Road Tripping With A 5 Year Old

As parents you spend some time wondering if you’re getting “it” right, hoping you are, but knowing there is something you are going to mess up. You just hope the mess up’s aren’t too terrible or long lasting.

One of the things I know we got right, like totally nailed it…road tripping! We love to travel, and while we will totally fly, float, or rail whenever needed we also love jumping in the car, and driving. Stopping whenever we see something interesting, turning down dirt roads, and a lot of times taking the scenic route versus the fastest route.

First pit stop to spend the night & burn energy at my aunt and uncles. She ran laps around the house!

A few weekends ago Sky and I took off across WA and then dropped down into to OR to eventually arrive in Wallowa Lake. It was a whirlwind trip to say the least with 4 days in a row of 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours of driving. Some of it very familiar road (to my aunt & uncles vineyard for our first stop going, and last stop coming home) and some of it not familiar at all, completely trusting GPS through mountain passes and back-country roads.

Lunch stop the second day on the road, was a lovely view and an energy burn!

While exhausting to be in the car that many hours for 4 days (not to mention how sore my hips were from all the sitting) it was certainly fun being on the road with Sky.

She is so good at reading her books, coloring, playing games and having conversations with her toys, singing along to the radio (even if she picked up the annoying, yet hysterical, habit of changing words in the song to make it funny…thank you daddy for sharing your talent :-/) to asking complex meaning of life type of questions. As she gets older she’s spending more time looking out the window, commenting on the beauty of what she’s seeing, and asking to stop and take pictures along the way.

The viewpoint.

There was some truly beautiful scenery to look at, especially through the mountain pass we took (still don’t know the name of it, but I’m sure I could figure it out with some digging) and we even found a nice viewpoint to stop and have lunch.

Me and my Dad….the reason I was in Wallowa Lake.

One of the things we have found to be helpful while traveling is figuring in an hour, or more depending on the trip and things we know we want to see along the way, to the drive time. We typically like to keep our hours on the road to 5 or 6 max, so an hour or so of that isn’t actual driving time, it’s lunch/play time. That break in driving is key for Sky, and honestly for Mark and I as well. (Having said that Sky and I drove from our house to my aunt and uncles without stopping (and it took an extra 1.5 hours due to construction) I don’t remember the last time we drove straight through like that. We were on a roll I guess).

This guy crashed the wedding and tried to get into the house!

Wallow Lake, OR you may be asking…well it was for my Dad’s wedding, and Sky had an important date to be the flower girl. It was a beautiful setting for a lovely wedding, and Sky loved being the flower girl!

Joyfully tossing roses!

I wish my Dad and Johanna nothing but love and happiness for years to come!

The happy couple!

Now, to make the trip back and actually stay for a week or so, with Mark and Sky, and enjoy the lake, hiking, and beauty that is Wallowa Lake, OR!

My cousin Nathan, Me, Dad, Johanna, her son, Nathans two kiddos and Sky.
First time as a “wedding photographer” and last. Was happy to do it, used my phone for all of it, but would not want to do that for a living. Too much pressure!
Sky had so much fun meeting her cousins and playing with them!
So thankful to connect with family that I don’t get to see all that often.

P.S. A few tips:

-Fill up the tank before hitting the road. I found myself in the middle of nowhere WA, in need of gas with no idea where I was or when the next gas station would be. Was a tense hour of driving to say the least.

-Pack a small cooler with food and drinks. Even if you decide to stop at eat at a restaurant along the way, it’s nice to have the food on hand when you find a lovely park or spot to stop and play, and the food will keep if you end up eating out instead.

-Headphones for the kiddo’s electronic device. Sky has a LeapPad with some alphabet and number games on it, and those darn songs get stuck in my head. With her headphones on she can play the games & I can listen to my music and everyone is happy.

-Keep wet wipes and TP in the car…any wide spot in the road, or bush, works when a bathroom break is needed and you are miles/hours from a potty.

-When it’s been a long day bribery is totally an option. I hold that in reserve for the last hour or so and as long as Sky refrains from asking “are we there yet” or “how much longer” then she gets whatever it is I settle on. Sometimes ice cream, sometimes it’s a new toy or coloring book (that I have purchased ahead of time to hold in reserve to use as needed).



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