When you have a long road trip ahead of you and you have a kiddo or 3, try these 5 Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos to make the ride a little smoother.
Travel Organizer from Tip Junkie! Take a canvas shoe bag and let the kiddo’s stuff it with their favorite items: small toys, books, snacks, glow sticks and a new toys is always a fun surprise, make sure to wrap it! Who doesn’t love to unwrap a new present!
These are the BEST items to keep little ones busy. The kiddos can practice their fine motor skills by taking the backing off and sticking them on themselves and removing them. The best part is that they stick to the surface and can be removed without the gummy residue stickers leave behind. We use these on airplane rides as well! I have BOXES of fun kid BandAids. *Do not hold me to this. (we have OLD cars … 1971 VW Bug and a 1978 FJ40 Landcruiser) we DO NOT drive expensive vehicles with full leather interior. So, please test this theory before you hand over a box of BandAids to your kids and they get stuck on your nice BMW SUV leather seats.
Music Unlimited by Amazon is your go to! As Prime members we just added this to our account. We get 250 Downloads a month… and they do NOT disappear after a month so they are YOURS!
Fun Cheap Or Free has an AWESOME idea for a book tote! Fill a tote with your child’s favorite books, and put them within arms length so they can reach them.
When all else fails….hand over the electronics. Check out this list of awesome Apps for Traveling Toddler from Media Macaroni.
What are your favorite road trip activities for the kiddos?
So following a few days in the Outerbanks with friends, we cruised back through the Bike Virginia tour for a long weekend of cycling. This year’s event was titled East Bound and focused on cycling in the Chesterfield and Williamsburg areas of VA with the first few nights of camping starting at the Pocahontas State Park. We registered for the weekend event starting on Friday and ending Sunday, however there was a full week option with a second camping area available for those individuals looking for some additional miles.
We rolled into camp around 2pm on Friday, just late enough to not get a group ride in, but with plenty of time to get signed in and find our campsite. With the Sprinter, life is good… We popped out the awning, opened up our REI camp chairs, and unloaded our bikes so we could go checkout the festivities.
HQ, as the Bike Virginia hosts call the main meeting site, was a virtual tent city packed full of cyclist claiming real-estate and finding a parking spot for their bikes. There were a few venders on site, a beer truck and a swag tent selling all kinds of Bike Virginia jerseys at a great deal. We snagged up a couple of silicone pint glasses for use in the Sprinter. The dinner served on site was a catered in Lasagna meal and boy did it hit the spot.
After dinner we biked back to the Sprinter and focused on chasing fireflies with our 2 year old. I really enjoy how having a toddler in your life puts the excitement back into things we’ve long forgotten were fun.
Once we got our little one down for the night, Sarah and I focused on drinking some red wine, watching the fire and talking about life. The next day we would have 65 miles of pure cycling bliss in front of us, so we hit the sack early.
An early morning start was in order for Saturday based on the 65 miles of cycling ahead of us. We don’t exactly set any land speed records on our Salsa Vaya and Surly Big Dummy (with toddler attachment), although we do average about 12-13 mph over the day.
The morning went well with cyclists everywhere! People were excited to be starting the day and everybody was enamored with our little 2 year old who was ringing her bell over and over. The route was an awesome rolling country atmosphere with no significant hills for the first part of the morning.
The first aid station came up around the 13 mile mark at a local horse stable. There were plenty of snacks and liquids available for a quick replenishment. Our little girl ran around and said hello to EVERYONE to include the horses. This was just the beginning of her making friends on the trip.
By the second aid station, people would cycle past us and know our daughters name! She was constantly receiving compliments and greetings from fellow cyclists.
The day was filled with nice rolling hills all day through the Virginia countryside with minimal traffic. At about the 50-mile point a couple of things happened…. We started getting tired and the hills started getting steeper. None of the hills were very long, but some of them got pretty serious for short durations.
