Traveling to Nevada with 2 kids.

I'm writing a post about the Select Sires AI project at Ellison Ranching for later this week, but today I thought I'd post about the travel down & back.

We broke up the trip down there into two parts, and left Thursday night with the goal of getting to Jordan Valley.  Clint drove his work pickup separately to JV since he isn't coming home until later this week, and then he rode with us from JV to Nevada.  He'll come home with Morgan, where they will head to Paulina to pull CIDRs on another set of cattle for a June AI date, before he heads home.

Thursday night we grabbed dinner at McDonald's in Mission, and I picked up a 1/2 gallon of milk to put in the cooler for bottles.  Chandler spied popcorn while we were checking out, and so we ended up with a bag of that which kept him busy for a solid hour while I was driving.


We pulled into Jordan Valley about midnight (1:00 am their time), unpacked the kids, set up the pack & play and fell asleep hard.  The boys gave us a gift, and didn't wake up until 7:00 am MST the next morning.  Kim was already up and had made muffins, and since we didn't need to leave right away, we took it slow and let the boys play.


It's always fun laying over at the Johnsrud's - our boys have the best time playing with their kids and toys!  It's also nice to let the boys play and move for awhile, before they have to be stuck in car seats for a 5 hour drive.


The boys slept most of the way from Jordan Valley to Winnemucca, which was nice because it's a pretty open drive and takes a few hours.  We followed Clint & Morgan and only stopped once to open the barn doors on the AI barn (so it wouldn't bounce at 70 mph) and made really good time.

Clint & Morgan peeled off at Paradise Valley to take the AI barn to another project they are at today, and I kept going to Winnemucca with the boys.  They woke up on the outskirts of town, and we stopped at the McDonald's to play and eat a late lunch.  You'll find that we eat McDonald's on the road a lot - and I have zero shame.  The thing is, when you travel with kids by yourself consistency is a good thing.  I know my kids will always eat a cheeseburger, yogurt and fries.  I know there will be child friendly bathrooms.  No one wants to travel with hangry kiddos. A lot of McDonald's still have Playlands (indoor playgrounds) and the McD's in Winnemucca has the best Playland I've been too....and I've been to a few.  ;)

Because we had another 2 hours of driving in front of us, I took some time to let the boys eat & play.  It ended up working out perfect - by the time they were done, Clint & Morgan had made it to Winnemucca, fueled up and ran errands and we were able to meet up and caravan to the ranch.

Travel tip: I didn't need my jogging stroller this weekend, but I did pack a little $10 umbrella stroller.  It comes in really handy when I'm traveling with the boys by myself; especially when I need to stop to use the restroom.  I could lug Cal in his car seat; but that gets heavy and the stroller also gives me a place to hang my purse.  Chandler likes pushing it too; and that's an added bonus because it keeps him occupied and near me while we're crossing parking lots, etc.

I'll post more pictures of the AI project later this week; today I'm just posting pictures from my cell phone with the boys in them, but it was a really fun weekend.  The boys both did great, and were troopers.  Sure - we had melt downs and they got tired.  But when they did, I loaded them up in the van and we took a 15-30 min drive.  That gave them time to "rest" which my kids really need, Chandler especially.  Chan is really busy, and thrives in a situation where he can GO.  But he gets tired, and doesn't realize it and needs a mental trigger to slow his body and his brain down.  Going for a car ride where his body is asked to be still in his car seat, and his mind can zone out watching a movie is a trigger for him to relax; and usually after 15-30 minutes I have a refreshed toddler who can now behave, and a baby who's asleep.  It's taken a while for me to realize this; and some may judge me - but it's really a good thing for me to know and so I thought I'd put it out there in case it may help you with your kids.

I am still so thankful that we bought the van last year - it makes traveling easy!!!

The AI project didn't wrap up until Tuesday morning, but I need to be at work Monday so we cooked lunch on Sunday, I prepped a few things for meals for the rest of the week (my job this weekend was cooking) and the boys & I loaded up and headed for home about 1:30 pm.  I did that purposefully; the boys normally nap then and they slept all the way from the ranch to Winnemucca.

In Winnemucca we stopped at the same McDonald's and took 45 min to fill up the kids and let them play.  When you have a 8 hour drive in front of you, 45 min may seem like a long time to stop....but it's also a lot to ask a kid to be strapped in to a car seat and remain happy for that long of a time, so I purposefully add in long breaks like that where they can be free and playing.  It makes (and made) the rest of the trip so much easier.

We stopped a few times to change diapers and pick up toys that Cal had dropped out of reach; but were able to drive from Winnemucca, NV to Ontario, OR before we stopped again. 

Travel tip: I stock pile 5-10 toys for Cal in the middle of the van, right behind the console where it's easy for me to reach.  I hand him one at a time, and when he drops one I can't reach, I have a pile ready to hand back.  Chandler stays pretty occupied watching a movie, but Cal is still rear facing so he needs more to keep him busy.  I also keep extra blankets in between the car seats, and snacks (like mini Ritz crackers, mini Oreos, and water bottles to fill cups with) and extra binks up front so I can dole those out too while I'm driving without having to stop.

We grabbed dinner in Ontario at Panda Express.  It was close to 9:00 pm, and Chandler was more interested in dancing to the teen-bopper music they were playing, than eating but that's ok.  It was convenient, so we swung through Dutch Bros to pick up a warm cup of milk (Chandler will rarely drink cold milk) for a bottle, I had filled up Cal's bottle with hot water to mix with formula at dinner, and we headed for home.  Cal was asleep as soon as we left Ontario, and Chandler passed out right before we hit Baker.  I rolled into the driveway at midnight, and unloaded everyone and everything before hitting the sack at 12:30.

Traveling with kids by yourself takes a little preplanning - but it doesn't have to be terrible!  Being stocked with snacks, a cooler of drinks (for you and the kids) and extras like blankets, toys, binks is key.  Also, just KNOW that it will take more time than MapQuest tells you - and it can be fun!

What travel tips do you have?


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