Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Road

A couple of weeks ago, we stuffed the mom van full of enough snacks and entertainment to keep a troop of monkeys happy for a week, and headed south to Gulf Shores, Alabama for a week on the beach.
What made our first family road trip so special?  Let me fill you in:
1. The snacks - for some reason, all food rules are literally out the window when it comes to traveling.
2. Uninterrupted time to talk with my husband - who knew plugging the kids into movies and ds games for 18 hours would almost be like a date?
3. Hearing my mother's voice come somewhere out of my mouth.  Saying things like: "Kids, who wants to play a game where we see who can find the most signs of spring?" and "Just look at how GREEN it is!"
4. Narrowly escaping being maimed when the car's back tire in the lane next to us suddenly exploded and sent pieces of plastic, strips of bent metal, and hunks of rubber hurdling in our direction.  All I can say is that the parents were glad that the kids were ear phoned up at the time... not sure what was said... pretty sure it wasn't "Oh my, there seems to be a disturbance next to us, let's hurry along now."
5. Gas station bathrooms... enough said.
6. While parked at a gas station/convenience store somewhere along a lonesome highway in Mississippi, a group of young men pulled up next to us.  They must have seen our license plates because when they got out of their car, they all gawked into our windows as if to say, "So that's what Minnesotans look like!"  They were all on cool duty as they made their way to the entrance - all swaggering and stretching their necks up to appear taller than they were - apparently proud to be Mississippi residents and still have a full set of teeth.  When the last one was sashaying along the sidewalk in front of a locked cage full of propane tanks for grills, he somehow caught the edge of his t-shirt on the padlock which not only surprised him, but also pulled him back rather abruptly and managed to rip out the entire seam of his shirt.  The Minnesotans observed that it's a bit tricky to maintain hip, slick, and cool when being jerked around by an inanimate object - even when you have all your teeth.  A little slice of entertainment that provided us with laughter for a good twenty miles after that.
7. Reaching our destination with all of our faculties still in tact and actually still talking with one another.
Our spring break trip was, by all accounts, a great time and a complete success.  People are funny, and it seems that the farther we get from home, the funnier they get.  I'm sure the people we encountered along the way thought we talked and looked funny too - in fact, I'm sure I stuck out among the locals when I rolled out of the van in a McDonald's parking lot wearing a wool scarf, long pants, and a sweater on a 70 degree day in Mobile, AL.  Although the airport in itself can be a real trip these days, the road gave us an opportunity to look around and observe and actually see what else is out there.  So... I think we'll pack up our snacks, earphones, and funny people and do it all over again next year.

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