At about mile 62 we were on the home stretch, when we noticed an ice cream shop! As a habit, we try not to pass up on a tasty treat during a hot humid ride and today was no different. We stopped for an ice cream and lemonade, making the last few miles to camp very easy.
Once we had taken advantage of the showers at our awesome campground, we decided an evening on the town in our favorite neighborhood, Carytown Virginia would make for a perfect ending to an awesome day of biking.
Carytown has a bunch of cool restaurants and shops on the main street for hours of walking around, but because we are routinely in the area, we went direct to one of our favorites called the Burger Bach.
The Burger Bach is a “New Zealand inspired gastro pub” and serves some AWESOME burgers only to be rivaled by the beer selection. Sarah and I both decided to do the noble thing and each had a burger and a beer to cap off the day.
A short 25 mile day was on the agenda for Sunday. There were longer options, but after our 65 miles the day before and a need to get home, we decided a short day was the best option.
Many of our acquaintances from the day before cycled by and said hello to us and mentioned how awesome if was we were introducing our daughter to cycling so early. The ride was pretty easy compared to Saturday ending with just a few sprinkles of rain as we entered the campground.
The Bike Virginia event was a fun tour, with tons of awesome people. There were bikes of all types, from crazy fast folks on tri-bikes to recumbents, tandems and even a family on a Surly Big Dummy with a toddler seat (Adventure Family in Motion). We had the opportunity to speak with a TON of people about our family cycling history and how we came to utilize the Big Dummy with a Yepp seat installed. I hope we inspired at least one other cyclist to consider bringing their family on the next ride vs leaving them at home!
Did you get to enjoy Bike Virginia this year? Share your stories or a link to your writ sup with us! We would love to hear about it!
We are a family of awesome non-traditional traditions. We love traditions but not in the sense that most people think of tradition.
For example, we had two weddings. The first one was just the two of us, our two dogs and an officiant at a cabin on the hillside at sunrise. Our little ones first birthday was a big “todo”, but instead of pony rides and marry-go-rounds, we opted for an open tab at our favorite local brewery and celebrated with all our closest friends.
This Thanksgiving we decided since we are currently living in the south and only a few hours from the coast, we would ride our bikes along the Gulf of Mexico over the holiday.
Nearly every Thanksgiving, that we have been in the states, has been celebrated with family and friends. Lots of food, overstuffed bellies, naps and games. This year the Adventure Van was calling our name! We spent 2 nights and 3 days on the road in Florida.
Our first stop was Pensacola, FL. With no agenda but to ride our bikes and enjoy the weather, we didn’t make any reservations. Upon arriving at camp after dark, we set up shop and had the van ready for sleeping in no time.
The morning came a little early. We woke to the sound of waves and a bright sun shining on the van. While the hubby took the little one to the beach, I organized the van and had a glorious morning coffee out of my favorite silipint. (NOTE: we love these glasses. Its great for cold beer and does NOT get hot with hot coffee! Stay tuned for Adventure Family In Motion Sili-Pints coming soon!)
We strolled the beach and collected seashells, enjoyed the morning breeze and then set out for a quick ride around camp. Come to find out that Thanksgiving is a big camping holiday in the south. We thought a round of disc golf was in order but we don’t own discs so we were going to rent them…but the place was closed. The next option, pack up and head east!
We explored historic Pensacola on bike! Neat area with a quaint main street that offered a overabundance of restaurants, bars, and shops. The street ends at the water where many marinas house huge yachts. We let the toddler do her thing while we enjoyed the beautiful day. The pigeons were out in masses and would crowd around all the kids looking for a handout.
We had lunch at an awesome build-your-own burger joint that features spiked milkshakes and craft beer called the Tin Cow! (Just what the mommy needed!)
After lunch it was time to head to Pensacola Beach (over a mile long bridge). It was time for some beach roaming. The little princess LOVES the beach and would spend all day there if she could. The weather was in the low 60s with a brisk wind, but that didn’t stop her! She was elbows deep in the Gulf of Mexico! We spent an hour running in the water, collecting seashells and burying her feet in the sand. When she finally walked back to the van she was a little sugar cookie.
