Unspoken Rules of Family Road Trip

  1. We will rent an Intermediate car, which has more trunk space than a Compact car, and is perhaps an inch or two wider, although this difference is negligible to the three kids in the back seat. 
  2. At the hotel, Eldest Child (girl) will share a bed with Mom, Middle Child (boy) will share a bed with Dad, and Youngest Child (boy) will sleep on the floor. Unless the beds are extremely uncomfortable, in which case, Eldest Child will request the floor, the boys pair up, and Mom and Dad get to sleep together, for once. 
  3. Because there are more people than towels, Mom or Eldest Child will go to the front desk to ask for a towel “for their hair.”
  4. At the continental breakfast, we will split into two groups and pretend not to know each other, as we did not inform the hotel that we have five people in a four-person room. 
  5. If the agenda is full, there may be no time for lunch. It is advisable to steal as much as possible from the continental breakfast for “Hungry Times.” Cargo pants are useful in this situation. 
  6. If there is time for lunch, it will be Taco Bell. The Taco Bell must be close to the exit, preferably visible from the highway. It cannot be a Taco Bell/KFC, as some of the clientele will be eating KFC, and this is unacceptable. Also, does Taco Bell/KFC even have tostadas? We will not risk it. We will drive another 100 miles to find a real Taco Bell.
  7. At Taco Bell, we will order from the dollar menu. Mostly tostadas. We will each order a reasonable number of items (3-5), and we will need an extra table to lay out all of the tostadas. 
  8. We will not order soft drinks or combo menus, as water is free. 
  9. We will eat lunch at a reasonable time (between noon and 3 pm). If we do not spot a Taco Bell between these times, then it may be a “no lunch” day. 
  10. If we eat lunch very late (close to 3 pm), there will be discussion of whether dinner is necessary, prompting outrage as well as an assessment of how much has been stolen from the continental breakfast. 
  11. One time, we will go to Dairy Queen. However, there will be no expectation that this will ever happen again. 
  12. We will listen to CDs in the car. Cat Stevens and Carole King are appropriate for the morning. Whole family must agree when we are ready for Guns N’ Roses’ Greatest Hits, but usually this cannot happen before 11 am.  
  13. We will see a lot of the country this way. We will climb a volcano in the Mojave Desert and the Beehive in Acadia. We will visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. We will fall in love with Southern Utah. We will hike until our shoes fall apart. And it will be unforgettable.  

Halley Fehner is a writer and interpretive planner. Her fiction has appeared in Adanna, Berkeley Fiction Review, The First Line, and other journals. She is thrilled to commemorate her family’s epic, tostada-fueled road trips in Taco Bell Quarterly.

%d bloggers like this: