Our Travellin' Jones

As I get set for another long trek to the Minnesota Northland, I think about how mobile our family has become.  Because we have family in two different states, we've always had to travel to get home for the holidays and life events. Minnesota is about a 5 hour trip and New York is about 12. We can't always afford to fly, so more often than not, we drive. It's not always the preferred method of travel, but with the way flying has changed in the past 20 years, driving holds more appeal than ever. Getting on a plane is a bit of a cattle call, and now with all the body scanning, disrobing and everything short of a full friskdown, driving is still all us.

When I mentioned to my boss yesterday that we were headed 9 hours northwest of here, his jaw kind of dropped. He's not quite sure how we manage it. Donna gets this all the time from her friends. She mentioned a friend yesterday who said that she feared her kids would get too bored on a 4-5 hour trip. As my boss said yesterday, 4-5 hours for us is just "settling in." 

So, what do we do to make the miles pass faster? In the past with the kids, there were things like Leap-Pads, DVD players and Nintendo DS's. The Leap Pad was a crazy, fun toy that actually stimulated learning in the kids, IMHO. Of course after an hour of playing with it, the kids would start goofing around with it and clicking the same thing over and over to make the voice say something like "The femur is connected to the..the femur...the femur...the fe...the fe...the..the..." This usually got them to laughing as well as us.

As the kids have grown, they've graduated to ipods, drawing, napping and texting. The latest gadget we've added is cigarette lighter AC adapter for laptops. This allows for watching movies on DVD and/or playing games. The thing is noisy, but it keeps the peace, if that makes any sense. 

Donna and I are usually in front, Donna reading and me driving and, I admit, listening to my iPod. (Yes, I know, it's illegal. What isn't these days?) I usually drive 80% of the trip with Donna spelling me when I get drowsy. I don't mind driving. To me it is therapeutic think time. I love the road, always have. I credit my friend Pat Judd for instilling that love in me. We frequently took "road trips" to St. Cloud on a moments notice. We wrecked a car or two of his along the way, but that's a different story for another time.

Food staples for our trips have evolved over the years. When we first started travelling, it was Mountain Dew, sunflower seeds, and Twizzlers licorice. The only thing that remains today is the Twizzlers. We rarely drink soda anymore, opting instead for water or seltzer. Staples for the kids include Tootsie Pops, chex mix, chips and soda. 

This is a topic that begs for more, so I'll try and post about it again soon. 

For now, I'm blogging off...


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