When Did I Become Such a Road Trip Wuss?

Road Trip Highway

Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When you are raised in a rural state, driving long distances doesn’t faze you.  It’s a given.  And once you reach the age where you are trusted to leave home for the weekend, then the road trip adventures really begin.

For a good portion of my life, I was a road trip warrior.  I lived smack dab in the middle of South Dakota.  We were perfectly willing to drive 3 hours one way to go to a Fair, to go snow or water skiing, or just to visit someone.  And then back again, on the same day.  No problem.

The possibilities of where we could drive in one day’s time were exciting.  (Well, maybe “exciting” is a strong word.  It was the Midwest, after all.)   I felt no reservations whatsoever when making road trip plans.  Hey, let’s go wherever we want!  We can drive there!

Granted, this was a time back when gas prices were a non-issue.  And before a thrown-from-a-horse injury left me with permanent hip pain.  But let’s face it.  At my age, horse injury or no… my body would very likely still ache after too much time spent in the car nowadays.

Add in the daunting tasks of feeding, watering, entertaining, and stopping for potty breaks for your multiple children who now tag along for the ride – and you’ve got yourself some serious second thoughts before heading out in the car for that nice long road trip.

Currently I’m faced with a dilemma of wanting to visit my parents one last time, at their lovely and relaxing log house in the forest, before they move away (to here in Colorado).  Forever leaving my home state behind.  Last call.

But this would mean heading out with my 2 little ones by myself, since my husband and I’s work vacation schedules aren’t going to collide for this trip.  That journey averages us 13 hours.  And I keep wavering between Go for it!, and *Heavy sigh*  Sooo not gonna happen.

Truth be told, one of my concerns for that scenario is safety.   My years of road trips were not without a few perils and their own brand of excitement, including car breakdowns in poor weather, and multiple flat tire incidents.

True Story:   Single-girl road tripping alone across the South Dakota interstate, and my Ford Explorer gets a flat tire.  By this time, I knew how to change a flat tire by myself, but it was nice of some people who stopped to try and help, so I accepted the husband’s assistance.   Within minutes, he had crushed my running board, by the incorrect placement of the tire jack.

To add to the chaos, I’m trying to contain my energetic Siberian Husky on a leash, by keeping us in the relative safety of the ditch next to the road… which is somewhat tying my hands from trying to oversee the task/damage at hand.  As he struggles to loosen the lug nuts, the guy begins to rock in place.   (Yes I said the guy, not the car.)  And to chant incoherently.

I ain’t gonna lie, it was seriously creepy.    Plus he was getting no where with the job, other than causing disturbing body damage to my vehicle.

So here’s the rub.  He was able to get my FLAT tire off, but couldn’t get the vehicle (with improperly placed jack) high enough to get the inflated, spare tire on.  My rescue had seriously stalled out.

Mercifully, a third vehicle pulled over and held an intervention.   Driving a big rig work truck, a no-nonsense kinda man jumps out, well equipped to change my tire.  He took one look at our fiasco and just shook his head, like “What the heck is going on here?!”  Brushed my first “helper” aside, and wrapped the job up in under 3 minutes.  I was so relieved and grateful, I almost cried.

Oh, and the best part.  Once the whole unnerving scenario was finally concluded, Chanting Guys’ wife starts dancing around, leaping through the air and repeatedly shouting “Praise The Lord!!“.  Umm, yeah – what you said.   Praise the Lord that the 2nd guy stopped to help, since your husband was doing much more harm, than good.

Oh, I could tell you some stories.  This kind of thing used to happen to me on a semi-regular basis.  But I digress.

As you can see, I have a bit of road trip “baggage” – Ha.  Back to my hesitancy to tackle road trips in our present day…

It’s a shame, really.  Because I feel like it’s cast a shadow over some of our otherwise incredible destination options now that we are located closer to the Southwest part of the country.  We are only 9 hours from California.  NINE HOURS from DISNEYLAND, yo!  Have we gone?  No.

My husband’s never been to California in his life (East Coast boy).  California rocks.  I mean, I wouldn’t want to live there.  But it’s got fabulous vacation options.  And here we sit.  NOT road tripping to California.

So I ask myself in puzzlement and self-disappointment:  When did I become such a road trip wuss?

*o*     *o*     *o*

Do you struggle with being a road trip wuss, now that you’re all grown up?  (And what’s your vote… should I suck it up and drive with the kids to South Dakota by myself for one last visit?)


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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves travel, the outdoors, staying active, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World.


  1. Oh, you’ve got to go. Cell phones and road hazard coverage mean it’s pretty hard to get stranded. Plus, think of your kids! Would you deny [your daughter] the opportunity to tell people about the time she went to Grandma and Grandpa’s with just her mom and brother, and it took *all day* to get there, and she got to watch all three Toy Story movies and they still weren’t there….?

    • COMtnMom says:

      True. Although, remember that this particular road trip may be through a section of our country that is one of the few left with stretches of NO cell coverage. In the words of my daughter, “I HATE Wyoming. It never ends!!” 🙂

      • I can’t believe the cell coverage is that bad! Just looked at Verizon’s coverage map, and sure enough, almost no coverage along US 85. Wow. AT&T’s is almost as bad.

  2. I still don’t mind a road trip, but only as long as Laura is with me. I did a 14 hour road trip to Florida by myself once, about 15 years ago, but I don’t think I would do that again.

    • COMtnMom says:

      Aaaah yes, road trip companions can make all the difference! My Siberian Husky wasn’t too bad of a road trip buddy… we took many journeys together, and he’d always let me pick the music.

      **oosh** 14 hours sounds likka long day. Mickey Mouse, or some beloved family members, better be at that end of a trip like that. 🙂

  3. Way back before we had children, my wife and I would drive everywhere. After our first child, we discovered it didn’t make any sense to drive if we constantly had to stop because of the kids. Now that we have 4 kids, it just isn’t financially feasible to fly any more, so we have reluctantly started driving again. The kids are getting used to it. We’re getting used to it. We now aren’t afraid to drive up to 10 hours. But that 20 hour (non-stop) drive to Disney World is still something that I’m dreading. We can’t make the drive in one shot with the kids, and it doesn’t make sense to me to take 3 additional days off just to travel. (And no, I won’t take those 3 days out of my Disney World time, either.)

    • COMtnMom says:

      Ugh. I think I physically feel your pain! Gotta sit down and crunch those ugly numbers, when you start factoring in not only gas & motel money for the trip down… but as you said, your vacation days/time. We pretty much have to fly to Disney World, and next trip will be the first time we purchase 4 instead of 3 air tix. Can’t imagine 6!?

      Aaaaah, the sacrifices we Disney fans are willing to make! And I totally agree, reducing the WDW trip length is off the table for negotiations… 😉

    • COMtnMom says:

      Although with an incentive destination like Disney World… the trip DOWN may not be all that bad. It’s the trip home that would be a serious bummer, right?!

  4. I would say go for it. For me, the hardest part is just getting out the door. Of course I may be “singing a different tune” next week. We are leaving on a two week road trip next week with a 1 and 4 year old. Should be interesting.

    • COMtnMom says:

      Have a GREAT trip! Thanks to encouraging comments like yours… I think I am going to go for it. 🙂


  1. […] recently wrote about my trepidation to take on this trip alone with my 2 kids (in When Did I Become Such a Road Trip Wuss?).   But thanks in no small part to the encouragement received by you guys – I decided to […]

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