We took our first family road trip yesterday...and it was a marathon.
My dad lives down in Houston. Even since October 2007 Kelli and I have flown down to see him. Natali has always flown down to see him.
Most of the time we fly up and down the same day. We have stayed the night at least once.
Yesterday some friends of ours were having a birthday party for their 3 year old. They just moved to Houston from the Dallas area.
We discussed the benefits of driving vs flying. Complicating things was the fact that I had to work tonight. If we stayed the night in Houston it would be a very long day for me traveling and then working later.
The last flight back to Dallas on Saturday nights leaves at 6PM. The party started at 3PM. Not a lot of time to enjoy the party. Flying wasn't an option.
I gassed up the car Friday night. At 5:01 AM I picked Natali up out of bed, changed her diaper and put her straight into her car seat. We backed out of the driveway at 5:04AM.
We thought for sure she would sleep....nope.
Long 4 hour and 30 minute drive. Non-stop. My 2004 Prius average 47.8 MPG while driving 75 MPH (the speed limit on most of I-45). If I had gone 65 MPH I would have easily cleared 50 MPG.
Early lunch with my dad. Natali had a ton of built up energy after having being strapped in for almost 5 hours.
We left his house just after noon with the intention of driving around so Natali would nap. It kinda worked.
Natali napped for just over an hour.
At the birthday party Natali was her normal self....being super shy. It took her about 30 minutes to warm up to the people at the party.
Our friends hosting the party, Chris and Wendy, are on the shorter side, thus their son is on the shorter side. Natali is a good 3-4 inches taller than the birthday boy, Liam. Another toddler there is 2 1/2 years old and is a good 5-6 inches taller than Natali. Kinda odd seeing the oldest kid in the room being the shortest.
After Natali warmed up she had a good time.
Wendy is very detail oriented and had lots of activities for the kids. In addition to having lots of toys around they all painted boxes, made their own magnetic picture frames and of course she had cupcakes in addition to birthday cake.
We left the party at 6PM. Natali watched Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on her Ipad for most of the ride home. We thought she would fall asleep. Nah. Not until we turned the Ipad off did she finally doze off. We did get 49.5 MPG on the return trip. I attribute the high MPG due to less AC usage (the Prius uses an all electric air conditioning system) and more highway driving vs stop and go driving.