If there are people in your car who follow Elmo on twitter, keep the banana industry thriving, and compel you to keep snacks and wipes on hand at every single moment less you risk Armegeddon, then you need to read this post.
We are driving to spend three nights with dear friends on the Olympic Peninsula next week. They live approximately four hours away, a modest drive north from our urban home to a majestic rural community that is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Resting in the shade of dense forest, and flanked by sandy vistas from which we will gaze upon enormous ships steaming across the water, we will listen to fog horns fading into soft, deep echoes that reflect this place of solitude.
We will dine together, raise a glass, and watch our children scramble and fuss and laugh and run in a most exquisite setting.
With any luck, we will sleep in. Upon waking, we will warm our hands and hearts by consuming small cups of dark rich coffee brewed by one serious barista in the house.
And we will talk, and breathe, and settle into a much-needed break from home and work.
But first we have to get there.
I’ve compiled a brief list of must-dos/haves in order to make the road trip successful. Some are obvious and others, perhaps, unexpected. But they work for us.
1. Water bottles. They need to be filled, and the water cannot be too cold nor too warm. Candy thermometer useful.
2. For the two-year-old, a pacifier. His “boo boo” can only come out at bedtime and in the car.
3. For the five-year-old, a sharpie. Neither of my kids will draw with crayons, and rarely with washable markers. No, only the permanent ink of a sharpie will do. Visit our home and you will note the evidence.
4. Music. An eclectic mix of the Avett Brothers, Pearl Jam, Norah Jones, classic Sesame Street muppets, Dixie Chicks, Amy Winehouse and Neil Diamond guarantees that each of us will be car-dancing for at least a few minutes.
5. Two absolutely identical snack packs with the exact same number of dried cranberries, puffins, Goldfish, cherry tomatoes and pretzal sticks. They have to be THE EXACT SAME.
6. Anti-anxiety medication for our overly hyped up lab, Coppi. We haven’t tried this in the past, but the vet suggests it will work wonders. We will also take him on a five-mile run before getting in the car.
7. DVD player. Obvious.
8. For me: Good will toward men. Patience. Faith that there is a glass of wine waiting for me by the edge of the wood-burning hot tub.
9. For my husband: Sense of humor. Be prepared to rough it at all times and be stuck in the car for hours and just keep on driving.
10. For me, again: Knowledge that I am the Social Director because I don’t have to drive. This mean I’m in charge of snack distribution, storytelling, and toy rotation.
11. And finally, a bag full of bags. The kids will probably trash the car anyway, but one can quickly de-litter the backseat with a couple of plastic bags.
Armed and ready for the road, we will head out at the crack of noon on the 4th of July. Adios, Portland!