On the west end of the island is Fort Pickens Gulf Island National Seashore. Fort Pickens is the largest of four forts built to defend Pensacola Bay, Florida. Ten concrete gun batteries were built between 1890 and 1940s, each in a response to a particular threat. Now open to the public, visitors can explore the fort at their leisure. Most areas in the fort are open to wander.
We drove around the camp ground at Fort Pickens and found a great spot near the restrooms & bike path with plenty of shade! It was also essential not to have a clear view of the beach, since I am certain we would have lost the little one to her own beach roaming.
With the evenings coming quicker and quicker lately, we had a campfire up and going in no time. Hotdogs and smores’ while curled up next to a fire pit is ideal camping and a perfect Thanksgiving eve!
The next morning was good ol’ Thanksgiving Day! The weather was great and we all slept till 8! First thing was first…a bike ride! We took the bike path to the Fort and explored the old bunkers.
By the time we retired to camp it was time to clean up and move out. A few laps around running camp with the toddler is always essential; one parent preps the van for departure the other runs laps around the camp ground wearing out the toddler.
Our Thanksgiving feast was a beautiful brunch at Jimmy Buffets hotel Margaritaville. A beautiful buffet spread of two types of cooked turkey, lamb and roast beef along with 2 types of dressing and a plethora of desserts!
With full bellies and grateful hearts we loaded up in the Adventure Van and headed home.
We have ARRIVED! We are now two southern bells and a cowboy (at least for a year)! We have been absent from the blog for a short while due to moving to a new state. That’s right, we packed up and moved from Virginia to Alabama in a quick 20 days! Its been a whirlwind of boxes, brown paper and goodwill donations.
Donald’s work gave us a VERY short notice to pack up and move to a new location. So we complied. Isn’t that what everyone would do? (LOL). We sent him down here 2 weeks after we received notice. I stayed behind with the little lady and waited for the movers.
Last Friday I started the 12-hour trek south on hwy 95. We made a quick stop in Raleigh, NC to visit a long time friend I hadn’t seen in nearly 10 years! It was a night of laughs, wine, and kids playing “batman cave” till way past their bedtime!
Day two of the drive was the part that made me nervous. 9 hours in the car with a 2 year old and no one to help me. But to my surprise she did AMAZING! We had no wet pants, no breakdowns and no fights getting back in her car seat! It was so AWESOME!
We drove to the new, yet temporary, home we will be in for a mere 9 months. Then where…who knows! But we love the adventures!
I was recently perusing an article on my Google Alerts titled Disconnect to Reconnect, featured in the Chicago Tribune. The gist of the article: put down your technology and reconnect with those around you. PERFECT! This is something our family struggles with from time to time, especially during the work week. Its hard to disconnect with your online world.
We have all fallen victim to this ratrace of constantly checking our smartphones, blackberrys, and tablets to see who has posted on Facebook, who is tweeting, and if you have any new emails, that are probably junk anyways. But we can’t seem to put these devices down!
Following the same pattern as the Disconnect to Reconnect article, here are a few ideas of how to reconnect with the living, breathing, people in front of us and not the electronic world we always have our noses buried in.
Take a Hike or a Walk:
Just because there may not be a State Park in your backyard doesn’t mean you can’t take the family out for some fresh air after dinner and just walk. Be a trouist in your own neighborhood. Enjoy the landscape, the fresh cut grass, the local playground.
Visit the Pool:
Most cities have a local pool. Since its summer and HOT outside, stop by the pool and take a dip! The kids will love it and you will win brownie points just by making suggesting!
Does riding a bike make you feel like a kid again? Then go be a juvenile! You don’t need a high end, big dollar, two wheel contraption to enjoy a bike ride. Check your local newspaper or craiglist for a used bike. Better yet, get a tandem so you can ride together!
If you are just starting out in the cycling world, craiglist is the best place to start! You won’t spend a ton but will get a better bike then the local pawn shop will have. Plus it gives you a chance to try it out! You can always resell the bike if its not for you. That way you are not spending an arm and leg to get a bike then decide its not for you. Remember you can always upgrade if you fall in love with the sport!
Take a Drive:
No one ever takes “Sunday Drives” anymore. When I was growing up we used to drive out to the country and just look at houses. It was relaxing, the windows were down, you could smell the fresh air, there were no handheld devices to distract us. Take a drive out of town. Somewhere you can drive slow, and day dream about the houses you pass. You can even stay in your own town and drive up and down streets you are normally too busy to drive down.
When our little one was brand new she would fall asleep in the car all the time. But I was too nervous she would wake-up if I stopped driving, so I drove ALL OVER TOWN. You wouldn’t believe the houses and roads I saw just by driving a sleeping baby around for an hour!
We hope these simple suggestions help fuel your non-technology evening. Do you find this an issue in your house? How did you change it? What guidelines have you set for your family and the use of technology? Share with us your ideas in the comments below!
With only another small mile ride ahead of us to Kitty Hawk we decided to jump on our bikes for the 12 mile ride. Before we left Nags Head we backtracked a mile to Sam & Omies for breakfast! Our first real breakfast fuel on the trip!
We figured out a great way to get the little one in her Yepp Seat as easy as possible. She loves the seat but she loves to play more! So when its time to load her up we tell her we are going to look for School Buses. She eagerly runs to her seat and says “Hurry Daddy Hurry!” … works every time!
Once she is in her seat she asks each of us if we are “ready”.
“Are you READY daddy?” — “Are you READY mama?” — “READY! Lets go!
Our ride to Kitty Hawk was slow. We had a western wind so it slowed us up a little. We were on sleepy old Hwy 12 with limited traffic but a lot of vacation rentals. We were planning on stopping at a brewery in Kitty Hawk near mile marker 8 (everyone uses mile markers there). But somehow we over shot it and missed it all together.
We stopped into a bike shop and then spent a little more time at the beach. We saw the National Park for the Wright Brothers and road in! We have a National Parks pass and were able to get in for free. We only stopped for the restrooms and didn’t do much sight seeing. The monument sits on top of a tall grassy noel with a hike to the top. Working on a few pair of tired legs we chose not to make the hike.
After the exploration of the museum, we headed back down Hwy 12 in search of a cute place to stay for our last night. We found one that said vacant and rode in. But no one was there. I called the number left on the door and no one answered. So we rode on. We got to the end of the road where hwy 12 meets hwy 158. We found a very nice and very expensive Hilton Garden Hotel. They had a room for us with 1 king size bed. up until this point we had been able to put the little angel in her own room or bed or crib of some sort. So a 1 room arrangement wasn’t really up our alley. At the same time the motel we stopped at earlier returned my call! They had a few rooms we could choose from. So we made the 2 mile ride back into the wind.
The Beach Haven Motel is a very cute and quiet place! Completely remodeled, they accommodations were excellent! It was close to nap time for the toddler so we tried to put her down in the second room for a short nap. FAIL. She was too excited to play on the beach!
So we walked on the beach! We took her sand tools and walked about a mile up and turned around. We ran across a star fish, lots of shells, and she spend a lot of time watching a group of kids boogey boarding.
We opted for dinner at a sports bar and grille across hwy 158. A simple dinner of seafood and steak rounded the day out nicely!
Our last day of our Outer Banks by Bike tour was here. A 53 mile ride from Kitty Hawk to Elizabeth city on the following day and we had finished the trip. We started around 8am and were ready to hit the road. We stopped at Duck Donuts which was across from the Hilton Garden Hotel we stopped at the day before. This was the neatest donut place we had ever seen. They literally make the donuts in front of you and then you pick how you wanted it frosted! We got half a dozen, a coffee and a small milk for the little lady. We downed ALL OF THEM with no help from the 2 year old.
