We did it! Road Trip NY 2009: three-and-a-half days, three nights, nine states (ten if you count it from Arizona and twelve if you count it from California), two kids, more than two thousand miles, over 30 hours of driving, and one 2004 Toyota Corolla, packed to capacity and beyond.
Looking back now, a week later, I have to say, it was a lot of fun. Of course not every minute was fun, and it was a lot of work keeping the girls (and ourselves) happy, but on the whole the road trip was a great success. We originally decided to drive from Arizona to New York for boring, practical reasons. It was the simplest way to get us, our stuff from the summer in Provo, and our car out to New York. We tried working out different combinations of flying and shipping our car, or having some of us fly and some of us drive (never mind who), but in the end we just decided to go for it.
I'm not sorry we did. Besides accomplishing the obvious goal of getting us all here, I really enjoyed seeing so much of America. Sure, Wyoming was kind of a low-light, and one of the rest areas in Indiana was so dirty that Jeremy said it reminded him of Jordan (he was wrong - it was dirty enough to belong in Syria, but that's not the point). Another downside was that I lost the first CD of the Evita soundtrack right before we left. So frustrating.
But Miriam got to go swimming in a hotel pool, which I think we can all agree is one of the highlights of anyone's childhood. She also got to sing the United States song with a little more informed gusto than she could before. We visited Chimney Rock, Kirtland, and some old friends. We drove past lots of other famous places. Except for the parts where I had to make sure we weren't run off the road by a semi truck trying to pass us going 85 mph, on the right, in a blinding thunderstorm, there was lots of time to just watch the world go by and see what all those middle states look like.
Besides getting little dollar store treats for the girls to open up each day, I think the greatest preparation coup of the trip was buying 8-oz. boxes of chocolate milk from Costco and freezing them before we left. Then we packed them in the flexible cooler bag. Not only did they help keep everything in the cooler cold (for two full days, actually), but as they defrosted, they were such a treat to eat. Chocolate milk has not been a standard road trip food for us, so it was always like a refreshing surprise to break one out and sip it.
So Road Trip NY 2009 was a great success. The only ways we could improve it for the future would be to burn more - and more varied - mix CDs, and also have a bigger car, like maybe a van. Even in our overstuffed Corolla, though, it was still a lot of fun.