11 days. 3,200+ miles. 4 hotel rooms. Two 30-somethings with their 9 week old driving from New York to Texas with a stop in Nashville seems a little nuts, and well, it is. We decided to bring our bubbling baby boy down to Houston to hang out with the grandparents, and meet the great-grandparents and the extended family. We had no idea how this was going to go. It took us 28 hours to get to Nashville alone, and that’s a 12 hour drive. Ya know what, though? It was so much fun. Yea, we stopped every 2-3 hours for diaper changes, feedings, and leg stretches but we knew what we were getting into before we strapped on our seat-belts, and I believe that’s the key to a good family road-trip.
We started out by planning our trip in 2-4 hour increments. At each stop I replenished the diaper bag, and formula (breastfeeding while driving = not so safe) from a well supplied trunk.
Here are some tips on what kept us sane and surprisingly happy.
- Ziplock bags! We had a “clean” and a “dirty” bag, and that’s how we controlled the bottle, pacifier, and nipple situation so feeding in the car was a snap!
- We booked hotels rooms with a microwave so we could sterilize the bottles no matter what. We bought 20 use sterilization bags – easy to find on amazon & worth the $6.
- We had those roller shades on the windows, but I also brought a bunch of swaddles to drape over the car seat and protect Atlas from the sun a little extra. Also it was great to diffuse the light for napping in the car – and boy did he nap!
- We used Huggies disposables for the road-trip (way too hard to control cloth diapers for you cloth diaper mama’s)
- We kept a huge supply of everything baby in the trunk. Each function had it;s own bag. The food bag, the diaper bag, etc.
- Foursquare wound up being awesome for avoiding the fast-food places. We had taco-bell once the whole 90+ hours we were in the car!
I am happy to admit it took months to plan. Being a vegetarian stinks while you are on the road, and that planning is required. Once you pass Nashville (headed down to Texas) vegetarians are in no-man’s land. I used Google Drive to make an itinerary which I shared with Joey, and also converted to a PDF so we could view a downloaded version on our phone if we didn’t have 4G working so great while on the road. We also made a 378 song playlist for us, and a 266 song playlist for Atlas on Spotify. If you are vegetarian and driving from the comfort of New York vegetarian options to Tejos, here are some tips for you:
has a slew of veggie options
, and a market
you can quickly pick stuff up and jet. Gianna’s has closed, RIP, but grab a vegan Philly Cheese Steak at it’s replacement, Blackbird.
Once we got to Nashville
, we ate at The Wild Cow
, and it was fantastic! There is a little bit of a hipster scene going on with a few vegetarian stops and vegan bakeries believe it or not. They also have a great cafe scene for a coffee stop. Being we spent the night there we got to explore a few places. Taco Mamacita
stands out as a great stop for Joey & me to both get what we like because they have a separate vegan menu. And margaritas. It’s on a super cute strip where we went back to the next day to check out Tweed
, an amazing spot curated perfectly for the tiny tikes. We splurged and got Atlas some treats. Also, the shop owner Maggie is the sweetest and told us where to go and what to do and mapped it all out for us. In fact, everyone in Nashville is super sweet.
See the little lady bug? I bought him, named him Moe and crossed my fingers he would happily crawl on the magnetic house
Joey just built for Atlas.
Success. Moe made it home safe and does in fact magnetically attached to his new home, the magnetic house! Now I need to go back to Nashville to buy more magnetic bugs. OK, back to eating, friends and driving.
I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend I met in New York, who recently moved to Nashville. Kim, who blogs over at DesignThoughts
. We hung out for a few, with my round baby in the beautiful weather. Thanks for the great pic of us and our boys Kim!
A great stop for a meat-eater who has a vegetarian wife (or friend, or girlfriend, or husband….) is this cute hotdog place
which has pretty great veggie dogs! Now, this is where it gets tricky to be a vegetarian.
Enter, the off-the-beaten-path-towns. First off, we wound up staying in a town that smells like dog-food. I kid you not. The whole town smells like dog food, because of the dog-food factory. We want to open a stand and sell T-shirts that read “What’s that smell? Byram, Mississippi”. Another town that makes me laugh, we actually got a picture of the sign.
Yes, I know. I am five years old. Tennessee is long and pretty and once you are about the leave the state it gets boring and there are no exciting stops until you get to Houston. Houston was loaded with a ton of veggie options, and my tried and true is Baba Yaga, so we ate there the first night. But now that we typed 950+ words, we can finally get to the point of our trip! Family.
Atlas got to meet his great-great-grandma and grandpa, and it was pretty awesome. These are Joey’s mom’s parents and they are the cutest and sweetest ever, ever. She even makes me vegetarian tamales and has Joey’s mom bring them to New York when they visit.
Here is Atlas with Joey and his side of the family with a cake the size of the baby. They threw us a “Welcome Atlas” party, which was super sweet.
Someone was thinking about doing snow angles in that sheet cake. And for good measure, a family photo. Hey, we have to snag one whenever someone is available to take one!
When the family festivities were over, we spent some time at the Houston Zoo. It’s a serious zoo – way more intense than we anticipated. Atlas had some open air diaper changes because no-sleep mommy forgot his changing pad. Along side the tigers and turkeys he was bare-butt and loving it. They even have a little aquarium there which was perfect because A loves to gaze at the jellyfish.
Then we watched some giraffs pee. It’s comical. You don’t really think about zoo animals doing their business, but when a giraff goes number one, you notice. What other animal is there that you can walk under their stream? Atlas was sleeping, and too young to enjoy the silliness.
It was a great and exhausting day, and I don’t think we even covered half of the zoo. I am excited to go back, especially when Atlas can fully understand where we are and I am not sneaking feedings in at the gift shop table display.
We hit up this amazing vegan joint, Green Seed Vegan. Oh my word. Some of the best vegan food we have every had. The coco taco’s and the cauliflower nuggets. I am willing to drive down to Houston again right now. I wish I took some pictures of the yummy food.
We went shopping one day with a friend of Joey’s who use to style stores and windows, so we wound up at some exciting haunts of his. One place was just a goldmine of amazing. Adkins Architectural Antiques is overwhelming and awesome, and I wish we had room in the car to buy all their patio furniture.
I totally went home with a cement baby hand by the way. We also went to this shop, New Living
, which has some pretty great natural and original finds for the style and green savvy person. Wish we had something like that here in Westchester.
The week felt like a flash, and before I knew it we were packing the baby and the car up again to head back to Nashville for another night.
We checked out more cafe’s and bummed around in the sunshine and hung out in one of the many cute neighborhoods in addition to getting great rest.
Everything went really smooth, like I mentioned. The baby got upset once on the way back, so we pulled over for ten minutes and calmed him down quickly, and back on the road we went. We didn’t really snack in the car, so it would stay clean – and I think that was a really good idea on our part. Less trash, less of a cluttery feeling. We are fully confident to take Atlas on more trips now. We are actually planning Paris, which has me doing finger dances every day. Even though things went super well, we decided to limit all road trips to eight hours or less, and fly if it’s over that, just because it cost us about 5X more to drive than fly down to Texas this trip. All in all, we are now amped up for the summer trip to begin!
Have you ever traveled with an infant successfully? Any great tips?