Tuesday, September 06, 2011

On-the-Road Diaper Changes

If you intend on taking your baby on the road for more than an hour or two - as we do - then you're going to have to change your baby's diaper on the road, too. Seeing as how we've never done this before, we thought it might be a good idea to "practice" this procedure before we take Marla on a real, actual road trip. Plus, it was a good excuse to drive somewhere. Yeah, we kind of do need an excuse to go somewhere now that we have a kid.


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The basic plan was to drive to the nearest interstate rest area, change her diaper, feed her, and head back home.

Where is the nearest interstate rest area to our house? I've mentioned this before, but there are three rest areas all roughly equidistant: I-40/85 west (Burlington), I-85 north (Oxford), and I-40 east (Benson). We chose the Benson rest area (point B on the map) because that was the drive we have done least recently of the three.

(Side comments regarding counties! Any of the three rest areas would have given Marla at least one new county. The Burlington rest area on I-40/85 west would have given Marla three new counties, but these are all counties Marla is going to get eventually anyway, so...meh. By going to Benson, Marla picked up just one new county, Johnston County, bringing her total to five. We came close to Wilson County when we went up to Kenly, but did not cross the line. Note that Marla has yet to pick up more than one new county in a single day, so far.)

Not a consideration here was the quality of the three rest areas. Not all rest areas are created equal, and thus, our diaper changing experiences may vary. Oklahoma, for instance, still holds a special place in my heart as having the crappiest (not to mention least plentiful) rest areas I've seen. But that was 18 years ago; have things gotten better since then? Either way, the Benson rest area is a bit on the older side. I'm sure it's as old as the interstate itself. But the Benson rest area is probably typical of what we're likely to encounter on our drives to Toledo and Jacksonville, so it made for a good test. Because at the Benson rest area, you won't find the plastic changing tables you see most places:


I thought this kind of thing was standard in interstate rest areas, in both the men's and women's restrooms. Nope! Only in good interstate rest areas, I guess. At the Benson rest area, the women's restroom has a wooden counter top which can be used as a changing table. The men's restroom has nothing. I wanted to practice this sort of thing myself, darn it. I also figured it might be good to educate ourselves a little more on this topic while we were on the road. For instance, do truck stop restrooms have changing tables? To find out, we kept going.


I-95 Exit 106 (point C on the map) has three truck stops. The nicest of the three is "Kenly 95", which is inspired by the Iowa 80 truck stop we visited en route to Alaska last year.


Surely, you'd think that a truck stop as nice as this place would have changing tables in the restrooms, right? You would be correct. In addition to the Kenly 95, the Flying J at this exit also had one, while the Wilco did not. This applies to both the men's and women's restrooms. (Amber only checked the women's restroom at the Wilco, because I assume that if there's a changing table in the men's restroom, that there is also one in the women's restroom.) Fact is, Marla didn't even need a diaper change at the time, but I went ahead and gave her one anyway, just to get a practice round in. We also fed Marla on this trip, but I won't get into the details there. That's Amber's deal.

So what did we learn? First off, interstate rest areas and truck stops - in that order - are both good places to change a baby's diaper, generally speaking. Thing is, though...we won't be able to time the diaper changes so conveniently on an actual road trip. Marla may need one when we're quite a distance away from a rest area or truck stop. Fast food restaurants and department/grocery stores are hit or miss with this sort of thing, so we can't necessarily count on them. So what do we do? Put up with 45 minutes of crying until we reach the next rest area, or take the next exit and change her in the back seat, I guess. This will likely come up at some point on our longer drives.

Speaking of which, we also confirmed yesterday what we already knew: that our drives will now take us much, much longer than they used to. For many reasons, our Thanksgiving drive to Toledo will be the real test. Durham to Toledo in 11 hours? Not anymore. Try 13 or 14.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah she now has JOCO in her, ok that's Johnston County lingo, YIPPIE!!! LOL