We slept much better on Saturday night. The room was nice and cool, and truthfully our exhaustion overrode any other problems. We woke up around 6:30 Sunday morning and were hoping to get on the road by 7:30 at the latest. What we didn’t count on was again Brendan. He didn’t want to leave, and he threw by far one of the worst meltdowns we’ve seen in all his 9 years. He was completely irrational and he screamed, cried, and hollered as loud as he possibly could. I felt sorry for the two rooms adjoining ours as I’m quite certain his yells gave them a nice early wake up call.
By the time we got the car loaded up it was 8:00, and to add insult to injury Matt had to spend the next few minutes scraping a layer of ice off our vehicle. Needless to say, the morning did not get off to a pleasant start. The roads leading out of town were clear, and we were able to get out of town fairly quickly. The GPS estimated we’d be home around 4:30 that afternoon, which seemed quick to us but we also knew that once we added in all the stops we’d be making it’d be closer to 5:30 or 6.
While the roads were all nice and clear in town, we weren’t sure what to expect once we got onto the highway. In order to get home, we basically had to follow the path of the storm the entire way. We weren’t sure if it had blown itself out on Saturday, or if it had continued to drop snow all the way back to our house. It turned out it was the latter. The nice thing was, since my parents had left the hotel a couple hours before we did, we were able to get an idea of what road conditions were up ahead of us.
For a while the texts I got said things weren’t too bad. High winds and blowing snow were our biggest obstacles. We made it to our first rest stop with no problems, and the only thing we really noticied was how bitterly cold it was when we got out of the car. We hurried through our restroom break and got back on the road. We made the decision at that point to press on as quickly as we could. We decided to make our second stop another restroom break and to get our lunch to go, and have the kids eat it on the road. Ahead of us, my parents were beginning to report worsening weather conditions and we didn’t want to waste any more time than was necessary in case the weather continued to go downhill.
The city we stopped in for our lunch break it in a rather rural part of the state. The storm had travelled through there the night before and, while the weather was clear now, none of the roads had been plowed. In fact when we pulled into the parking lot of the fast food restaurant we were going to buy our lunch from there was a semi truck stuck in their drive thru. Again, we hurried through our restroom break and ordered our lunch as quickly as we could to get back on the road. Amazingly, all of the kids were being exceptionally good about the short breaks and quick turnarounds. Even Brendan, who after that morning I figured would be having one of the worst days ever, was on his best behavior.
About an hour after we stopped for lunch, I got a new text from my mom. “The interstate is closed. Trying to find an alternative route.” Great. At this point we were still about 4 hours from home. We decided to keep going, for the moment. We were a little more than 2 hours behind my parents so we figured there was no harm in moving forward while they figured out what was going on. It took a while but they finally found an alternative highway that was still open. Mom reported that the road was quite snowpacked, and slow going. They weren’t sure how far they’d have to travel on their alternate route before they could get back on the main highway.
At this point, Matt and I started discussing our options. We were still travelling in a fairly rural part of the state. Do we stop and stay the night somewhere or keep going and see if we could weather our way through the storm as my parents were doing. Our options of cities that would have a decent hotel in them were pretty slim. At the time they texted about the alternative route we were just a few miles outside of one such city. We decided at that point to keep going, and see how much trouble the alternate route was going to be.
The next city was about another hour down the road. We figured that would give us enough time to make an informed decision. It wasn’t even 20 minutes before mom reported that they were making very little progress and that conditions were getting worse instead of better. That cynched it for us. I got on the internet on my phone and started looking for a hotel in the upcoming city. Our biggest fear was that, with the interstate closed, multiple travellers would be in the same boat we were and that there wouldn’t be a hotel room available as we were stopping in the last major city before the interstate closure.
Lucky for us, that was not the case. We had no trouble finding a room, and the kids were quite happy to find out that we’d be out of the car in less than an hour AND get to extend their “vacation” by one more day. Brendan was a bit perturbed to find out that he would miss a second day of school, but we promised an afternoon of fun for the kids and that seemed to perk him up.
We spent the afternoon wandering around the city (okay, really more like a town than a city…but I digress) and the thing that made the kids most happy was when we went on a shopping trip to Target. Yes, Target. Like we don’t have one of those at home. Like we don’t go shopping there at least three times a week. But they loved it. Then we finally headed back to the hotel and to end our evening we let Cameron and Kaylee play in the bathtub for a while (we didn’t have our bath toys with us, but the two toys they’d gotten in their happy meals over the weekend substituted nicely) and while they did that I sat down and read for a little while with Brendan.
Overall, the trip was a success and I’m very glad that we went. Would I want to repeat this particular trip? Not in a million years. The hardest part of the entire trip was dealing with Brendan. He has good days, and he has bad days and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to which type of day he will have. We’ve made long road trips with him before and he can be the world’s best and most easygoing traveller ever. When we made this same trip a couple years ago to come to my cousin’s wedding he was an angel.
Live and learn. Travelling with my kids will never be an easy task, and all we can do is prepare for the challenges.