Yesterday we embarked on our road trip to Albuquerque, and I have to say it hasn't been too bad. On Friday we picked Brad up after chorus and hit the road for the first leg of our trip - Orem to Durango, Colorado, about 400 miles. Today we only did about 250 miles, and it was substantially more painful. But we're here now, and we survived, so it's all good.
A few weeks ago we drove down to St. George, and Darcey was horrific in the car, and Darcey and Zack were horrific in the hotel room. So I took some preventative measures for this trip. First, I bought not one, but TWO portable dvd players, so both rows in the minivan could watch their own movies. I know that seems a little extreme, but at $89.99 plus tax each, it was still cheaper than one installed dvd player, and this way Brad and Noah don't have to watch many, many hours of Elmo's World with Darcey. Second, I reserved hotel rooms that were bigger than normal, so that hopefully not everyone would have to hear all of Darcey and/or Zack's incredible loudness.
The dvd players worked like a charm. Brad and Noah may as well have not been in the car at all, they were so quiet. They only piped up when they needed a snack refill. We had to make them take off their headphones in order to inform them of the lovely scenery that we were passing.
And lovely scenery it was, too - until it got too dark to see the scenery. None of us have been to Moab before, and it was strikingly beautiful. Not lush Switzerland beautiful, and not even fairly lush East Coast beautiful, both of which I prefer - I guess I really like trees. But the rock formations were interesting to look at, and intriguing enough that we're thinking about stopping on the way home for a closer look.
To make a long story short (not likely), the first half of our driving was excellent. Darcey whined, but it was bearable. Zack dropped his legos and also whined, and it was slightly less bearable, if only because I've been listening to his particular whines for 4 years now. We pulled into Durango at about 10pm, which means we made excellent time even with a 45-minute dinner break. When we got into the hotel, I was convinced that road trips were the new future for the Simmons family.
But when we left this morning, for the second, shorter, half of the drive, I was second-guessing myself. Several of the kids (and, of course, they wouldn't leave me out of it) had a bad night at the hotel. Darcey and Zack were so wired by 10:15 when they were finally in bed that Darcey lost it and Zack wouldn't stop talking, yelling, and picking fights for half an hour while everyone else attempted to sleep. Then Brad was awake from 2:30-3:30, during which time he spilled a cup of water on the nightstand and tromped back and forth through the room about 8 gajillion times, opening and closing the bathroom door (with the bathroom light on). To top it off, Zack woke up at 6. Fortunately, he followed orders by taking the portable dvd player into the bathroom to watch it; unfortunately, he first had to call "Mom! Mom!" until I got out of bed to make him stop.
So, to sum up without making you feel all of the pain, I was exhausted and Zack was exhausted and neither of us really wanted anything to do with each other. Brad and Noah continued their silent dvd vigil in the back of the van, Darcey was fine once I went in the back to sit next to her, and when I could keep Darcey and Zack quiet, then Ryan was fine too. So everyone was kind of on edge.
I think the answer is to drive straight through. I think the danger comes with having two travel days, not in having a 10 hour drive. We'll see next Friday, because we're driving home in one shot, theoretically. But overall, the kids were really, surprisingly good, and we're excited to finally be here.