M. Giant's
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005  

On the Road Again

Today was M. Tiny's six-month birthday. He came into our lives with a scant three weeks' notice. It took us some time, but after a period of panicked cluelessness, we got things under control. We have a routine. Trash has organized the nursery brilliantly so that we (or at least she) know where any given item is at any given time. We're able to get all three of us ready for the day in less than an hour, barring any major scatological or alimentary disasters after one or more of us is dressed. He's sleeping through the night, and has been for months. We're getting really good at this.

Naturally, we just can't wait to disrupt the hell out of it.

Now that weather and good health have conspired to finally allow us to take M. Tiny out of the house on an almost daily basis, we've been seized by the urge to take the Poopsmith out on the open road.

It's been almost a year since our last real vacation. Trash and I have a standard vacation procedure: we road-trip. Even when we fly somewhere, we road-trip somewhere else after we arrive. Last year we flew to Los Angeles and road-tripped to San Francisco. We flew to Seattle and road-tripped to Portland. We flew to Albuquerque and road-tripped from Socorro to Roswell to Santa Fe. We flew to London and railroad-tripped to Edinburgh. We flew to Atlanta and road-tripped to Athens and Savannah. We would have road-tripped from New Orleans, but we got bored halfway across Lake Ponchartrain and turned around.

We miss doing that, and we're looking forward to the next trip. Sure, we're going to New York in June, but as arduous as the journey from the Upper West Side to Midtown can be, nobody is going to mistake the C train for the open road. Okay, not nobody, but nobody who doesn't have a seat all to himself at rush hour.

If we were smart, we'd wait until M. Tiny is at least a year old before we attempt something like this. Those of you who've been reading for the past three years know by now that we are not smart.

It's not like M. Tiny is a complete road-trip virgin. We did drive down to Iowa a couple of months ago, and he did brilliantly. He slept in his car seat the whole way down and the whole way back. No complaints whatsoever. From him, either.

So where are we going to drive to? When planning vacations, we like to go places we've never been. The past couple of years, Trash and I have repeatedly planned and then postponed an ambitious circumnavigation of Lake Michigan. Hit Door County, the UP, visit friends, maybe even take a ferry. We've never done that before.

And we're not going to do that now. That would constitute too many long days of driving--days he'd spend crashed out in his car seat, so he'd be full of energy and noise all night long. So we'll probably do something less demanding. Like the Black Hills.

It's about a nine-hour drive to Rapid City, South Dakota. We'd do it in two days, taking our time, not rushing feedings and changes along the way. Going at a leisurely pace, which we never do. We'd stay in a hotel, rather than camping at Custer National Park like we have before. I don't think M. Tiny would react well to us hanging him up at night so the bears don't get him.

I think I know why we've chosen this as our destination, after hardly discussing it at all. It's not just because it's accessible. It's not just because it's cheap. It's not just because there's plenty to do once we get there.

I think it's also because it's the first real road trip Trash and I ever took. The year after we got married, we took a week off, rented a car, and headed west from our Downtown apartment, resolved to go as far as we could before it was time to turn around and come back. We spent Wednesday night in Butte, Montana, having seen Wall Drug, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil's Tower, Sturgis, and Sundance, Wyoming (although we couldn't for the life of us figure out where they showed all those movies) for the first time. And then we drove home.

As you've already seen above, we've had plenty of road trips since then, but we'll always remember that first one. Two 22-year-old kids in the Mountain Time Zone for the first time in their lives, their first adventure together.

We want M. Tiny to be a part of that. Our wanderlust is part of who we are, and it always has been. First as a couple, and now as a family.

Besides, the kid has to get some kind of sense of what he's getting into sooner or later.

Today's best search phrase: For those who have just joined us in the past two years and aren't clear on what this is, what happens is that someone somewhere in the world enters a goofy phrase into a search engine. If my site comes up, and they click on it, my referral stats show what that phrase was. And then I post it at the end of an entry and make a wise-ass comment about it. Unless, like today, that phrase is "'hyper-blue hair,'" in which case I got nothing.

posted by M. Giant 9:58 PM 16 comments


For our first anniversary, my husband and I did a road trip through Northern California, Oregon, and Nevada. We took along the top of our wedding cake, which (at my mother's insistence) had survived a cross-country flight and a year in our freezer. The trip led to the beginning of something that seems to have become a required part of our vacations ever since: finding a small town somewhere along the way that I feel compelled to declare I want to retire in. The first was Mendocino.

We've road-tripped since, but that one will always have a place in my heart.

By Blogger Sue, at April 13, 2005 at 4:26 AM  

i've made the trek from N. Idaho to W. Pennsylvania (and back) about 5 times now, and no matter how fast I drive, I can't seem to get through South Dakota in any less than a day and a half. Logically, I should be able to blow right through it. No hills. No curves. But I can't. Every time I end up pulling out the map to see how far it will be before Rapid City and realize it's only 5 miles closer than the last time I checked.

