Road trips with children today are as easy as plugging them into a DVD where they can watch their favorite movies for hours. An alternative or additional form of entertainment is the IPAD, which enables the kiddies to play a plethora of games. As you all recall, this is not what we did.
When you were 10, 8 and 5, we embarked on the trip to Memphis where Daddy was working at the time. With a lot of careful planning, our travels were quite fun and not at all the disaster I envisioned.
I purchased several organizers with multiple pockets which we filled with games, maps, books, and snacks. We had several cassette players so that you could listen to music and books on tape. I recall that Kelly recorded herself reading a few of Casey’s favorite books that were not available at the library or bookstore.
We made bingo boards so that you could see who could get three-in-a-row of items such as cows, churches, horses, bridges, and signs viewed outside the window of our minivan.
I printed up pages and pages of maps, which I filled with colored shapes placed stategically throughout the maps, so that when one of you said, “Are we there yet?” I could answer that we were at the yellow triangle on page two (of at least fifteen) or the red square on page eight. Those maps worked quite well in enabling you to get a picture of exactly where we were and stopped those pesky questions.
Then there were the competition games like the Alphabet Game, which required each person to go from A to Z by locating each letter of the alphabet on a sign, building or license plate. The only rule was that no two people could use their letter on the same sign as another.
We also played a name game, in which one person would say a name, such as Mickey Mouse, and the next person would take the last letter of the name (“E” in this case) and have to use that letter as the first letter of a new name. So Mickey MousE could become Eddie MunsteR, who could become Richard NixoN, and so on.
“Who am I” was a guessing game of twenty questions where each person would ask a yes or no question until one of us guessed who their person was. (“Am I a boy?”, “Am I a cartoon character?” “Am I younger than twenty?”)
We would play our games until tired or bored and then move onto individual quiet time for listening to our music or reading/listening to books. You know my favorite was, and still is, the License Plate Game. You have all stopped playing that game long ago while I continue playing it today—everyday. I have two APPS on my phone so that I can find all 50 states in any order while simultaneously looking for them all in alphabetical order. You know that is definitely a subject for my eulogy someday, so someone should always know what states I am currently seeking. (You can check my phone for that anytime!)
Our trip was broken up by our visit to Washington, DC, Dollywood, and the Great Smoky Mountain Park. We met Dad along the way after our tour of DC, and I believe the Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains were on the return trip.
I am imagining this adventure gave Grandma and Grandpa some uneasiness like it would if any of you embarked on a similar journey with your children. Thankfully I did have a cell phone, but it wasn’t at all smart. Still, despite its inability to do anything but place a phone call, I was able to call for directions when we got hopelessly lost on Capitol Hill.
You were all very good travelers, but I am definitely patting myself on the back for all the genius planning that made it such a success! Now I am ready to take that road trip to California!