Road trip produces profundities

Fourteen hours in a car with 5 kids under 10. What’s there to learn (besides the obvious “Don’t do this again!!”)? Plenty.

1. Your neighbor will offend you.

My neighbor said my packed vehicle looked a little like Clark Griswold’s of Vacation movie fame. I was offended. The nerve of him. My vehicle looked A LOT like Clark Griswold’s!

2. Your 3-year-old will know if you deposit anything sweet into your mouth.

He was on the back row next to the window watching a video. How could he have possibly seen, much less identified, my subtle nose scratch that may or may not have included the placement of candy into my mouth? “I want some M&M’s!” Me, too. Me, too. Me, too. Me, too.

3. There are many nice cars on the road these days. You’re not driving one of them.

4. There are clean restrooms out there. You will not find them.

5. Your children don’t know their landforms.

As we drove through rural Louisiana, I asked my oldest son what type of land we were traveling through. I expected “swamp” or “bayou” or “marsh.” Instead he guessed, “Redneck?” Thank you, Duck Dynasty.

6. Mothers of boys are quite poetic.

As we loaded back up from a stop, my wife invited her four sons to “speak now or forever hold your pee.”

7. Brothers will go to extreme measures to annoy their siblings.

“Mo-om! Cooper won’t wipe his boogers!”

8. Finally, your wife will ridicule your attempts to equip your vehicle with modern entertainment technology.

Too cheap to pay $1,000 for a professionally-installed DVD player, I forked over $200 at BestBuy for a couple of 7-inch Velcro-strapped video screens, a cigarette lighter power inverter and an 8 foot extension cord. (The extension cord because I’m too cheap to fix the cigarette lighter on the front dash – only the one in the back works.)

By 11:00 p.m. on the eve of our trip, I may have had cords criss-crossing the vehicle, but I had DVD players that worked. I even had the audio piped through the vehicle speakers. (Well, just the speakers on the left side; the right side quit about a year ago.)

Full of pride, I invited my better half to see the masterpiece – the promise of a peaceful car ride.

“It looks like a rolling Radio Shack. Someone could get hung in there.”

That’s it. Back to books and “I spy” and old-fashioned imagination. Chevy Caprice station wagon-style with rear-facing back seats and all!

The curse of the modern in-car video system is that it raises the expectation that the long-distance car ride will be easier than it used to be. It’s not. It’s still a long hard slog through bayous and brothers and boogers. Ahhh, the stuff of memories, the filling of life.


Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. Follow him at www.


7 Responses to “Road trip produces profundities”

  1. 1 Greg Jones July 18, 2013 at 23:06

    Lol! Great column. Miss you. Hope all is well.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. 2 Grant Rampy July 19, 2013 at 00:07

    Bayous and brothers and boogers. Now there’s a road trip I’m sorry I missed!


    Grant Rampy | Director of Public Relations* Abilene Christian University | University Marketing 218 Zellner Hall | ACU Box 29010 | Abilene, TX 79699 (ofc) 325.674.2692 | (cell) 325.660.8690

    *Read and seemore about ACU *

    *Watch our Wildcat Video Minute * *for July*


  3. 3 Susan Allen July 19, 2013 at 08:22

    Love it!!!

    Susan (Susie) Allen

    Texas Heritage Bank

    1208 S. Main

    Boerne, Texas 78006

    830-815-1043 (metro)


    830-249-3988 (fax)

    Offices in Cross Plains, Boerne and Leon Springs to serve you!!!

  4. 4 Tunisia Singleton July 19, 2013 at 09:41

    I’ve been on that station wagon trip, summer of 1968, with my 3 younger brothers and 1 sister, don’t forget the dog. My poor parents, it was great, I’ll never forget it! As the mom of boys, grown now, there have been NO surprises thanks to my brothers 🙂

  5. 5 jessestroup July 19, 2013 at 10:01

    Kevin,  So true, so well put!  AND I did enjoy the laughs.  Thanks. Jesse

    Jesse R. Stroup Director of Spiritual Care Lifeline Chaplaincy 2777 Stemmons Freeway, Ste. 1020 Dallas, TX 75207 214-678-0303


  6. 6 Barbara Maufas July 27, 2013 at 09:18

    Summertime ‘family vacation’ road trips!!! Thanks for the memories!!

  7. 7 suzy July 27, 2013 at 10:59

    terrific blog, we travel a lot and yes the radio shack comment is correct!! I am also too cheap now after having the pro installed DVD that forced me to listen to endless hours of the same disney movie the youngest insisted via screaming tantrum that won over all the older kids could argue! Yup Clark Griswald has it right!

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