Tuesday, August 07, 2018


Road trips.

Upon first blush for me, those words conjure up some magical adventure traversing the country with delicious snacks and fun stops along the way where we all sing along to our favorite songs and have a grand old time.  I probably paint this picture because I am naturally an optimist with a hazy view of my own childhood and no thought to what it actually feels like as a parent.

Road trip reality for our family bears little resemblance to what is described above.  Truthfully, 3 out of 4 of our children are pretty good little travelers, but it only takes one to make the whole thing a lot more painful.  So, when John and I woke up on departure morning of our 14+ hour road trip both exhausted and John battling bronchitis, we realized we needed to change our plans to make this road trip work for our real life family.

We stretched out our journey both on the way there and on the way back and strategically didn't drive longer than 6 hours on any one day.  We also figured in extra stops and activities along the way to get us out of the car and remembering why we like each other.  North Carolina (where John's sister and the beach live) is FAR from AR.  It felt like a win at 5:45 a.m. when we were dragged from our Saturday morning slumber by an asthmatic child (that part didn't feel like winning, but it forced our hand) to totally re-make the travel.  We canceled some stuff.  We added more stops.  Overall, it felt like we finally figured out what we need to make something like this work for our family and be less pressure and less stress.

And, I can say that we returned home about as well rested as possible given what we did, and though re-entry is always hard (especially with school starting), it feels good to FINALLY be doing what we need to do for everyone's overall health.  Basically, our family's health requires more time, less stuff and more flexibility than I wish it did.  But, we are doing what we have to do, which looks different than other families but only has to work for us.

So - here's what the road trip portion of our trip looked like for there and back.  We stopped in Memphis to wander around the giant Bass Pro Shop.


Our first overnight stop took us to Nashville where we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Burger Up and a gorgeous walk around town.


We stopped in Chattanooga and hit up Lookout Mountain to walk around a bit.


We had actually planned on being in Atlanta on the first night and had more planned there, but instead, we only made it there in time to get to part of the Braves/Dodger's game we had tickets for.


Hotel breakfasts became a quick favorite of all the kids.


We stayed in Augusta, GA before heading on to the beach, and on the way home, we had initially planned on making it in two days, but again, we realized that wisdom was guiding us to make that longer, and so we stretched it again.  We spent one night in Asheville, where we enjoyed the stunning surroundings, a street festival, dinner at White Duck Taco and dessert at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.


We were reminded why CFA really is the best quick service restaurant on our way to spend our last night in Jackson, TN, which is only 3 hours from home, but we could not drive 3 more hours that day.  So we enjoyed the hotel pool and Honey I Shrunk the Kids on TV.


Were there still hard moments?  SO many.  But, on the whole, we were pleasantly surprised at how well the travel went, all things considered.  It really was mostly good, most of the time, which is certainly not something that can be said for past road trips.  So, though it took us a lot longer than we wished, I am SO glad we course corrected and hopeful that we can keep on learning all the ways that we need to course correct to not be crazy people.  (And we loved the beach - more on that to come!)