A lot of people ask us how we keep our sanity and Henna happy on those long car rides. In general, we try not to have to many long driving days. But we live in Chicago and like to hang out on the west and east coast. Many days we either stay put or drive less than 100 miles. But other days, like the last few days, see us driving over 300 miles (our longest driving days have been around 400 miles). So these are some of our tips on surving long drives and good general road habits.
1) Get out as much as you can. Play catch at a rest stop. Pull out at a scenic place. Stop for ice cream. Anything breaks up the monotony of driving.
2) Eating out can be fun, but make it your choice to eat out and not a necessity. Always drive with a cooler. We also have a small propane stove and some charcoal. We make sandwiches, eat cereal, yogurt, or bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, and, especially when camping, cook our own dinner. Except when we feel like eating out. So, when in Victoria, we chose to eat in their China Town. In Cody we had a nice meal out before the resteraunt. In the middle of Idaho we made chicken tacos for dinner. You save a lot of money and avoid feeling fastfood/ diner blahs.
3) Corey, and sometimes me to, read to Henna a lot. Thus far this trip Corey finished the final Harry Potter book and several smaller books with Henna. My phone also has a dozen or so books on CD burned from the library (this year Henna has little interest, but in the past these books were good for an hour or so of driving). We do not have a DVD player, TV, etc. By the way, somewhere on the road, I heard a mom tell a misbehaving young one, “That’s it, you lost five minutes of video time in the car today.”
4) We have made us several verbal games that Henna cannot get enough of. They include 20 Questions, the Story Telling Game, and the Commercial Game. The two latter games involve one person, the judge, stating a category and the other two either making up a related story or a related commercial. The winner then is the judge in the next round.
With all that said, long drives can be exhausting and usually result in everyone being tired and crabby at about the same time. We try to always make the destination worth it and feel good that Henna enjoys short drives and can pretty well tolerate longer ones.