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Traveling Cross-Country with a Newborn and a Dog

When United Van Lines pulled away with 99% of our personal belongings, we loaded up the CR-V and set sail for sunny Cincinnati. Read more for a few tips on how to make your life easier during the drive.

After about four or five trips from Chicago to Philly, we decided enough was enough! No more rest-stop food! Our second trip back to Chicago I grabbed a Cinnabon off the Ohio turnpike. A decision based purely on nostalgia. The extra icing…the hot cinnamon…I WILL NEVER EAT ANOTHER CINNABON FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE. Rest-stop food is seriously gross and seriously bad for you. We started packing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat or 12-grain along with 4-5 rubbermaid containers of mixed fruit we cut up ourselves. We filled up our water bottles and grabbed a few gallon jugs of spring water just in case. Not only did this save us money, but we didn’t feel like greasy death after each trip.

After house hunting in Cincinnati, we pointed our compass towards Philadelphia. This was our first long drive with the baby. An 8 hour drive turned into a 12 hour drive. We hit a torrential downpour in West Virginia and from that point on we stopped at pretty much every rest stop along the way. Here’s a few things that helped/would have helped us had we had the opportunity to do so.

Get your baby on a schedule. If you know when your baby is going to be hungry, nap, have a bowel movement, etc, you can plan your stops around that. Had the nature of our trip been more…leisurely…i.e. not picking up our life and moving it to another state, we would have worked to have the baby on a schedule. It would have saved us a few hours, without a doubt.

Pack ready made AND empty bottles + gallons of purified water. Use up your ready mades and then make the bottles as you go. Don’t feed your baby in the back! For God’s sake wo(man)! Use the rest stops! Pack a pacifier if your baby gets fussy, hopefully a rest stop is a few miles away. Which leads me to my next tip…

GET GAS BEFORE YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED IT! I was mentally preparing myself to walk 15 miles in the rain while my wife, newborn baby and dog wait on the highway for my return. Don’t force yourself into this frame of mind, it’s not a fun place! Get gas when you can. That’s all I’m going to say.

After 4 hours…

After 8 hours…

After 12 hours the poor guy had had enough!

Here’s a hilarious panorama Rach took in a starbucks parking lot after getting only 3 hours of sleep in the hotel and after driving 2 hours on the road!


One stay at home dad (to be) conquers DIY and Diapers

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