My family and I have been making trips up to MI about twice a year to visit friends and family up there. Now that we’re living on the east coast, we’ve been driving each time.
It’s really not a bad drive at all – if we leave early enough and don’t stop too often, we can make it in around 12.5-13.5 hours. I mean, don’t get me wrong, that’s a long trip, especially with a child. But it’s scenic for at least half of the trip, through the mountains from NC through KY … then there’s Ohio, which is easily the worst and most uninteresting part of the trip, hands down.
When you map the trip on Google Maps, you’ll see that the trip allegedly takes about 10.5 hours. This is unrealistic to begin with, as it doesn’t factor in stops for gas, restroom breaks, etc. It seems to be basing off of the most perfect driving conditions imaginable. As I mentioned above, a more realistic timeframe for a trip of this distance is closer to 12.5 hours (at best).
The biggest setbacks of the trip are often the scenarios that you can’t really control or plan for. For example, last winter, we got caught in a snow storm and had pretty bad weather until we got further south into the lower half KY.
This last trip, on the way to MI, I forgot to put an important bag that we needed to bring in the car so we had to turn around after we realized it was missing – about an hour and a half into our trip. I know that doesn’t really fall under “scenarios that you can’t really control or plan for”, this one is more of a case of me being a total moron.
On the way home from MI this past trip, however, we were hit with a long construction detour, just passed Detroit. Just a couple of miles after we got back on the proper highway, we found that the highway was closed down because of a police standoff. This was the most random of all of our delays. It didn’t help that neither of the highway closings from construction detour or the shooter were registered on Google Maps, so we couldn’t plan an alternate route in advance. Fortunately, the situation with the gunman ended peacefully and no one was injured. My point is, what are the odds of a police standoff at the exact time we’re heading home? Especially considering the misc delays on our previous trips.
I guess, if what they say is true about everything happening in threes, we should be good to go for a while!
On the bright side, we made good time after we got out of MI. We planned to stop as little as possible by packing meals and snacks and planning out our other stops a little better. This is really the key. We’ve definitely added a ton of unnecessary time onto trips in the past by stopping separately for meals, coffee, snacks, restroom breaks, gas, etc.