When is the best time to travel long disftance with a toddler? Answer: NEVER
Okay that’s a bit dramatic but seriously after 3 1/2 hours in a car with a 2-year-old thats my current suggestion.
Rylan has always been a good traveler. She would fall asleep in the car and be good till we got wherever we were going. Before she was 6 months old she had been to Santa Cruz twice, San Jose, Tahoe, Bucks Lake, and I feel like there was more but I’m recovering from traveling right now and can’t think. She is still a fairly good car kid. Around town she falls asleep when its nap time and transfers so great! My kid is amazing overall but that’s probably my favorite thing about her. If she falls asleep in the car 9 times out of 10 we can pick her up and get her in bed with out a fit or her waking up. Its like magic. (knock on wood…. seriously, please).
We normally travel with someone. Pat is always with us or my mom likes to plan stuff for us to do together. She’s WAY better at making sure we get to do fun stuff than I am. Especially in this heat. I have 0 motivation to do anything other than complain. Anyway this trip I decided to go alone. Pats family has a cabin at Bucks Lake. Right on the water and drop dead gorgeous view and adorable true cabin feel. They all go every year in July and my poor hubs can’t go in the summer because of golf course grass or something. I swear I’m a decent wife!
This year they planned the trip and I looked at mine and Rylans schedule and yes we could make it happen for a little bit. Not realizing that the road was closed to get there and we would have to drive an extra hour and half on top of the already 4 hour drive. Awesome. So to make the trip less cringe worthy my mother in law and I drove 3 hours to stay at her brother’s house before waking up to travel the last 2 hours.
We left on a Thursday night because we wanted to get there, sleep, wake up and finish the trek to the glorious Bucks Lake. If you’ve never been there I’m not exaggerating how amazing this place is. Add it to the bucket list STAT. So we load up in the car and Rylan is super excited to see her cousins and has no clue the amount of time her tiny bum will be strapped to that seat.
The first hour and half we listened to Toddler Tunes. She did great. Sang her songs, ate her fruit snacks, and was doing fine. My head was starting to hurt from wheels on the bus on repeat but overall was feeling pretty proud of myself.
Then things started to change. *dun dun dun* She threw her water, which I can not reach while driving. She wanted the iPad, which we do not give her in the car because she’s never wanted it and didn’t know it was a thing until recently. No iPad meant she had to do something and asked for Cheerios. High fiving the crap out of my future self I had packed snacks and had them in the front seat ready to hand her pre-meltdown. Sounds like a good idea right? WRONG!
Still mad over not getting the toys of her choice and me not pulling over every 5 seconds to pick up all the things she threw, she took the open bag of Cheerios and dumped it all over her lap.
“Seriously Rylan?!?! You know better!” I swatted towards the back seat while trying not to swerve on the freeway.
Then it happened…. it started raining Cheerios in my Yukon! Yup you read that right. from all angles cheerios were flying! Down the back of my shirt, bouncing off the windows, even flying towards the windshield only to land down in the air vents.
Determined to make it to Oroville without stopping, I just stopped yelling. I stopped swatting at her while driving down the freeway cause, well… I choose life. I waited it out and was thankful that I hadn’t stocked the reachable ice chest with anything alcoholic. (I would never really drink and drive especially with my child in the car so hold the AA emails) But after experiencing a car cheerio rain storm I’ll also be withholding my judgement on drunk moms.
We made it to Bucks Lake. Right when we got there I could breathe easier. I opened the car door, took a look at that gorgeous cabin and lake, and took a deep breath. Then I put a beer in the freezer. That’s one thing I can appreciate about summer, when its miserable out (anything over 75 degrees) there’s always a gorgeous lake just sitting there waiting for you to come and join the higher elevation, and take a deep breath.
Of course Pinecrest is also beautiful and only a 45 min drive.
I’ve listened to podcast and read blogs on traveling with kids and tips to make it go faster and this trip has led me to give you advice of my own. Mother to mother. Are you ready, cause it’s really good advice? You should write it down. Here it is: Let dad drive and put on a sleep mask and noise cancelling headphones with a good audio book!