Heh, and the first time I drove past Sundance, I stopped to see if I could find the movie theatres ... this is the first time I've admitted that.

By Blogger Cap'n Ganch, at April 13, 2005 at 4:53 AM  

Dang, dude, your posts are getting funnier as well as more lyrical and sweet. I know I don't have to tell anyone here that the ability to road-trip together is a key attribute for a really excellent relationship. Good thing M.Tiny shares that quality - it would be a pity if he was not a road-tripper; you might be tempted to leave him at ground level, swathed in pastrami.

Hey, maybe he'll want to come out and see the New England foliage, a few weeks before or after his birthday?

By Blogger Febrifuge, at April 13, 2005 at 7:49 AM  

This, too, is the way that my wife and I vacation. We totally get the need to just drive. Sometimes we fly somewhere and rent a car. Other times, we just decide that driving to Seattle from our home in Connecticut is the way to go (hey, my state job may not pay well, but I get three weeks of vacation time and I'm gonna use it). Of course, we don't have kids, so, "You're a better man than I am, (M.) Gunga Din."

Oh, and if in Sioux Falls for breakfast, may I recommend Bob's?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 13, 2005 at 7:56 AM  

Ooops. That's Bob's

(Of course, Roadfood.com is a great site to visit for trip planning, even if you think Bob's looks like a place where angry old men gather to eat and complain and moan about the government. Which it is. But the food is great.)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 13, 2005 at 8:06 AM  

My parents lived in Texas when I was born, I recently found photos of a three day camping trip that they took me on when I was three months old. When asked why they did it, they said "Well we weren't going to let you ruin our vacation, we were about to move again and we didn't think we would make it back anytime". They also took me to Mexico several times in those first three months of life. Anyhoo, I say do it the rugged style, I'm not that screwed up.

By Anonymous Kaitlin, at April 13, 2005 at 8:55 AM  

My husband and I had some great road trips as a dating couple, then early married life was one big blur of driving, I think! The panic set in when babyboy #1 was six months old, and it was time for the TX to Birmingham jaunt. No worries, great trip all around. Travelling with kiddoes has become even more fun as time goes on - tell Trash to call me when she's ready to take M. Tiny away for a week, just the two of them. A Mommy and a 4-yr-old at the beach for a week is nirvana.

By Anonymous riley605, at April 13, 2005 at 9:33 AM  

M. Tiny is a good age for traveling. Once they're mobile, all hell breaks loose. Enjoy the slug stage now, for it will not last long.

P.S. You do know that the Lake Ponchatrain Bridge is the longest bridge in the world, right? There's a great Dash Riprock song about it you should hear.

By Anonymous Elle, at April 13, 2005 at 10:15 AM  

Thanks for the "search phrase" explanation! I feel like a much more well-rounded Velcrometer reader.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 13, 2005 at 10:50 AM  

I have to say, I fall more in love with the M. Giant family every day. I want to go on the road trip, too!

Maybe you could start an annual Velcrometer Vacation, where we could all follow behind you (at a distance, of course) and observe. That way we would be with you, but not with you, on vacation.

Or is that crossing the line to obsession?

By Anonymous Chris, at April 13, 2005 at 11:07 AM  

What, you mean you don't have access to the webcam in the corner of the Giant-Trash family window, in the bushes?

...Perhaps I have said too much about my wireless network. "I'm the bird! I'm the crazy bird!"

By Blogger Febrifuge, at April 13, 2005 at 11:54 AM  

Also, I was naked. There were a variety of charges.

By Anonymous Trash, at April 13, 2005 at 11:58 AM  

For that long drive across our great (boring) state, it can be helpful to know that you can stop for gas or potty about once per hour. Sioux Falls, Mitchell, Chamberlain, Murdo, Wall, and Rapid. Keep a fairly steady 70-80 mph and you'll know you're never far from a diaper change and some truly hideous roadside attractions.

Corn Palace, anyone?

By Anonymous A South Dakotan, at April 14, 2005 at 1:12 AM  

I think you should write a book of your search phrases. What ARE those people thinking? And I love your responses. I would read that book.

By Anonymous Angie, at April 14, 2005 at 1:58 PM  

Umm, M. Giant...? The Sundance Film Festival (I'm guessing this is what you were referring to above) is held in Park City, Utah, not Sundance, Wyoming. Robert Redford named it in honor of his character in "Butch Cassidy".

...that is all.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 20, 2005 at 8:56 AM  

Well, sure, we know that now.

By Blogger M. Giant, at April 23, 2005 at 9:40 PM  

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