall asleep, despite the fact that we drove until 11:30pm. Emery finally nodded off around 10 but not Lucy! Luckily her late night helped her have a little nap the next day. Saturday we drove 14 hours! Sunday we drove another 14 hours. It was LONG!
Amazingly we only had a few minor meltdowns. Lucy's biggest fit was over a fly trapped in the van after we'd stopped to get gas on Saturday. She kept saying "Scared!" and screaming when it got close to her. I think she must have thought it was a bee and would hurt her. Emery did great until about the last 4 hours on Sunday. He was over being in the car saying "We're NEVER going to get there!" and "I just wish we were there NOW!" Once we arrived in Utah everyone was relieved! Especially me; my feet and ankles had gotten very swollen over the 3 days of sitting in the car.
Most of the country can be summed up in: trees, corn, brush, dirt (as you drive further west). But, we did see a few picture worthy things! A few cool bridges, the St. Louis arch, and wind mills were our favorites.
Rest stops vary widely in how nice they are, and we especially liked the ones with play areas for the kids.
Or just sidewalks to run around on to stretch our legs!