The Great American Road Trip – Observations

The Great American Road Trip – #3

I’ve haven’t been sure exactly how I want this series to look. As I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t want it to be a boring account of our trip: “today we saw a dead squirrel on the side of the road.”

So rather than give you all a day by day breakdown of our first few days on the road, I thought I’d start this series by sharing a list of random observations that have occurred to me as a result of our trip.

My camera had a hard time focusing on Lego me and was far more interested in the St. Louis Arch.

Let the observations begin…

  • My wife and I pack very differently.
    • My Mindset when I pack: what can I get away with not having?
    • My Wife’s Mindset: What might I need?
  • Vacations seem to prove we are all happier as minimalists: previously I’ve written about how we are at our best when we travel. Now I’m beginning to see how minimalism plays a role in that. We cut down all of our stuff to the bare essentials and happily live with the simplicity of the few items we’ve brought with us. Travel forces us to be minimalistic and yet vacations are usually identified as the best time of our year…coincidence, I think not!
  • Turns out that mouth wash makes a decent aftershave if need be.
  • Hitting a deer would put a massive damper on our road trip. Had a very close call during our first day of driving. This lead to a fair amount of speculation on what could have been and none of it was good.
  • My oldest son is the worst human being to share a bed with. Our boys fell asleep in separate beds our first night, which lead to me sharing a bed with my oldest for the first and last time. My wife woke up at some point in the middle of the night and thought our oldest was gone. But he’d just pushed his way over to my side of the bed.
  • Hydration is the enemy of road trips.
  • Saturday night in New Orleans is a blast, but far less fun with 2 kids.
Laying on a bed of fries next to some real Memphis BBQ Ribs.

Coffee Corner

My wife is the extroverted Yin to my introverted Yang. So she literally makes friends wherever we go. When I came down to breakfast with my oldest, she’d made friends with a restaurant owner who happened to be from our home state. So now we have a new Indian restaurant to try out.

Despite all of her flexibility, she has one area in which she refuses to yield and that is coffee. She refuses to drink hotel coffee and insisted that we find local coffee shops in all the cities we visit.

After locating a desirable coffee shop, we stopped quickly on our way to our next destination. However, after 5 minutes I looked up from my twitter feed to see what was taking her so long. She is of course posing for a picture with the owner of the coffee shop and one of the patrons.

Final Thoughts

It has been a very busy few days and getting even these few words written has been a challenge. I’m hoping I’ll have a bit more time in the days to come, but you might be in for another brief update for my next post.


  1. I must side with your wife on the coffee 🙂

    Your children didn’t enjoy the drunken debauchery of Bourbon Street? I can’t imagine the types of things a young child might pick up from the ground (shudder).

    Have fun!

    Dr. C

    1. Thanks Dr. C! Fortunately we were just finishing up our meal and heading back to the hotel by the time the debauchery started. We had to fend off a few attempts from my youngest to pick up things, and did plenty of hand washing when we got back to the hotel, just to be safe.

  2. Do keep posting along your trip. It is very fun to read.
    I laughed out loud about your wife making friends everywhere. Ahh…wish I could get to know her (does she have a blog?). My husband and I are similar to you two — he is extremely introverted and I’m extremely extroverted. He caught a picture of me talking to two women at the top of a mountain in China. They knew no English and I knew almost no Chinese. But with the help of a phrasebook we were able to figure out how many kids we each had (okay, they both had on only 1, it was China! ) and how old they all were. One of my cherished memories of the trip.
    Have fun on the next part of your journey!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Ann! I’ll keep at it. My wife doesn’t have a blog, but I’d like her to post on this site sometime. She has opened up a twitter account at My_Sons_Mother, but isn’t as active as I am on twitter.

      Great story about your trip in China, sounds exactly like something my wife would do, and snapping a picture, sounds exactly like something I would do!

  3. Looks like an awesome trip so far, keep posting the pictures and observations. Absolutely can relate to the packing mindset. I try avoid bringing anything unnecessary or “just in case” stuff. My wife have problems with the latter. Where are times now when we packed like: backpack check, two swim trunks check, flip-flops check, three t-shirts check, ok ready for a week of holiday 🙂 Have a nice trip!

    PS: Trip challenge: (testing your creative problem solving skills) we want an image of a dead lego squirrel on the side of the road 🙂

  4. Creative problem solving sounds like another thing that minimalist vacations force you into! Can’t say it’s a bad thing though. My favourite travel hack is washing clothes in a giant ziploc bag instead of the sink – less mess, easier agitation : )

    1. That is a creative idea. We’re lucky to have family along the way, so we’ve already been able to do one load of laundry at one family members house and will be at another in a few days time.

  5. I hear you on the hydration side – too much and you’re stopping too often; too little and you’re not going to be feeling very good. Something about being on the road that emphasizes the extremes.

    Your wife and mine would get along famously – I’ve had the same observation about her. We’ve heard so many fun stories and met so many interesting people on our trips because she’s able to strike a conversation with anyone.

    We’ve even had a few people recommend stops that we weren’t planning on for our trip that turned out to be our favorite places!

    1. I think I’ve struck a good balance with the hydration so far. I try to drink most of my water during non-driving times. This is harder on the longer days, but with 2 kids, we’re stopping frequently enough that I can get away with a little road hydration.

      My wife has already exchanged numbers with at least one person, maybe more, it’s hard to keep track. We’ve gotten some great food recommendations and learned some interesting things about each city. It’s great being married to an extrovert!

  6. Just realized you drove through my neck of the woods. Hope you had time to go up the Arch (I think the elevators are open again but can’t recall). The view at the top isn’t really that great — it’s the experience of going up/down that’s the fun part. 🙂

    1. I visited the Arch years ago and went up it at that time, but have discovered that my previous aversion to heights has become much more problematic. I got really bad vertigo this time around, so I wasn’t up for the ascent. My wife decided not to take the kids up after seeing the price.

      I didn’t realize you lived in the St. Louis area. We only stopped briefly this time around. One of the lessons learned on this trip is trying to do too much. I wish we had more time at each location.

  7. Hydration, specifically water, and road trips don’t mix well for me neither. I have to drink my bottle of water water 30 minutes before coming up on a rest stop. I enjoyed reading about your trip thus far and hope y’all continue to travel safely.

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