We spent the morning of our last day in Michigan at the pool with the kids before heading over to my grandparents' house for one last visit.
Oh, we also went shopping at Old Navy, which was sort of a bust for me, but I did purchase six bathing suits for the girls in bigger sizes (for next year and probably the year after) for only $4 each. I only bought one bathing suit this season for the girls. Almost all of their bathing suits from last year still fit now and for next year, the Gymboree size 3T ones should still fit (unless their torsos hit some amazing growth spurt.)
Okay, so I did take a ton of pictures at the pool but I'm going to post those later, maybe with a swim class update. For today, I'm just going to talk about the ride home. By the time we packed up the van and picked up breakfast and Grammy, it was 8 o'clock Saturday morning. We opted for a change of scenery and drove I-80 through Pennsylvania instead of going across New York.
I now remember why I don't like to take that route. There isn't much there. Believe me when I tell you that there are some beautiful views of the mountains and rivers and farmlands and oh, I so badly wanted to pull over a million times to photograph the scenery. Unfortunately, there are no full service rest areas. There are rest areas as in the ones with just bathrooms and vending machines but if you want food or gas you need to get off of the highway and look for it. Rich jokingly stated that the G and L on the map were for "Good Luck."
It worked out fine for us. Luckily, we stopped when we did because for an hour or so after that, there were no fast food restaurants listed on the highway signs. What I did like about that portion of the interstate is the fact that there was no traffic. At all. (Well, aside from one minor back-up at a construction site.) It was nice to drive along and not have to deal with a ton of cars and trucks on the road.
This route has about the same mileage as the route we took to drive to Michigan and again, it was about a 15 hour drive. We didn't arrive home until almost 11 o'clock that night. And the girls were still awake!
So here are my driving tips. Or really what works for us. Someone may find this helpful.
- We stop approximately every 2 to 3 hours. If you stop more frequently, it will take forever to arrive at your destination. If you go longer between stops, you may burn out faster or end up with some grumpiness in your vehicle.
- We use a travel potty for the girls. They are on the small side and require (a lot of) assistance in public restrooms. Plus, they sometimes yell out, "I have to go potty!" when the nearest public restroom is miles and miles and miles away.
- Every time we stop, we free the girls from their car seats and allow them to roam around the van. Depending on the rest area and how long we have been in the van, we may bring them for a little walk into the building.
- We bring plenty of snacks and a small cooler for drinks.
- We made sure the van was stocked with a variety of entertainment for the girls. We have a portable DVD player but have found that the girls don't want to sit and watch movies for hours on end. I stocked up on some huge preschool activity books and Grammy provided some new toys.
- The girls have been drinking from open cups or cups with straws for awhile now but those don't work out so good in the van. We always bring sippy cups with us for milk and water.
Overall, I would give the girls an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being super awesome. We only heard, "Are we there yet?" once.