Notes From a Dad on a Meticiously Planned Road Trip That Went Awry

I asked a “Dad” friend of mine to share his description of a somewhat ill-fated (yet fun) road trip he did last summer with his girlfriend and two boys, ages 4 and 9. When they first explained that they were going to drive 14 hours (each way) to go camping around Boise, Idaho from San Francisco, “absolutely nuts” crossed my mind more than once.

In the end, the trip was a good example of the fact that when you are traveling with kids, all bets are off on how all will go. The best part is that the Dad and his girlfriend are uber-planners. They had very specific goals in mind at the start … with an unanticipated outcome.

The Plan:

Leave late in the day so we can drive all night and boys will sleep the entire way.

Arrive in the morning and wake up refreshed and happy.

Enjoy a great week outdoors in the wilderness of Idaho.

What happened:

4-year-old old begins to feel sick and has fever 2 hours into the drive.

It’s 800 degrees outside.

Eat at crappy diner in Truckee.

Get out into the middle of the Nevada desert and spend 40 frantic minutes discussing emergency plan because we are running out of gas … send girlfriend out into the night by herself or let her wait roadside with a sick 4-year-old until some axe murderer comes by to get them.

Finally find gas and coast the “minivan” into the station.

Nearly fall asleep a million times on the mind numbing trip.

Have great time camping in Idaho with outdoorsy Uncle. Highlights include rattlesnake on the trail (outdoorsy Uncle created lasting memories when he gouged the head off a rattlesnake with a stick found nearby, while holding it down with another stick, also found nearby) and gunfire in the campsite (outdoorsy Uncle was shooting at critters and other campers joined the fun).

All the events that happen with kids on the road is what make trips with them memorable and much more exciting than those boring and predictable adult-only excursions.

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  • Oh.. It reminds me of one of our “planned” romantic getaway trip. The plan was going to a cabin to celebrate our anniversary with no kids. The day before, our newly adopted puppy got sick and the vet said he might not survive!! We ended up at the cabin with kids and a sick puppy. Ah the beauty of traveling. 🙂 At the end, everyone enjoyed the trip so that’s what matter. And the puppy is now an energetic little dog.

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