The Magical Road Trip… of Adventure!
Back in early June we subjected the kids to something we like to call The Magic Road Trip. I had been on a few by myself and last year I introduced the concept to my wife. They are the perfect way to take very little cash, a weekend afternoon, and, well, go get yourself lost. Originally, they had been introduced to me as a Magic Eight Ball Trip which goes as follows.
- Figure out how long you want to be gone.
- Take a Magic Eight Ball (Or as I like to call it The Magic Infinity Ball. It’s all in how you hold it, right?)
- Get in the car.
- Any and all questions you have concerning navigation must go through the Eight Ball. “Should we turn here?”, “Do we go another ten miles?”, “Do we get off the highway at the next exit?” All questions of logistics, gas, food, bathroom breaks should NOT be asked of the Infinity ball because of obvious consequences.
- Go adventure!
- At about halfway or 3/4 of the time you want to be gone, start thinking about heading back home.
- GPS devices, cell phones, or anything similar are not allowed except in the case of an emergency.
I’ve found that my trips always end up having a tint of magic in them. The trip with the kids was no exception. We only had one problem as we began planning the trip. No Infinity ball!!!
Luckily, I’m an old school gamer who always has some dice lying about the place if not on my person directly and I have a wife that thinks fast on her feet. We gathered everyone around the kitchen table after my wife made a quick chart on scrap paper. Each family member took a turn rolling the dice. We used 2 six sided die (Hint: Those are the ones you’ll find in your Monopoly game. ) This gave us a random direction (left, right, straight, North, East, South, and West) and we kept going till we had a little over 20 random directions listed. This was to be our navigation. For instance, rolling a 1-2 would be designated as “Straight”, 3-4 = “Left”, 5-6=”North”, etc… The dice were brought along for a back-up plan should the list fail us.
We dubbed the process the Magical Road Trip. After bathroom breaks and travellin’ clothes were donned, we jumped into our trusty car, Murphy. We stopped briefly at the grocery store to fill the cooler with water, ice, a few cans of soda, snacks, and sandwich supplies and then we were off. En route, we decided that the dice would be used to calculate how many miles we would go before following the first listed random direction. Then, they would be used afterward to tell us how far to go till the next direction change. All other questions would be handled with a die roll of one die. 1-3 = “yes”, 4-6= “no.”
I won’t bore you with details but the trip proved to be, of course, magical. It ended up lasting around 5 hours and took us on a large circle into the back roads of Southern Indiana even I’ve not been to yet. We stopped along the way to look for rocks, save turtles, to see the sights, to eat sandwiches. Part of the Magical Road Trip is not to just drive through it or by it but to get out and experience it. This is crucial to remember. We talked, we told stories, I got to give some brief history lessons, and we saw alot of corn. We also got REALLY lost.
But the final magical hooks can only happen sometimes when you get really lost!
Just at the point were neither my wife or I had any idea where we might be, we stumbled upon an old country highway which brought us with a few curves into the small little town of Story, Indiana home of The Story Inn. My wife had always wanted to come here and I had not been for a good ten years. Without knowing in advance, it was our final destination for the trip. We stopped and looked through the art store, the Inn, and grabbed a soda. Then, it was time to head back home which we calculated would take about another hour and get us home just in time for the oldest son’s meet-up with friends and dinner time. It was a perfect run.
All in all, with cost of gas and food for the trip, we only ended up spending around $40 for an afternoon of adventure, fun, and getting ourselves lost. We had quality time with our kids and made memories all for two $20 bills. Heck, we would have spent close to that on a night of fast food and a family movie at the cinema! The key to doing it with kids is to make it fun, make it an adventure. Turn up the music, tell jokes, get out of the car and explore if you get the chance. Stop for candy! If you run into trouble or if something goes wrong you have to have the right mindset because the kids will pick up on it. Simply yell, “Adventure!” and plug through it. They get the idea soon enough.
These trips can also be planned for a weekend but, of course, may need a bit more money to get you through. (You’ll want it for a hotel or campground stay and for those extra meals.) Just always plan to start heading back home at the halfway to 2/3 mark of your journey time. Also, if you’re real familiar with the area around your home, you can decide that you won’t start using the random directions (or Infinity Ball) for a set number miles away from your home. You can modify it anyway you want and the more the kids get to influence those modification, the more fun they will have along the way.
Just remember to randomly shout “Adventure!” as you roll along on your journey.
For instance, “All I see is corn.”
“Yes, but it’s ADVENTURE corn!!”
If done properly and with good timing, it never gets old.