Once back on our bikes about 5 miles into the ride we encountered some road construction which resulted in 1 of the 2 bridges being closed. We were expecting to have a large shoulder on a 2 lane, one direction bridge. We road as far down the closed bridge as we could until we met up with some construction workers who told us that they were paving large sections of the bridge and we couldn’t cross.
Then we road the .5 mile back to the entrance and proceeded to jump into traffic on the slim shoulder, 2 lane bridge. I had Donald ride in front and I took up the rear. That way the little angel was between us incase something happened. We waited for a nice break in traffic to start the 2 mile ride across the bridge, although the break didn’t last long. Most of the drivers were courteous and waited to pass us until the oncoming traffic was minimal. But we had a few who were in a hurry and didn’t care about our 3′ biker bubble. Needless to say we took a break on the other side and let our white knuckles return to their normal color before we proceeded.
Farmland again. We stopped at a farmers market and purchased a cantaloupe, a banana and some Gatorade. We let the little one run in the freshly mowed grass and she played with her dinosaur in the rock beds.
For lunch we stopped at Weeping Radish Butcher and Brewery. A very German feel to the place complete with goats in the front of the building! We got a flight of beers and some schnitzel for lunch.
Back on the road to Elizabeth City, we passed the site of the Grave Diggers “birth place” (for lack of better words). For approximately a 1/2 mile we passed museums, an off road track, a mini golf course, and a campsite.
With 15 miles left of our trip we stopped a park for the little one. It was brand new and she loved every bit of it!
Once we were back on the road we spotted a crop duster. It swooped back and forth across the road ahead of us. The little one LOVED it and would call for the “airplane” every time is crossed the road!
The last stretch of the ride was tiring. We were sore and ready to be done. We had some headwind. A few hills and a little rain. We were ready for it to end.
Looking back we had an amazing time. Every bit was great and our little girl had a wonderful time!
Day 1 of cycling started in Elizabeth City, NC. Our Outer Banks by Bike Tour was underway!
We headed out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk! When I had asked Siri for “walking” directions to Plymouth, NC she took us down HWY 17. This is a fairly busy road with 2 lanes of traffic each way and an center lane turning. It did not, however, have a shoulder. So we began our trip on the sidewalk!
With a few navigational turns through Elizabeth city, one dropped dinosaur and sunday traffic, we ran out of shoulder and the road slowed down. Two days before we departed for our trip, the city was hit with a storm causing significant damage to the city, homes and the road.
After about an hour into our trip Abigail fell asleep. In a Yepp seat, just like a typical car seat, kids sleep in the most awkward positions. So we stopped at an abandoned farmers market and parked our bikes next to a silo and propped her head up on it to help ease some of the stress on her. Crazy that she slept through the entire process!
After nap time we ventured back on to why 17. Nearly 5 miles up the road we ran into the Adventure Cycling Group as they were finishing their lunch. We exchanged greetings and told them we were on the same route. Abigail gave out high-5’s and we waved our good-byes. Little did we know this was the last place to have a good lunch before arriving in Plymouth.
Only a few short miles the lead tandem of the ACA was on our heels. They passed us right before the turn onto hwy 32. This is a nice, slow country road that had minimal traffic but a LOT of cross wide. We leap frogged the tandem and pulled off for a snack. Abigail played in the mud and we took in some Honey Stingers and a good amount of water. This also let the ACA group completely pass us so we weren’t holding them up.
Good thing we stopped to refuel our energy because little did we know we were in for a crazy bridge crossing. A 3 mile long bridge connects the north and south banks of the Albemarle Sound. We have been riding in a lush forested area and then all of a sudden the bridge was right in front of us. It was 2 lanes but had a HUGE shoulder. What slowed us down the most was the crosswind! The white caps on the water were huge. We never thought we were going to get across it. But we took our time and the minimal traffic was slow.
On the other side we were hoping for a good restaurant for lunch. Being on the sound you would think there would be a good seafood joint, no such luck. So we pass the ACA who had just crossed the bridge as well, and pulled over for a good rest and a snack. Abigail ran around wit her helmet on and played in the sand.
