Things I Learned at 3:00am On a Road Trip

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We waited until the end of the summer to take vacation.  It was bittersweet…we were excited to leave town, but knew when we got back it was a mere week and a half until school started. 

We went to St. George Island, which is where I vacationed as a kid. 

It was great to share my memories with the kids. 

I’m sure they got sick of hearing “Hey, see that big yellow house?  When Uncle Keith tied a kite to a fishing pole and let out all the string he crashed it onto the roof!”


“Hey, see that house?  When Uncle Keith stretched in bed in the loft bedroom, his head busted through the ceiling!”  That Uncle Keith…he’s the one who also crossed his eyes in our family portrait.  What a guy.


This trip meant a lot of time on the road.  It was a 12-14 hour drive.  With three kids.  How do you make the best of that?  We decided to leave at 1:30am and drive in shifts so that the kids were asleep as much as possible.  This actually worked. 

But, it’s boring driving by yourself in the dark at 3:00am. 

Here are some things I learned:

It is not as funny as you might think to scream at your husband, who is dead asleep, “Aaaagh!!!  Wake up!  I’ve been going the wrong way for hours!!” and point to the Philadelphia, Tennessee sign.  It’s not funny when you see the Cleveland, Tennessee sign either.  Party pooper.

I’m hilarious at 3:30am, in the dark, all alone with my own thoughts.  Or, so I think.

My husband has a strange love of classic country music.  If I hear Barbara Mandrell sing You Can Eat Crackers in My Bed Any Time again, I will throw a box of saltines at his head.  I hate it when the kids eat anything in my bed.  Why does she let a man eat crackers in her bed?  What does this mean?

That song about someone leaving the cake out in the rain is equally annoying.

There are no good songs on the radio between 2:30am and 4:30am.  Did you already catch that theme?

All road side “Food” and “Gas” signs that have a little circle on them look like Starbucks signs at 6:00am.  Every time I saw a BP or Steak and Shake sign from a distance, my heart skipped a beat.  My hopes were quickly dashed when I got closer.

There are very few Starbucks after you leave the Cincinnati area and head south.  And, none of them are open at 3:30am…of course.

Driving through Jellico, Tennessee at 4:00am is super creepy.  I did have time to create a whole vampire escape plan in my head during this quiet portion of the drive.  In my scenario, even the sheriff of Jellico was a bad guy…obviously I’ve watched too many bad horror flicks.

Once the kids woke up, it was no longer quiet…or creepy. 

Middle Child:  Are we still in our world? 

The Fourth Grader:  How much longer?

Baby Girl:  Aaaaagh!  I don’t want to watch Pokémon again!!

Finally, we crossed the five mile bridge to the island and felt the warm salty air blow through our open windows and tickle the backs of our throats. 

Everything was just as I remembered it…except for the new wine shop…momma didn’t get to enjoy that back in the day!  Woohoo!

Finally, we have arrived.

We had a great time, and the kids did not tire of my never ending “Hey, see that??” memories.  Nor did my husband…miraculously.  Before long, it was time to pack up the van and head back to Kentucky.  And, another long road trip.

An hour in, because we left at 10:00am, not 1:30am, Middle Child asked…

“Are we in our world yet?”

It was a long 13 hours.



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