Scott and I have only been on one real road trip together in our 8 year relationship. In 2009 we drove from Pennsylvania to Boston to move me to college (Day 1 of our travels and Day 2 of our travels). It was a really fun trip with great experiences. We both have also been camping a lot in our past (Scott went often with his grandparents and my family has had family reunions every year or two since I was young) and both Scott and I have talked before about our dreams of living out of an RV. And so it’s only appropriate that we start taking family vacations, road trips, going camping and more.
As luck would have it, the same year Jeffrey is born is the year of one of my family reunions. Usually we go camping for a weekend in a central location in Wisconsin and end up driving 4+ hours to get there. Luckily (or not), we picked a place in Illinois this year, it was only 2.5 hours from our house and so despite the fact that I didn’t want to go camping with a 2 and a half month old because he sleeps poorly, there’s lots of bugs and sun that he shouldn’t be out in (that we can’t protect him against except keeping him out of it) as well as my own anxieties. So instead of going for all 4 days, we just made it a day trip since it was a shorter drive than normal.
I would like to say that it was fun, that Jeffrey and I both enjoyed it and I can’t wait to do it again. In all honesty it was awful and I dread taking him in the car again for any reason and I worry about camping next year and the reunion in 2 more years.
Here’s the story of our day:
On Saturday (July 14th), Jeffrey woke me up to eat at about 5am. I put him back to sleep with his Daddy. Look how cute they were!
As they slept I showered, finished packing the car and getting ready for our day trip to the Mississippi Palisades . Jeffrey and Scott woke up at 9 and I fed Jeffrey then sat him up in bed while we waited for Scott get ready to go.
We were on the road between 9:30 and 10. The trip started out mostly okay.
I was really anxious but Jeffrey was in a decent mood. He fussed a little and about an hour in we stopped at a historical marker on the side of the road so I could feed him and he could wiggle out of the car seat a bit.
And then the trip started to turn worse. Jeffrey isn’t really a fan of being held or strapped down, that boy loves to wiggle, be held and do what he wants. And after an hour in the car already, he was not having the rest of the hour and a half ride. He cried and fussed and I managed to keep him calm off an on with toys, car keys and singing.
Some pictures from the car. This was the view almost the entire way. Oh the weird almost boring beauty of the midwest.
He fell asleep for maybe 15 minutes and then woke up and started screaming. We had to pull over and let him wiggle in the grass for a few minutes because he was screaming so hard. He was happy and smiling and the second we put him back in the car it was back to screaming bloody murder. My heart was breaking for him. He was struggling to get out and I just had to sit next to him while he screamed so hard and eventually tired himself out that he passed out mid scream. It was the worst he’s ever cried.
We eventually made it to the camp site and I was in an awful mood and so anxious I could barely breath. I just wanted to sit and relax for a while but we ended up taking a trip to Galena to walk around, even though I really didn’t want to. It was a cute town but there were way too many people and it was too hot to be enjoyable.
By the time we got back to the campsite, the bugs were starting to come out. I’m allergic to mosquitoes which means their bites itch and swell up more than normal. For a few years it was better but I don’t know if it’s hormones or my body chemistry after I’ve been pregnant, but it was terrible this year. Lucky Jeffrey didn’t get one bite! After dinner and our family meeting it was about 9:30pm and I had to leave because of the bugs.
We got in the car and Jeffrey screamed and cried for an hour and a half. I tried feeding him and we stopped once to try to calm him down but it was dark so no toys and music didn’t help. He wore himself out again and slept the last 45 minutes of the trip but it was the worst car ride.
Overall it was a bad day for both of us. He hated the trip and wasn’t smiling or in a good mood all day. I wish it had been better but at least he got to meet the family and hopefully the next reunion will turn out better for all of us.