There is a lot of preparation that goes into road tripping... especially once you have children. You have to have a little bit more of a plan, I worry more about my car, the drive, etc than I did before I was responsible for the lives of these two humans. We made a plan together knowing that the fist 1/2 of the trip would be the kids and I. *Sidenote* This was C's first time meeting the majority of my family, and I have a big one, so coming into this trip he was already very nervous. The trauma part of his brain was engaging a bit so I saw some tough behaviors in the days leading up to the trip. K has road tripped with me before, knows the family but was having some of her own reservations as well.
A few days before we left I went by ToysRUs, its going out of business so I planned on getting some car games and things for the kids to do while driving. We got 5 games, coloring books and creative games for all 3 of us. We also hit up the grocery store and got lunchables, drinks and snacks for the drive. The kids each agreed on snacks, both healthy and a few fun ones. When I drive I hate eating out all the meals between the lack of healthy options as well as the cost it works much better. Besides, the kids always get hungry in the most random places. I also purchased dog bowls and treats for my dog to keep her quiet and entertained in the hotels.
As we set off on day 1 I knew the kids would want to eat ALL the snacks and play every game we had which would set us up for failure for the rest of the drive. We had a long conversation about the snacks, lunch and games to set proper expectations however I knew that as soon as we left those would go right out the window. I had K up front and C in the back so I kept the snacks on the opposite side, not as readily available for sneaky hands and the games were easily monitored by me even while driving. Plus each child had their device (iPhone & iPod in addition to a DVD player) that were only allowed to be charged once per day (in the hotel) and no more as to not LIVE on them the entire drive. I know... RULES RULES!
Day 1 we drove all the way to Oklahoma City which is a little over 10 hours from home. I didn't have a real hotel plan but remembered the one we stayed at 4 years ago when we moved here. As I pulled in I called, they were NOT pet friendly nor did they look very clean/safe when we arrived so we started calling other hotels. I used the website Bring Fido A LOT on this trip between finding hotels and ensuring that Quinn would be able to join us on our excursions. PLUS in looking for a hotel there were 3 very important must haves: pet friendly, free breakfast and a pool for the kids to burn off energy. In Oklahoma City we stayed at the Quality Inn off of I40. This hotel was only $68 including the pet fee and was super clean and very comfortable. The staff was very nice and the breakfast was pretty much as expected. Nothing over the top but it was tasty and served the purpose for the kids. I would recommend it to anyone. *I would also recommend a roll out bed or staying in a room with a pull out couch. My kids are both horrible sleeping partners (apologies to their future spouses) so they cannot sleep in a bed together, nor will I sleep with either of them. We did not make this observation until AFTER we woke up the next morning and both kids were incredibly sleep deprived and grumpy.
The second day is where our trip started taking random turns that led to almost 1200 extra miles.