We have been trying to work out survival techniques for road trips with two kids. So far, we have only traveled for three hours at a time, mostly because we haven't needed to travel farther, but also because Baby G HATES the car seat. He's getting better, though, so there's hope.
This last trip, the timing worked out that we were traveling over the supper hour. We haggled over potential stops in Humboldt, the half-way point. We agreed on the way there to stop at Johnny's Bistro, one of the nicer restaurants in town. They were really busy, which resulted in slow service (a disaster with two small kids), so I entertained Baby G while my husband ran around after D. That stop cost us one sippy cup (left behind) and an extra two hours of total travel time, which meant we arrived at our destination at 10:30 pm, with two exhausted kids. The meal, hamburgers which included overly-charred pre-formed burger patties, wasn't really worth it.
On the way back, we were looking at arriving in Humboldt at the supper hour again. With some degree of self-loathing, I complained that I didn't really want to have to waste time on a sit-down meal (before kids, these words NEVER used to come out of my mouth), since we were already going to be getting home late. I suggested, again, with that same level of self-loathing that we opt for a buffet meal, so that there was no wait-time for service. Unfortunately, the only buffet that we knew of in Humboldt was at the KFC/Pizza Hut Express.
This story has a somewhat happy ending. We agreed that if D didn't wake up, we would just keep on driving and rely on the currant cookies we had with us to keep him happy for the extra hour it would take to get back to Saskatoon. D stayed asleep through a quick nursing pit stop with Baby G, so we didn't have to subject ourselves to the buffet (which I'm sure I would have guiltily enjoyed, and paid the digestive price later). D wasn't even really hungry when he woke up 20 minutes later, and was distracted by Baby G's screams of protest that he had been in his carseat long enough, even though we still had 40 minutes of driving to go.
To solve the supper dilemma, we called ahead to the Mandarin Restaurant (our favourite dinner saviour, and one of the few good restaurants open on Sunday) to order pickup. Their phone number is programmed into our cell phone for just such an event. That plan didn't quite work out smoothly, since we arrived to discover that restaurant was also busy, and our order wasn't ready. We decided to take the kids home and get them settled in, and my husband would go back for the food. We didn't eat until 8:30, but at least the food was healthier than it would have been at the KFC buffet. And we have leftovers for lunches. Hopefully today, we will get our schedule back to normal.