Road Trips

pa sign

We spend a lot of time in the car, traveling to various places. I get excited to head out and stare out the window at the passing scenery, even if I have seen the same landscapes a hundred times. We find ways to amuse ourselves, though we each have individual preferences:

My Husband: He likes to have noise. We have to talk to him, or play music. He picks out CDs before we begin our journey. Then as we travel, he likes to do mental math, checking the speedometer and road signs that tell how many miles we have to our destinations. He adjusts his ETA down to the minute. It’s a game to him.

My Daughter: She plays with her Nintendo DS. She reads a little. Sometimes we make up car bingo sheets and play Bingo through Kentucky. But mostly she likes to sleep.

My Son: He tunes us out. He reads, he listens to music, he texts, and then he sleeps.

Me: I look at the scenery. I read all the signs. I plan our next trips and always wonder if we should veer off on side trips to cities we haven’t seen. I count the number of Waffle Houses at highway exits. I constantly check the atlas (yes, a huge road atlas) to see what other cities we’re near and where we might jockey off the road someday to kill time. I scout for restaurants off the exit that we haven’t been to yet. Then I start perusing the atlas to plan vacations in an entirely different direction next time.

How do you like to pass the time on road trips?

13 responses to “Road Trips

  1. A very fun post, Juliann! I am more like you–thinking about side trips, future trips, observing what we see, reading from the AAA book to the others about local sites. We will often bring a read-aloud book and one of us will read to the the others as we go. We love to listen to music too, and Thom or the kids will choose good road music. Sometimes we will sing along, or if we are struck by a particular song, talk about its story elements and what makes it so good. I love road trips!

  2. A slightly different perspective Juliann; in a 9 x 5-mile island there are no road trips 🙂 I moved here in 1977 and after six weeks I just had to escape to England, hire a car and just point it at the horizon for a few hours! But, quite quickly, you get used to a finite space. But maybe one day I’ll drive across America and there will be no question of ‘killing time’ – the journey will be everything.

    • I hope you do get to road trip across America someday, Roy. I’ve done it and it’s incredible. I’ve also driven up and down the East Coast and loved it, too. Actually, it’s hard not to take a road trip when you want to go anywhere in the US.

  3. Although we are now living in the empty nest and rarely travel with other people in the car, my husband and I savor the time we spend driving. Even though it’s demanding and sometimes boring, we never run out of things to talk about and enjoy the enforced time together. Back in the day, our kids did all of the things that you describe, but you missed identifying all 50 state license plates!

    • There is something so appealing about hitting the open road. When my husband and I have taken road trips without the kids, we find that we laugh and laugh as much as we did when we were dating. We get giddy and a little slaphappy. SO much fun, but fun with the kids, too (because luckily, they’re too far apart in age to fight).

  4. Like your husband, I like the maths/maps games. Looking for mile posts, calculating average speeds over the last hour/day/week, predicting arrival times…

    But then sometimes I like the other activities you mention, too. I find road trips (after a few days’ driving) go through a rhythm, where the noisy bits lapse predictably into the quiet bits.

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