A road trip with two kids who’ve not spent longer than 90minutes in a car at any one time. What the hell are we thinking? Clearly we aren’t thinking, 7.5 years of parenthood has fried our brains.
In the days preceeding departure the mound of ‘must-takes’ grows ever higher. Doonas, toys, books and snacks jostle for pole position with pencils, toiletries and maps. All equal in their own necessity. The things we don’t pack (cos we don’t own them) highlight the parenting choices we have made – no Nintendo DS, no in-car DVD’s or laptops. Our Ludite tendencies extend to using maps on paper, eschewing the far easier GPS machine. After all, what good would a road trip be without the possibility of having a least one “Where the bloody hell are we?” moment?
With every millimetre of available space taken (I LOATHE the lack of leg room in the passenger seat) we are off. Failing to note the actual time of the first sibling altercation all I can report is that it was before the 30 minute post-departure mark. Two hours in and the troops have entered the zone – happily (more or less) amusing themselves with their travel desks.
Just short of Horsham and unable to hold their bladders any longer the girls get their first experience of a roadside toilet block. Stage fright takes over at the first putrid whiff. The littlest Missy opts to squat, channeling her inner-male and creating wet circle in the red dirt. With dexterity like that I forecast great things for my youngest child.
Progress is so encouraging we decide to barrel past Horsham, earmarking Nhill as a dinner destination and Bordertown as our stable for the evening.
Dining options are limited, in fact dining options are limited to the pub. No “Chinese” restaurant, no pizza shop, not even a fish and chippery in sight. So, we eat at the pub, $10 schnitzel night! Wholesome country tucker is consumed while the locals stare at the family in the corner, trying to figure out who we are. We are pretty sure they realize we are city folk when the little Missy requests salt n pepper calamari for dinner.
The hour to Bordertown flies and at 8pm we pull into the caravan park to scoop the last two bedroom cabin. The roar of trucks on the highway behind us is alarming and visions of a night counting road trains float before me. Instead we are rocked to sleep like babies by the thundering lorries.
So, all has gone well – a little too well? – and you’re expecting the next day all goes to hell. Nup, the girls continue to defy our pessimistic expectations, enjoying the novelty of all four of us being in the same place at the same time.
The OH calls this being ‘trapped’; the girls call it heaven.