Last year I wrote a post offering ideas to beat the boredom on long road-trips.  This year I add to that by giving suggestions on items to have in the car.  Our trip to Oregon included a 14 hour drive.  Here are some items I found helpful to have along:

*Water bottles.


*Music.  I allowed the kids to choose the music.  They brought along their own CDs.  Some of their music choices leave me shaking my head, but it is good for parents to occasionally listen to what their kids like.  Ask questions about it.  Who sings this?  What is this song about?  Is this a guy or a girl????  At one point I was able to point out to Huh that a song we were listening to had lyrics that I didn’t like.  She quickly changed the song.

*Baby wipes and hand sanitizer.

*Snacks.  Mack suggested one of our snacks for the road-trip.  She had it at girl’s camp last year and really liked it.  Give each person a lemon and have them roll it in their hands and knead it until it is quite squishy.  Then offer a choice of candy sticks with citrus flavor.  Our choices were orange, lemon, and tangerine.  Stick the candy stick into the lemon and suck on it like a straw.  The acid from the lemon eventually creates holes so that the lemon juice can be sucked up through the candy stick.  The mixture of sour and sweet makes it delicious.  I had our lemons chilled on ice in the cooler, which made for a nice cool treat during one of our stops.  Be aware that you will get sticky.  That is where the baby wipes and hand sanitizer come in handy. 

*DVD players and plenty of movies.  They did make the 14 hour drive a little more bearable.  As the driver, I found that I enjoyed Hoob’s DVDs of “The Andy Griffeth Show” most enjoyable because the dialogue was funny enough that I didn’t need to see the screen to see what was going on.  Why my soon-to-be 14-year-old loves old shows like “The Andy Griffeth Show” and “I Love Lucy” is a mystery to me.  Most of her friends find it strange.  But I don’t mind that she likes themMost of the stuff kids watch today is garbage.

*Games.  I had notepads of the “Dot Game” available as well as various peg games.  The kids could play with a partner or by themselves.

*Camera.  It is a GREAT boredom buster.  Teens especially will find uses for a camera.

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During one of our day trips in Oregon some bikers pulled into the gas station where we were filling our cars.  One of them had a face covering that looked like a skull.  I told Huh to discreetly get a picture of him.  She tried, but couldn’t get the camera at the right angle.  The other kids tried with their cameras, but they weren’t quite as discreet as Huh.  When we pulled away from the gas station the bikers followed us.  The kids reacted with a mixture of fear and excitement.  Huh was sure we were going to die.  Though they were fearful, the kids kept snapping away with their cameras.  I laughed hysterically the entire time.

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We never did get a picture of the guy with a skull.  The bikers waved as they eventually passed us. 

We also used the camera to take pictures of stuff that is important to know…

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Yup. Good to know.

*If your teen drivers want to do some of the driving, make sure they have their license with them.  I had Huh drive for part of the drive to Oregon so that I could get some rest.  She was following Hub who was leading in his truck.  As we entered a construction zone a highway patrolman pulled us all over for speeding.  Poor Huh was beside herself because she’d just been trying to stay up with Hub so we didn’t get lost.  She was ready to chew Hub out if she got a ticket and it went on her driving record.  After checking licences and registrations for both vehicles the cop let both driver’s off with a warning.  Maybe he decided a family our size couldn’t afford two speeding tickets?  Whatever the reason, we were very grateful.  Thank you Mister Oregon Highway Patrolman.  We laugh about it now.

*Cell phone.  We made it all the way to Oregon and through the entire week without me having any TIAs (see my previous posts).  And then about two hours into the return trip one hit.  It wasn’t as big as the one two weeks before, but it was enough to scare me.  I told Huh to call Hub, who was again leading in his truck, and tell him that we needed to pull over as quickly as possible.  Huh and Mack each took turns driving my car for the rest of the drive home (Squid gave Hub a few breaks in his truck as well).

More on the trip later.  Today I make an appointment with a neurologist.