Family Travel

Essential for Travel

“Rebecca,” my husband said. I knew immediately my alarm hadn’t gone off. It was set for 5 a.m. but there was light peeking in behind our blinds. There was no way it was 5 a.m.

“What time is it,” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said. “But if you run out to get coffee and donuts while I shower, then you can shower when you get back.”

I climbed out of bed, put my hair in a ponytail and got some shoes on.

“Three cream and three sugar,” I asked.

“Yup,” he replied.

Oh shoot, it was already 6 a.m. We wanted to leave the house by 6 a.m. Now we were running behind! But I secured the donuts, showered, dressed, packed up a few last minute items and our family of five, our dog and our camper pulled out of the driveway at 7:10 a.m. on our 770 mile trip from our home near Detroit to my husband’s workplace near Kansas City, Missouri.

He’s returning to work this week and his primary role right now is in Missouri. He’s been making this weekly commute just about every week for two years, but this is the first time the kids and I were able to go with him.

He didn’t want to fly or stay in the hotel. The kids didn’t have school. I’m working from home. So we came up with the wacky idea to pull our camper and stay with him while he is here. We have an end date in mind, but we also realize if he still has work to do, we might be delayed.

Side note: Normally this uncertainty would send me into fits, but this quarantine has taught me that I control nothing so let’s just go with the flow.

When we first learned it was a 12-hour drive sans camper, I panicked a bit. Pulling the camper means a slower speed and more fuel stop. Plus, I hate sitting in the car that long and I hate entertaining the kids in the car. (Serious dude, we’re all bored. Take a nap.) I actually tried to talk them out of it, then I said if anyone of them complains about the drive, I would feel no sympathy because I warned them.

The storm clouds over Indiana were impressive.

Honestly, it was our best long drive yet. We’ve driven to South Dakota, South Carolina, Connecticut, etc. We usually leave at night, leading to a lot of exhaustion. Not this time. We left in the morning and slightly after dinner, we were at our destination.

There was far too much screen time for the kids. I dozed off far more than I should have as the passenger. At one point, the dog got a little agitated. The drive itself was easy. There wasn’t very much traffic, no construction projects and the weather was clear, minus one small storm in Indiana.

Our other concern was staying safe while we were traveling in the middle of a global pandemic. Here are some of the things we did to keep everyone as far from the germs as possible.

  1. We never went into a gas station or rest area. We used the camper for out bathroom breaks. We went in one at a time and I hand sanitized everyone as they came out and my husband got sanitizer after pumping gas.
  2. We didn’t stop for food. During one bathroom break, I went into the camper and quickly whipped up a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I grabbed a few cheese sticks, Wheat Thins and a box of goldfish and that lasted us the entire day.
  3. We brought our drinks from home. I loaded up everyone’s HydroFlask with ice and water before we left the house.
  4. When we got to our destination, we needed dinner. While the restaurants our open here, we still did carry out.

I brought wipes, masks and even a small bottle of disinfectant spray in the car, but we didn’t need them. It was like a cruise. Just having them was a big sense of relief.

There were no unexpected hiccups, even if we ended up boondocking in the parking lot of my husband’s work the first night. We pretty much knew that would happen, but I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

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