I love to travel, and yet have not been on a real vacation in over a decade. Back in my twenties, which were, to my life, what the 90's were to the dot com-ers. Money flowed, I bought into my own PR and then it all crashed. But I digress.
Okay, in my twenties I was the queen of road trips. I would finish a Saturday night shift at the piano bar at 3 am, and being hyped up on caffeine and with pockets full of cash I would spontaneously decide to drive to Denver to visit a friend. Soooo...I would cover my next couple of shifts, grab my duffel, hop in the car and make the drive. 12 hours straight through...ON NO SLEEP. I arrive at my friend's doorstep just as she was coming home from work.
I would drive four hours to Dallas just to eat dinner. I would drive six hours to see a band.
Gas was cheap and, for the most part, my time was free.
So, with that in mind I decided Little Dog should experience the magic of a road trip. It was summer and I had just finished a lucrative contract job. I had the magic two: Time and money.
Little Dog wanted to know where we were going. "I dunno," I said, "Let's just head in the direction of Missouri. I'll bet there will be lots of cool places to stop and see."
Now even though I am a live-in-the-moment kind of gal I somehow managed to give birth to Mister Itinerary, himself. He always likes to know things like "where" and "what time." He hates to be late and he never forgets to take a towel to the pool.
Yeah. You know the type.
So it took some persuading and my agreement to let him have the large suitcase (presumably so he could pack for any contingency.) He also refused to leave spontaneously, insisting we wait until the next morning. He spent the evening calling friends to let them know we would be gone and writing a very long and detailed list of instructions for the friend who had agreed to cat sit.
So, the next morning we headed out.
Now, in my opinion road trips are a great way to experience music and so I had brought quite a selection of CDs. I popped in some Cramps and hit the cruise control. Little Dog, however, felt we should listen to the radio and proceeded to check for a weather report.
Uh...This was not going well.
By the time we hit the turnpike he was asleep. So much for bonding time.
After the turnpike stretch I woke him up and began pointing out the road side signs.
'World's largest pecan," I shrieked, "Wanna see it?"
"Hand pulled taffy! Wanna watch?"
"Genuine nut bowls! Do we need one?"
Finally Little Dog got into the spirit and began watching for and ultimately choosing some attractions. Fantastic Caverns was a hit with him, except for the part where I knocked my ball cap off on a staglite and made the tour guide stop the jeep tour so I could go pick it up. (In my defense it was my beloved 20 year old Yankees cap.)
The Exotic Animal Paradise was a big disappointment as neither he nor I really felt that water buffaloes and goats were all that exotic.
We passed on The Precious Moments Chapel as "cute" tends to irritate us both.
That night we stayed in a road side motel (his first motel stay) and well, let us just say that I felt so guilty about the quality of that room that the next night I sprang for an executive suite at the Marriott to make up for it.
And speaking of the Marriott...
I decided that night would be the big splurge night where I would introduce my son to some of the finer indulgences in life. Upon checking in we quickly opted to visit the indoor pool, after which we went to the (thankfully unpopulated) hot tub. Then we returned to the room to get dressed for dinner. That was when it happened. Little Dog fell in love with the hotel bathroom.
"Did you know there's a TV in there?!" He promptly called dibs on first shower. 30 minutes later I peeked my head in to see what the hold-up was and there was my 8 year old: soaking in bubbles, Jacuzzi jets running while Pokemon played in the TV.
By the time he could tear himself away from the nirvana he had found I was too wound down to go out. I decided to let him order room service. He poured over the menu and ultimately ended up ordering a specially made cheese platter, some fries and and chocolate milk.
Okay, so if he thought the bathroom was great he was ready to move in permanently when the food arrived. They wheeled in the cart and began placing the silver covered plates on the table. His milk was in a crystal goblet. There was a rose in a bud vase. And when the meal was done those wonderful people at this magic place came back and picked up all the dishes!!!
So cool, that he had to have a snack before bed 2 hours later. This time he knew the drill and was sitting buffeted by pillows at the head of the bed. The orange sherbet was served in a stemmed bowl.
After delicately dabbing his lips with the linen napkin my aristocratic son announced that he would be unavailable for a while because he had to poop.
And the best part (according to him) was that he could WATCH TV while he did so.
Oh yes, my boy is definitely cut out for the glamorous life.