Y’all let’s talk Montana. It’s our home state. I was born and raised. My hubby grew up visiting family, moved after high school, and has since claimed it as his home. It’s nick named “The last best place.” Because, it’s absolutely beautiful. It needs to be on your bucket list. And, a few weeks ago we went back for a family roadtrip. It was absolutely dreamy…

and, exhausting.

We chose to drive because ain’t no body want to pay for three plane tickets. Or, us. We don’t want to pay $1000 + just to fly. The Maps app told us 17 hours. But, we have done this drive four other times, and it has never been that. The first two trips were broken into two days. The third time, and the first time we drove through, was almost 24 hours in the dead of winter. And, the last time my mom and I drove the boys and dogs it took 25 hours total, and was an absolute nightmare. So, needless to say we ignored the app time and were a little nervous. But, it was still what made sense for our family.

We went into it with the idea that there were no rules. Whatever it takes to keep a three and half-year old and a 17 month old content. And, not crying. 

The iPad was fully charged with new shows downloaded.

Backpacks were filled with suckers, tons of gummies, new sticker books, and each got a couple new dollar tree toys.

We loaded up the car the day before we left. And, my hubby went to bed at 5 pm to get a full night’s sleep before we left at 1 am. That way we’d, my husband, would get a chunk of driving before the boys woke up. Although I never went to sleep before we left at 1:30 I had the hardest time sleeping in the car. But, we were still able to 6 hours of non stop driving in before our first stop for breakfast.

Ronan Roadtrip to Montana: Day 1

The first McDonalds stop, there were at least 3 more to come, put us in Oregon already. So, it felt like we were making great time being that we had already crossed off one state in the trip before 8 am. We ate a quick breakfast let the boys stretch, and were back in the car as reasonably quick as we could be.

I think we made it until 9 am before the first pack of gummies came out. Side note, does your family call them fruit snacks or gummies? Big brother got the first turn with the iPad. And, then gave it up happily to play with his ball gun that he’d had picked out for the trip. Unfortunately, it was broken within 2 hours, as to be expected from a three-year old playing with $1 toy. But, anything that would buy us time.

My husband was listening to IT on Audible. And, I was soaking in the beautiful Oregon view while being the sucker giver-outer. The Oregon stretch was done with zero whining. It wasn’t until we were debating if we had crossed into Washington yet that any of us, Mason and I, even began to get antsy. By the time we were into Washington definitely it was lunch time, and we chose to just do drive thru instead of stopping again. French fries to the rescue of any grouchiness. And, that second McDonalds stop checked off.

Despite my many offers to switch places, my husband kept driving. We played the Alphabet game through Washington. Stuck on Q, unsurprisingly, for literally two hours. And, then again X. Of course. But, it was so nice to keep our brains occupied. We finished up the alphabet came as we pulled into Spokane, WA a familiar check point. We were only 4 hours away. And, the boys finally gave in to an afternoon nap at 3 pm.

The grown ups were crossing fingers for a long one.
Ronan Roadtrip to Montana. Big brother set up in comfort and style.
Sure enough we crossed into Montana before either woke up. And, it wasn’t until St Regis, a common pit stop and a 2 hour check point, that the baby even cried at all. So, I stuffed myself in between the two car seats for about half of the time left to keep Mason entertained. We started to wake big brother up as we pulled over the hill and caught the first view of Flathead Lake. And, started sending out “WE’RE HERE!!” texts.

This time Maps was actually not far off. The trip from Fairfield, CA to Kalispell, MT took us a total of 17.5 hours. We only had to stop four times. And, the boys were an absolute dream. We kept saying, whenever people asked how the long trip went, that we really couldn’t believe how good and easy it was. Here’s what I think really aided in the ease of this crazy long road trip with two littles.

All the gummies.

No iPad limits.

A couple new Dollar Tree toys. Just something new and exciting that will keep their attention.

Those crazy expensive character juices as a nice treat.

Suckers anytime the baby came close to fussing.

Stopping if needed. Making good time doesn’t matter if everybody is grouchy and whining.

For the grown ups it really helped leaving so early in the morning. And, having the book on tape to listen to. We were both so into what was happening in the story, that the hours flew by.

Stay tuned for the rest of our vacation update!