We spent last week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and as promised, I kept a “live record” of the 12+ hour drive down there, starting with our 4:00 am wake-up. It actually wasn’t that bad but I honestly don’t know how the Pioneer People took road trips… you know, without the DVD player in the minivan. “They probably just used their iPads,” you might say, but my kids can’t do that because they’ve inherited my weak stomach, and are prone to getting car sick if they look anywhere but STRAIGHT AHEAD.
Here’s how the whole day went down. And by “went down,” I mean, “went downhill with every hour we spent in the car.”
3:45 AM – I repeat, AM! We’re shooting for a 4am departure but this shit ain’t right. I hit snooze. Twice.
3:55 – I’m up. Meaning, I’m standing up and walking somewhere, but I’m pretty sure my eyes are closed and I’m still dreaming. About sleeping.
4:05 – We wake the kids up. This right here is the highlight of their whole trip, until we did it again on the day we drove home. It doesn’t happen often, so they LOVE when WE have to wake THEM. They immediately pop out of bed and start talking. I’m barely awake myself so I have no idea what they’re actually saying… something about excitement and darkness and breakfast… I just nod and tell them to get in the car, there’s no food at this hour.
4:17 – We leave. Kids are still talking. I’m still barely awake.
4:21 – I realize that we’ve forgotten pillows so we turn around.
4:26 – On the road again. Only 26 minutes later than planned, which is sort of amazing considering the ungodly hour, amiright?
4:41 – First Happy Dude-ism* of the trip: “Sometimes one of the suns looks like a shark.” (It’s still pitch dark.)
*Happy Dude-ism = when HD just randomly blurts out a sentence that may or may not make sense but is relevant to absolutely nothing.
At this point, we encourage the kids to try to fall back asleep but their wide eyes and loud voices tell us it’s not gonna happen. So I do what any tired passenger would do in my position… put on my noise-canceling headphones and let KJ deal with them. #boseisboss
5:02 – HD-ism: “Did you bring ALL of my every toys in this car?” All of my every what now?
5:33 – The Nibbit announces, “My belly hurts.” One hour into the effing trip. With my best early morning sympathetic voice, I tell him to Look. Straight. Ahead. Yes, for the next 11 hours.
5:51 – HD-ism: “Mom, I saw you somewhere!”
I’ll admit, at this point, I’m getting a bit concerned about the frequency of these random mutterings. Is something wrong with his brain?
6:05 – First stop! We’re a little worried that the Nibbit is going to throw up. It’s pouring rain, so KJ takes just the boys into the rest stop and within two minutes, I get a text: “Pls turn car off and come in… gonna need help.” I start envisioning vomit all over the floor of this nice rest stop and sprint with the Loud One to the door, where we see the Nib and HD standing there… smiling. KJ is NOT smiling. He says, “HD won’t pee without you.”
We pee. No one vomits. And we sprint – in the rain – back to the car.
6:32 – We’re back on the road, driving 65 mph on a highway and the Nibbit says, “I saw a lizard on that rock.”
Oh no, it’s contagious.
7:00 – Movie #1: Jungle Book. Isn’t it kind of amazing that we made it all the way until 7:00 am before putting a movie on?
7:58 – Ding, ding, ding!! We hear the very first “Are we almost there?” from the Nibbit. It’s 4½ hours into a 12-hour car drive, so only the truth will do. “Nope. Not even close.”
8:02 – Disturbing conversation with the Nib, goes like this:
Him: Mom did the other night count?
Me: For what, bud?
Him: For the thing… for the trip… how many drives do we need to be?
Me: I’m sorry, what?
Him: Nevermind, I’m trying to watch the movie.
8:30 – Sing-Along Time! We make it through a variety of Katy Perry songs before we’re bored with that game. I suggest the Quiet Game instead. The kids all lose. Every time, they lose. Which means WE ALL LOSE.
9:15 – Second stop! Gas and bagels. HD fell asleep about 18 mins prior (of course) so we have to wake him up. He’s a bit discombobulated and he can’t find his shoe. He starts freaking out a bit and then says, “Oh here it is! It was on my foot!“
Note: Five minutes into this stop, I have a bit of a meltdown when HD wants to touch everything in the bathroom. The VERY PUBLIC, VERY REST STOP-ISH bathroom. Nibbit is being generally Nibitty which sends me right over the edge. There’s some yelling, but I pull it together and we walk out of the rest stop with some of our dignity intact. And toilet paper attached to a Croc.
9:35 – Back in the car for Movie #2 … it’s Scooby Doo time!
11:00 – Zoinks. Everyone starts to lose it. Especially HD. All of a sudden, he is all, “I am DONE with this driving! I want to go home now! This car is the worst car ever!” We pull over into a random parking lot and let him yell and whine and complain while he stretches his legs. That seems to help.
11:05 – We get back in the car and I announce that it’s naptime. In one of the few, true miracles of OBX Road Trip 2014 (I mean, the Nibbit did spot a lizard on a rock going 65 mph), they actually listen to me and they all fall asleep.
12:41 – HD wakes up screaming, “I want a smoothie at the place!”
1:30 – LUNCH BREAK! We eat at a no-brand sports bar with sticky tables and a LOT of flies. And fries. The flies and fries are both plentiful. As we’re walking out the door, HD yells, “OK, let’s roll and rock!”
Between the final hours of 2:00 and 4:30pm, we drive the remaining 30 miles. That’s right… it took us two-and-a-half-hours to go about 30 miles.
The new Outer Banks tourism slogan should be: “OBX: One lane in, one lane out!”
Various movies are watched and video games are played and audio books are listened to and variations on “Are we there yet?” are asked with increasing frequency:
- Are we there yet?
- Are we almost there?
- Are we even close?
- Is the house close to where our car is right now?
- Can we get out of this goddamn car soon, PLEASE? (That last one was mine.)
Until finally, we can answer, YES. WE ARE ALMOST THERE. PRAISE JESUS HALLELUJAH.
The funny part is, 12+ hours later and they look mostly exactly the same as they did when we left.
We finally arrive to a houseful of KJ’s family who greet us with excitement and more importantly, cold beers. And then, we had a GREAT trip. And then, what seemed like two minutes later, it was time to go home.
Rinse. Repeat. Reread the above.
Beach time with family…