Traveling With Children & Other Bad Ideas

“There are two classes of travel in America—first class and with children.”
Robert Benchley

“A journey of a thousand miles begin with a cash advance.”

What got me thinking about traveling with children was reading a delightful story from our new RV Park Writers’ Group. Then, at a dinner party the
other night, I started retelling the story of the family camping trip and it not only brought back memories to everyone at the table, but a lively
discussion of… well, I don’t want to say, not yet. Read this story and then we’ll talk.


By Sharon Van Lieu

Sharon Van Lieu in Yellowstone Park last year
Sharon Van Lieu in Yellowstone Park last year

You really haven’t lived until you’ve taken three small children camping. As young parents, Honey and I purchased a pickup truck and a small cab-over
camper and set out to give our little ones some adventure.

The first night out, child #3 (male) got sick and barfed all over most every sheet, blanket and covers we had with us. After a damp and smelly night,
we found a laundromat the next morning and washed everything.

We continued our journey to find a place we could dry camp. Child #2 (female) decided she had to use the potty and didn’t want to use the chemical
toilet in the camper. Mom took her by the hand and up the hill we went to an outhouse. She took one look down into the holes and declared she didn’t
have to “go” anymore.

When informed we would be at this campground four more days she said, “That’s okay, I’ll wait.”

Sharon family from around the time of the story, in the 1960s
Sharon family from around the time of the story, in the 1960s
Sharon family from around the time of the story, in the 1960s
Sharon family from around the time of the story, in the 1960s

On down the road to yet another camp spot. I decided to take child #2 and go grab a shower. It cost a quarter to shower (1960’s) and I figured to get

about 7 or 8 minutes to wash our hair and shower so I took only one quarter. We lathered up our hair and soaped up our bodies and the water turned off
after three minutes. What to do!! I got out of the shower, put a towel around her soapy body, opened the door and started shouting for Honey to bring
us more quarters. After five minutes of yelling, he heard us, brought some coins and we finished our showers.

Several days later we were on the freeway near Denver when the top part of the camper started rocking. Honey figured the kids were wrestling around up
there so he rolled down the window, reached his arm up to the camper and knocked. The movement stopped—–for about three minutes and then started up
again. Mumbling, Honey rolled the window down and knocked on the camper again. Things got quiet for just a brief time then started up again. This time,
Honey pulled the truck over to the side of the freeway and opened the back of the camper. On the floor was a toy rubber snake that he picked up and
proceeded to pull the children outside one at a time and paddle their tushies with the snake. It was rush hour traffic and the drivers going by were
honking, waving, laughing and in general enjoying the show. By the time Honey pulled the last kid (child #1) out of the camper, the snake had broken
and all he had in his hand was about 4″ of the snake’s tail. He continued to wail on the kid. I started laughing so hard that the other kids joined in
the laughter. Everyone thought it was hysterical, except Honey. His face was beet-red and his blood pressure was off the charts.

Would you believe on our way home we started planning our next campout?

© Copyright, 2015, Sharon Van Lieu

Great story, right? As I said at the top, it sparked a lot of conversation among my friends. I hope it got you thinking and reminiscing. I’d like you
to send me your memories of travel with kids and we’ll put them together and put them in our next issue.

Also, in our group, there was a lively conversation around disciplining children. Everyone in our group had stories of parental discipline and most
everyone felt that in the generations since, parents have become too soft on their kids. Do you agree?

Were you better off because of the discipline you received as a child?

Have your children and/or grandchildren had it too hard or too easy?

There is wisdom floating around in our parks… send some my way and I’ll write about your stories and your thoughts.