the nuts & bolts

My uncle wrote me earlier today with his curious mind clicking away.  He was curious about some of the non-glamorous happenings of driving cross-country day after day after day.  I decided it was a great jumping point for a little blog, just to share some of the inner happenings of spending hours in a car.

photo-21I look over and the huzband’s head is Lola’s

How do we spend our time in the car?

Oh good lord, anything and everything that will help us keep our sanity.  With Velda, we have all kinds of “things to do”, as she puts it.  I wanted to continue school on the road and not fill her time with movies.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of movie time, hey, we are traveling across the continent after all; however, I wanted a good mix of things to keep her busy.  We play card games, learn about different states/countries we have traveled in, color and keep learning about numbers, sorting, reading and anything else that would fall under a kindergarten education.  A friend refered me to a website where I was also able to add in some other things I thought would be fun.  For example, we colored in and put together a Native American girl while we were traveling through Wyoming.  There are days where mandatory nap time is instated (this is not just for kids, adults too you know!) and other days where we sing our conversations to each other.  Sometimes we listen to music and sometimes we don’t.  We are always on the lookout for postcards and it gives us a mission each time we stop.  We play different car trip games and sometimes a good ol’ spur of the moment stop to take a short walk or a quick picture is in order.  Then there are times where we are each just doing our own little thing.  Obviously one of us doesn’t get a choice in what our own little thing is because we are driving!


photo-19stopped to say hi to the 15 foot beaver sitting on a 19 foot log in Beaverlodge

We do take turns driving.  The huzband hogs all the driving does more driving than I do, I have to be honest.  However I choose not to go into all that happens when it is my turn to drive.  I don’t really want to explain why the huzband has trouble napping in the car, jerks awake half the time and how annoying that gets!!  I really don’t want to talk about how much micro managing the huzband does from the passenger seat about how to drive while pulling a trailer, even two weeks after we left NY.  I really don’t want to go into how superb my driving is in comparison to the huzband’s, nor about how he learned all he knows about awesome driving from me.  I will just leave it at we take turns!

How many miles a day do you log?

It is really dependent upon what that days travel has in store.  Is there a specific place we want to stop at along the way, something we want to do, people we want to see.  So far our total miles logged are  4,440 miles.  Our longest day was our drive from Tennessee to Oklahoma where we drove 920 miles in 17 hours.  (You can read about that day here.)  Our shortest day as of yet was yesterday when we drove 245 miles from Canmore, Alberta to Hinton, Alberta.  However, it was no easy day let me tell you!

On our shortest day we drove through Banff and Jasper National Parks.  We took the Icelands Parkway that takes us right through the Canadian Rockies, which are absolutely GORGEOUS!!  Oh, and did I mention that it was snowing, A LOT!!  We knew because of the ups and downs across the Canadian Rockies, while pulling a trailer, it would take time and therefore planned accordingly, leaving ourselves plenty of time.  What we weren’t expecting was to drive right into a snow storm.  It wasn’t till about half way through that the sun came out, it stopped snowing, the roads were no longer covered in snow and we could see more than 5 feet in front of us!  I suppose we were just being tested to see if we had the stuff to be Alaska tough!  =)


We have worked out a pretty good system when it comes to our pit stops.  It took a little fanegaling but we figured out what works best for us.  We only stop when we are putting gas in the car.  We use that time to use the bathrooms, get a snack, walk the dog, and anything else we think we might need to do.  Most of the time we don’t stop for lunch.  I packed a cooler full of snacks in NY and we just restocked it today.  We snack along the way and when we are hungry for something more, the next gas stop we pick up some grub.  We save time by not taking a full lunch break.  We would rather keep going and spend that time later in the evening at the pool, eating a good dinner or covering a bit more ground.  I think because we have been doing this since our very long 17 hour day, we have become accustomed to this life of gas, pee and go!  Know though that things will begin to change as we head north through British Colombia and the Yukon.  The distance between gas stations will grow longer ranging from 100 to 150 miles between each.  It is advised for parts of travel to not drive with your gas tank less than half.

photo-22now THIS is a view!!  the Canadian Rockies in Jasper National Park…once the snow dispersed

How much money are you throwing into that gas tank of yours?

Okay, so my uncle didn’t say that exactly!!  However it’s late and I’m tired.  Nuff said.


Taking a long trip like this requires a whole lot of gas.  Being that we are coming from New York, high gas prices are a part of our day-to-day life.  Back in NY we would average $3.50 per gallon (if we were lucky, hello summers of over $4).  As we headed west, it was a nice relief to see that price begin to drop.  I think the cheapest we saw was $3.10.  That .40 difference per gallon really does make a difference!  Once we headed north into maple leaf country (Canada), things changed.  For starters they fill by the liter not the gallon.  The huzband did a little configuring and let me know that there are 4 liters to a 1 gallon.  With his fingers typing away, he let me know we are paying about $5 a gallon.  That’s no bueno!  And for those curious minds, it is all self-service.  Why would that even come up?  Well, I did grow up in one of the only two state in the U.S. that is full service.  That’s right, never had to pump my own gas till I was 18 years old.  (Funny side story, I had just moved to Colorado and sat in my car at a gas station for like 5 minutes before I realized I had to pump my own gas!)

What does sitting for all those miles do to your body?

Well, you get eager to GET OUT!  Sometimes one of my knees begins to feel weird from being in a bent position for so long.  The huzband’s shoulders get stiff and sore a bit.  You start to think you are getting old and then you realize you’ve been in a car for over two weeks and cut yourself some slack!!

photo-23the M family likes this trip (quote from V)

3 thoughts on “the nuts & bolts

  1. I am enjoying reading all of your wonderful blog posts. Really liked this one a lot. It seems like you are enjoying some amazing views. One thing I should have given you before you left is one of the books Juan and I read to each other when we travel long distance for a road trip. We always pick out a good marriage book at Barnes and Noble and whomever is in the passenger seat reads to the driver one chapter a day or two if it is a long day and we stop to talk about what we read every page or two. It sparks the best conversation of our lives. I would say the most wonderful talks are during those road trips. I learn so many things about what he is thinking that normally would never come out. I know it is prob. too late now as you are almost there but just wanted to share that with you. How many more days are you traveling until you reach Wasilla?

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