Quick Road Trip

On Saturday, Hubs and I tried to recreate the family car trip for our boys.  We were hoping to instill in the kids a feel for 1978, in a wood-paneled station wagon, sitting next to your brother in a hot car, while he poked at you, but then I caved and let them use the A/C.

And who am I kidding?  I had the air conditioning running on HIGH for my own enjoyment from the very second that I sat down in the car.

Hubs and I didn’t wake up with any real plans on Saturday; we simply put the boys in the car, got coffees at a little, non-Starbucks coffee shack, and decided to go for a spontaneous drive, that took us over the mountains and through the woods, and yes… even to Grandmother’s house, but she wasn’t home.

Our first stop was the big waterfall.  I realize that these pictures don’t really create a feeling of WOW, because all I took with me was my iPhone, as far as cameras go.  (It was exactly like leaving a child behind, when I didn’t bring the big Canon.)  Granted, this isn’t Niagara Falls, but this little river kicks out a pretty decent waterfall for our neck of the woods.

IMG_4402 IMG_4401 IMG_4404 IMG_4407 IMG_4409 IMG_4416 IMG_4417We climbed the rocks, even though Hubs was the joy-killer who pointed at the sign that said, “Please Remain On the Designated Trails At All Times.”

I think that sign was there for families who don’t have energetic three-year-olds who have been trapped in a car for ninety minutes.  Surely it didn’t apply to us.

IMG_4422 IMG_4426 IMG_4428 IMG_4431 IMG_4436 IMG_4440After we’d seen the waterfall and visited the information center and disobeyed the posted rules and hiked around the area for a while, we loaded ourselves back into the car and kept on driving.

IMG_4446 IMG_4451And that is when we found the mother load of all lunches, because A&W, Y’ALL!!

We had no idea that this little treasure was waiting for us in a dinky little town on the other side of the mountain, but there she was.  We showed the boys exactly how lunch treats panned out in 1978, minus the wood-paneled station wagon with no A/C.  My only real disappointment is that the girl who brought our meal to us didn’t wear rollerskates; she just hopped on out in her Reeboks, but at least the boys got to see the tray clamped onto the window…

… and have root beer in real, glass, frosted mugs!  I don’t think Thing 2 had ever tasted root beer before Saturday, but he let us know that it was now his favorite food.  He drank all of his and half of mine and stole some slurps out of his brother’s mug, to boot.

IMG_4456The nice folks behind the scenes at the A&W even put a Tootsie Pop sucker in Thing 2’s kiddie meal, which… you know… OTHER FAVORITE FOOD.

IMG_4458So then, with no real plan in mind, Hubs and I decided that YES!  LET’S TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, and that is precisely what we did.  We drove through one miniscule town after another, and we got to see FOUR (!!!!!) combines working in the fields as we drove by.

Thing 2’s day could not have gone any better, because COMBINES, Y’ALL!!  JOHN-STINKING-DEERE COMBINES!!

We hopped out here and there and found little parks to run in at different towns.  We even found an outdoor splash pad and discovered that Thing 2 would rather lose his arm to a shark bite than run beneath the giant sprinklers.

It may be the only thing he fears in this world:  cold sprinklers at the water park.

We stopped at a lake on top of the mountain, too, and bought a $4 package of Skittles.  Clearly, this resort wasn’t thinking that the rendezvous for new supplies was going to be anytime soon, so they charged your birth certificate for candy.

And don’t judge… our food intake on Saturday consisted of thick burgers, laced with grease, onion rings fried in vats of fat, sugary root beer and Skittles filled with all sorts of frowned-upon food dyes.  It was all Road Trip Sanctioned food.

At one point, I had to snap a quick series of pictures, because… LEST YOU BELIEVE THAT OUR LIVES ARE ALL GLAMOROUS AND FULL OF OBEDIENCE, WITHOUT THE OCCASIONAL HISSY FIT HERE AND THERE, behold…

For most of the trip, the boys were very content in the backseat together, even though our teenager kept dozing off.  (I must’ve caught Thing 2 mid-blink, because he WAS NOT asleep here.)

IMG_4459And then… every so often… our three-year-old would take it upon himself to just STRETCH OUT HIS ARMS… and smack his teenage brother in the head.

IMG_4460Which… you know… always resulted in Teenage Irritation.

IMG_4461And then BOOM!  They were back to being good friends again, just so long as the teenager got to sleep for twenty miles.

IMG_4462We made one giant circle, leaving our house in one direction and coming back from the other direction.  Since Grammy and Papa’s house was on our way home, we popped in to see if our carseat-weary kid could splash around in their irrigation ditch and bum a ride with his grandpa on the riding lawn mower.

Sadly, they weren’t home, so the boys were stuck in their seatbelts for another twenty miles.

We had left Small Town, USA at 10:00 on Saturday morning, and we rolled back into our driveway at 5:45 that evening.  It had been one great day of Family Togetherness.

And since the Papa Burgers were still lingering in everyone’s bellies, I whipped up a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner, and I call that a total WIN-WIN.

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