Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trip Preparation 1

If you were wondering what I've been up to these last few days, I've been getting ready for our trip while holding my jaw from the unrelenting pain.

I know it’s neither fashionable nor practical to take a Road Trip in the Summer of aught eight, but since when do I follow convention?

We love our road trips. Love. Them. I will not give up this pleasure despite it costing the same as a fortnight luxury spa vacation in Cabo. I also figure that the cost to fly 6 people to multiple destinations and subsequent car rentals makes this trip a bargain by today’s ridiculous standards. The luggage up charge alone for 6, +car seats, strollers, portable crib and sand toys for two weeks would cover a tank of gas. Besides, we’ve got places to go, reunions to crash. We’ve got family to irritate, and rumors to fester. We are going.

I have decided to try and limit as much costs beforehand as possible, though. I figure my top expenditures on a road trip are: 1) gas, 2) lodging, and 3) Cracker Barrel.

Gas--can’t do much about it. I will get the oil changed today, inflate the tires to their proper PSI and hope for clear traffic because I know my husband won’t be driving 55 with four kids in the back seat. For lodging, we have made some arrangements with our 4 bajillion Marriott points to defer some of the expense, and we’ll turn up the air conditioning real high so that snuggling in July won’t be so uncomfortable.

Which simply leaves the jaw-dropping Cracker Barrel bill. In every past road trip, despite knowing full well what we are getting ourselves into, we stop at this den of evil. After waiting 6 hours for a table, we buy illogical stuff in the store, and never finish a plate of food. But somehow on a vacation, this seems like a good idea.

So to avoid this expensive pit stop, I have replicated the experience at home so we can drive past every exit. I cooked country-fried steak tonight that no one ate because they were too busy playing the I.Q. Game with the golf tees I put on the table. I bought the kids a bunch of cheap crap from the dollar store, let them break it, and then sprinkled the pieces all over the backseat. For extra good measure, I mixed some nostalgic candy pieces and a bag of ginger snaps to make it extra sticky. And because I realized I hadn’t spent anything close to our average bill, I bought a retro Coca-Cola napkin dispenser and then forgot it on a wooden rocking chair on the porch after playing checkers.

Voila. It’s like we’re already to Gatlinburg.


Jo-Lynne (Musings of a Housewife) said...

Snort. Snicker. Chortle. You crack me up. I always try to get Hub to stop at Cracker Barrel, but he refuses to oblige. Maybe he's got more sense than I do.

Mama Ginger Tree said...

Jo-lynne: My husband is anti-Cracker Barrel too!

Tracey: I love road trips too. Those are some of my favorite childhood memories. Have a blast.

kidsworld said...

Great idea! Why didn't I think of that. Our minimomvan was so disgusting after our 17 hour trip to florida, even the kids wanted to help vacuum it all out once we got home! What I laugh at myself for is how carefully I pack the car for the trip to and how as long as it fits for the drive home, we're good! It IS still cheaper to drive, sadly, but just think of all the memories you'll make being together in 100 sq ft of space for more than a day's work hours!

JODI said...

The only thing better than Cracker Barrel is buying a pecan log from a Stuckey's truck stop.

Safe travels!

Tracey said...

It'll be fun. Sticky and expensive, but fun. :)