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  1. #1
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    Travel by car~visiting TX and GA~need suggestions

    Well, as crazy as this sounds, we'll be driving from here (NY state) down to Houston, TX area to see my cousin (Spring, to be more precise) and Athens, GA to see DH's sister next month.
    We're taking the leg to TX 1st, since it's the longer haul, and will be stopping at the halfway point overnight.....wherever that is...I gotta get out my maps and get busy! LOL!
    So, my friends, I need oodles of suggestions for keeping a 10 and 3 y.o busy and not bugging each other for the trip. Anything, be it toys, games, printables, snacks, etc.
    So far I've got for food, cut up veggies, fruit, 100% juice boxes, water, those little cheese shapes or sticks, goldfish crackers, pretzel sticks cereal bars. I'll be doling out the cookies on a random basis so they're not bouncing out of their seats, and no sugary/caffeinated pop or anything like that. Neither of them eats nuts or granola-type things, so that's out.
    For entertainment, music, drawing stuff, Game Boy (older son), finger puppets (youner son), car games and printables, a map of our route for the big boy. A ball to kick around at stops. Ummmm...books or magazines.
    We have a mini-van. I'm thinking I'll fill a small cooler for them to keep in the back, along with baskets or back of seat organizers for their stuff. Really, the 10 yr old has always been easy in the car since he was a wee one. It's my 3 Yr. old that I'm not so sure about. We haven't done a long car trip in at least a year and a half when it was still easy to get him to pass out.
    Thanks for anything you can come up with!

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  3. #2
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    Oh yeah...I almost forgot......I'd love suggestions from you all on must-see stuff to see in the Houston and Athens areas. It's so hard to plan on things of interest to kids who are 7 yrs. apart and obviously at diffeent stages of interest and development.
    Thanks again!

  4. #3
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    Dec 2004
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    Sounds like you've planned a lot for them already. Something I read that helped my son on a long trip was having random little "presents" to pass out along the way. I just got little trinkets at yard sales plus a couple of rocks and pinecones - whatever will hold your child's attention. The key is to wrap them so it's exciting. It takes time to open plus it gives them something fresh to focus on. I'm not usually a 'throw stuff at them' kind of mom but on these long trips you do what you have to.

    On that note my friend suggested lollipops for long car or airplane trips. I judgementally thought, oh I'd never give those to MY kid. Cut to crazy car scene of screaming child and us madly pulling over to run into a gas station to buy out their supply of lollipops!

    We stopped at the Cadillac Ranch, on our trip across country and I highly suggest you check it out. The kids will also love it and they can get a little walk in getting to it from the road. I think it's close to Amarillo - but google it to be sure.


    Enjoy the trip and may peace be with you!!!

    ***photos edited out because of uptight website!

  5. #4
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    May 2004
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    Miami (Kendall), Florida
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    Space Center!

    We like the Houston Zoo. There is also a park next to the zoo, called Hermann park, with a little train ride around the big park. Ooo, and also at the park is a natural science museum with big dinasours and other fun stuff. The last time I was there, they had a big gem exhibit that made me drool.

    Aquarium!

    Six Flags is also there!


    Some people like Kemah (east of Space Center). I guess I don't see it or i've never been there when it was "happening". B-O-R-I-N-G to me. It is pretty though and the pelicans are funny.

    If I was in Athens, I spend my entire day looking for the B-52's and REM peeps. LOL Forget the kids. (I was a bit obsessed with both groups in HS and college).


    We travel all over the US with our 3 boys by car. As they have gotten older (14, 13, and 11 now), a brand new Game Boy game holds their attention the entire trip. We just did the Indiana-Texas-Indiana trip in April and one game was enough. They don't get the game until we are on the road. We also make sure we get them a game they really really want. (not some bargain bin cheapie nobody else wanted to buy!) It has always been worth the investment during the trip. ***

    Do you have a portable DVD player? That helps too. Your little one may like to watch videos of his favorite movies.


    *** I starred that because at the same time I am saying this, I am thinking how I have been disappointed that my sons need Game Boys and other games to be good on long car trips. I had books when I was a kid but other than that, I enjoyed the scenery and learned about the area I was traveling in. I am entirely sick of Gameboys and I am tempted to go hide them all while my husband has the boys out for the day! haha!

  6. #5
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    OOH! I like the idea of the presents, Selah! Time for a trip to the dollar store!
    I will definitely check out all of your suggestions. I had my cousin and her daughters send me some ideas for our TX visit too.
    Pam~ The B-52's and REM were 2 of my favorites too! Did you know that Kate (she's the redhead, right?) owns a small camp type place up in the Adirondacks?? You can rent a cottage up there from her. Aw rats...I was hoping I had her place bookmarked in my travel favorites, but I don't. I know I have the article on it somewhere!!!

  7. #6
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    I read the article on Kate's place somewhere, too. She's such a doll!

  8. #7
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    hehe, I feel your pain, we're making the twice-a-year trip to AL (12-hour drive) with our 2-year-old daughter to pick up my 5-year-old stepdaughter and haul all down to FL (another 10-hour drive) for a few days. and for added kicks my stepdaughter gets carsick even LOOKING at a car. but I don't think that even compares to a NY-TX drive, man that's ambitious! how long of a drive IS that?

    so I don't really have much to add except to say I love all the ideas that have been posted in this thread and am copying them down for my own nefarious purposes. the only tip I have is to do as much driving as you can at night. I don't know if that fits your situation well, but we leave early in the evening so that for most of the trip the kids are asleep. we stop off at truck stops (safe ones, mr. lemming's dad is a truck driver so we know where not to go) etc if we need to rest for a half hour or so.

    if we're driving during the day I like to figure out where we'll be around lunchtime and find a state park (you can find them online) and plan a picnic for lunch. it's a little scenery + leg-stretching.

    I've been gathering stuff from the $1 store and clearances for giftie purposes, like everyone else, hee. also I've been saving up toys from Happy Meals, especially the little games McD's has right now.

    and I'm making a scrapbook kit for the 5 year old; I don't know if that will really help with the car ride but I'm going to put little envelope pockets for her to put small stuff that she gathers along the way, postcards and stuff.

    ooh, and that cooler idea -- filled with good drinks and snacks just for them -- is a great one, I remember LOVING that on car trips with my parents.

    slightly o/t: I was another one who was easy to please with books, so much so that my dad would often kvetch about how I wasn't looking at the scenery. "put the book down, look at the mountains, aren't they nice? you can't see the mountains when you're READING YOUR BOOK." hee.

    I will try to think of more today, this is an excellent topic! :)

  9. #8
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    Moon-lemming~ The NY to TX drive is going to be approx 24 hrs. Of course, that's w/ no stops!! WE'll stop as we need to and make an overnite stop half way to rest.
    I cannot drive at night unfortunately. My eyes get too bleary from the lack of scenery to distract me. But we will be leaving early in the morning. This should be interesting!

  10. #9
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    Did anybody say books on tape/cd? You can check them out of the library and they'll come with a book to follow along. If that'll cause a fight between the two then just ditch the book and have them listen to the stories. Maybe make into something they get to decide, like which story to put in so they'll be more into it. When the story is over you could all make up your own versions - make it silly, sad, gross, or whatever will hold their attention.

    Can't wait to hear how the trip goes!

  11. #10
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    Oh yeah!!! Books on tape! That didn't even occur to me. Hey....anything that'll keep at least one of them engaged is a good thing!


 
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