“This is beautiful,” I exclaimed, looking down at the forested valley below as our car rounded another bend on the windy mountain road.  Finally, the frustration I’d endured trying to get our children through their Saturday chores and into their snow gear was abating. We were surrounded by gorgeous scenery, and the ski resort was only minutes away.

“I don’t feel so good,” my eight-year-old son responded.  Then he threw up.  We rolled down the windows and drove to the resort parking lot. My husband went to check on lift ticket prices, run girls to the bathroom, and fetch paper towels. I helped my son clean up, then together we cleaned up the car. Nobody got to ski.

So why do I still count that day as a plus?

Even when road trips turn sour, we can still enjoy time spent together. In fact, sometimes bad road trips bring out the best in us. On past car trips, I’ve gotten to see my husband in action changing flat tires, pushing the car, cleaning up a messy baby, or jollying our howling children into fits of giggles. We’ve used our creativity to enjoy difficult situations, like singing “snow” songs as we inched forward through a blinding snowstorm, or building snowmen by the side of the road when we were stopped by a highway closure.

Even though we didn’t get to ski that fateful day, I came away with these good experiences:

  • Finding extra baby wipes, a roll of paper towels, and a jug of water to help us deal with the mess. (Preparation makes catastrophe a lot easier to deal with!)

  • Cleaning upholstery with my son’s help

  • Learning the lyrics to a new song while we worked

  • Enjoying the views of forested valleys rising into snowy slopes

  • My daughters playing in the snow near the car and exploring a “snow cave"

  • Saving lots of money by not skiing

Whether road trips go right, or whether they go wrong, we can look for ways to enjoy them. No matter where we drive, or what happens to us, we’re still with the people we love (even if they’re driving us crazy).
Loralee Leavitt destroys candy for the sake of science, drags her family on long car trips, and enjoys all sorts of other family adventures. She writes about family subjects such as science experiments, budgeting, finding inexpensive alternatives, tr... Read More