Monday, October 06, 2014

Bruce's First Road Trip: Medoc Mountain

Fall has arrived! Perfect time for our first full-family "road trip test". Later in October, we're embarking on a 2-day/1-night road trip to the mountains, so before we do that, since we've never done this sort of thing with two children before, perhaps we should do a mini road trip "test".

(Note: This picture was actually taken over a month ago when Bruce was still only one week old; at six weeks, Bruce is a bit bigger now.)

As for where to go on Saturday, I looked for interesting nature-y places within a two-hour drive that I hadn't been to before, and settled upon Medoc Mountain State Park. Medoc Mountain is located east of Raleigh near I-95 (Roanoke Rapids-ish), and it isn't really much of a mountain; it's just the remnants of an eroded ancient mountain. I didn't see anything really "special" about the place, other than that it's a State Park, but it provided a very nice picnic spot plus walk in the woods.

An important thing to remember when planning nature-y trips with little ones: sure, a park might have interesting things to see, but can a 3-year-old walk to them? Marla can do a 1-mile walk, so for now we limit our hikes to 1 mile or less, easy terrain only. Thinking ahead, the time will come in which Bruce is too big for a baby carrier but too small to do too much walking on his own, at which point we won't be able to do too many walks in the woods at all for a time, unless the trail is paved and we can use a stroller. (For Marla, that was between 21 and 27 months, which just so happened to be when we were in Colorado, of course. So, no major national park vacations for us between May 2016 and November 2016.)

Regarding driving with two kids, we've always had someone in the back seat to help entertain Marla during the drive, which we can't do anymore. But in some ways, Marla is actually easier to entertain when we're not in the back seat with her, because she's less demanding and more willing to entertain herself. The challenge will be with Bruce when he's between, say, 12 and 18 months. For now, he sleeps almost all of the time when we're in the car, so it's relatively easy. Better get our weekend mountain getaway in soon!

We did learn some things with the road trip test, though:
- VERY IMPORTANT: Ask Marla to go to the bathroom before we leave. I mean, this has got to be road trip rule #1, right? Right on cue, she asked to use the potty before we even made it out of Durham County.
- It's nice that we only have one kid in diapers at a time.
- If we're bringing yogurt with us for our picnic, also bring spoons.
- For family road trips, even a small SUV is a lot nicer than a Honda Civic.

Maybe the reason Marla was so interested in the hike was because I pointed out the numeric reference markers to her ("Okay, there's the 6, let's go find the 7!" "YAY!!!!"), and also the blue rectangles painted on the trees which served as the trail markers.

County statistics: Bruce has now visited 10 counties (was 4 prior to Saturday). He has not left the state of North Carolina, but that will change later this month. Marla visited her first new county in over five months (Halifax County), and my Subaru has now been to 14 counties, all in-state. Also, here is a map of the route we took, which included a little bit of roadgeeking (completing US-158 between I-85 and I-95).

1 comment:

Nick said...

We don't ask if Kimberly wants to use the bathroom, we try to make it a 'thing' you do before you leave. Otherwise, she will say she doesn't need to go potty, then guess what happens 15 minutes down the road!