Once on our bikes we discovered we were now in farm country. We passed several fields with lush yellow flowers. They were beautiful and we still don’t know what they are! At the “T” in our route we stopped at a local convenience store and grabbed a sandwich, some water and salty chips! We talked to a few locals and took a photo of their Civic Center.
We weren’t far from Plymouth now! Abigail took another nap on the bike, and we listened to Cross Canadian Ragweed on the _________ speaker Donald has attached to his bike. He played tunes for us via his bluetooth when the trip was getting long, or tiring or just plan boring!
As soon as we turned onto Hwy 64 we were within 5 miles of “town”. What that consisted of we did not know. As soon as we turned onto 64 Abigail flung her Pacifier (she calls it a NaNA or Noy Noy). We couldn’t stop with the limited shoulder, and I had 2 more with us, so we kept on going.
The town was performing civil war reenactments that day so the place we busier then we expected. We saw a billboard for a Holiday Inn Express and decided to stay there. Good thing because there was NOTHING else in town! After we unpacked we thought we would go into the Historic Downtown and grab a bite to eat and enjoy a nice beer. But the town was dismal at best. Nothing was open, there were no watering holes or restaurants to grab dinner at. We headed back to the hotel and stopped at the local playground so Abigail could play!
When we got to our room we decided to order a pizza. We had noticed a Pizza Hut and a Mama’s Pizza on the way in. Surely they would bring us a hot pizza pie. No such luck. Pizza Hut didn’t deliver and Mama’s was CLOSED. Next best thing… BoJangles! It was in the parking lot of the hotel and within walking distance. Donald took the hike over and grabbed us a massive family size dinner, complete with souther sweet tea!
We put Abigail to bed in the crib provided by the hotel. When we stay in hotels, I set her crib up in the bathroom. That way we don’t have to go to bed at 7pm. We finished the night out with some Forensic Files.
Our Outer Banks by bike tour around the North Carolina’s Outer Banks was phenomenal! We followed Adventure Cycling Associations maps for the Atlantic Coast and biked the 255 mile loop starting and ending in Elizabeth City, NC.
The ACA offers a great guided tour of the exact route we took, and they just so happened to start the SAME day we did! Since we had a toddler with us, we chose early on in our trip planning not to use a guided service incase we had an unruly toddler with us (which can happen at any given time) and we didn’t want to hold any one up OR ruin anyones experience by dealing with a child’s sudden outburst. (Just to make it clean, Abigail was a DREAM on this trip…but you know Murphy’s law and I am SURE if we had booked the trip with the ACA she would have acted up. Its what toddlers do.)
Lets back up a day or two… We started our vacation with a workout at our Crossfit Box called The Manion. It is a Hero WOD (Workout of the Day) honoring First Lieutenant Travis Manion. The workout consisted of 7 rounds of a 400 meter run, and 29 back squats. The workout took nearly 40 minutes to complete and 203 squats and a 1.75 mile run. Needless to say our legs were toast for our 255 mile bike trip.
We drove 4 hours to the rest area in Dismal Swamp State Park. We crashed out in the Adventure Van for the night. At this point we were 20 miles from Elizabeth City.
The next morning started pretty early and full of excitement. We packed up the van and headed south to town. We were expecting to find a local diner of sorts for a big hardy breakfast, but we only found a ghost town with a small coffee shop. After asking a few locals where to get some good food, we were told that nothing, except fast food, was open in town on a Sunday before noon. So we settled for a few coffees and some coffee cake from Muddy Waters Coffeehouse . Not quite the hardy breakfast one needs before a 53 mile ride. Little did we know this would become a common issue for us all week.
While sipping hot coffee we unloaded the bikes and clipped on our panniers. The maps we bought from ACA didn’t have the exact route from Elizabeth City to Plymouth. So I got out my iPhone and told siri to get me to Plymouth via the walking route. Sure enough it was as easy as pie!
Check out our video of Day 1. Make sure to sot back and read ALL the chapters in our incredible trip!