30 days, 6k+ miles, 10 states, 2 countries, 4 American National Parks, 2 Canadian National Parks, one slight fender bender (not our fault), one ding in the windshield, lots of family and friends and innumerable pictures, PBJs and cheetos later, we have returned to Texas.
What an amazing Summer 2011 road trip we had. Our kiddos were great, especially given their young ages (4 and 2) and the number of hours we spent together in a vehicle. We never once even had to make a "potty break" on demand. What a blessing!
Some people asked what we did to stay sane, help our kids stay sane, etc., while spending that much time in a vehicle. We did lots of different things, but I'll try to post on here some of the things that helped us the most.
For the kiddos, Joe introduced to them the "tractor" game. It evolved to be the "Tractor, Train, Antelope, Moose, Bear, Bison, Elk" game, and it worked well. Joe told the kiddos he'd give them a penny for each tractor they saw, and a nickel for each tractor they saw that was in motion. This game helped keep the kiddos looking out and around and taking in the beauty of God's Creation. It also gave them something to focus on, rather than sticking feet in one another's face.
As I mentioned, we ate LOTS of PBJs on the trip to help keep food costs reasonable, as well as to maintain flexibility in our ability to adventure as we drove. We also used my grandmother's old traveling trick to help with food expense. We purchased a little electric skillet like this one Oster SH12 12-Inch Skillet with Hinged Lid, Black. Available for less than $25, even if you use it in place of eating out for a meal or two, you've essentially "paid" for it. This was especially helpful because eating out with tired little kiddos who have been stuck in car seats for way too long can be a really painful experience!
I'll post some pictures soon, as well as some other good lessons learned and ideas from our trip.