Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The first 8 hours are the hardest

The beautiful thing about Autism Spectrum Disorder -- and I'm being serious and mean no disrespect to anyone (I just like to find the positive) -- is that older son C has from birth been very self entertaining. This means, among other things, that he can travel in the car forever. While other girlfriends were buying DVD players and hoping for an uneventful 2-3 hour drive to Duluth, we strapped C in his car seat and drove to Wyoming, Florida, Washington DC. He was perfectly content to stare out the window and count telephone poles, look at a book, listen to music.

I'm not convinced Baby D is going to be as cooperative. Granted he is only 8 months old and is in the rear facing car seat, but C set the bar pretty high for easy car travel. The journey across South Dakota took two hours longer than I thought it would. We had many stretching stops.

In desperation in the middle of the state, I grabbed the DVD player (a Christmas gift for C last year that has barely been used) and crammed it between the headrests.

"Did you bring any Blue's Clues?" I asked hopefully of C, knowing Blue is a little young for him these days.

"Yeah," he said handing me a movie clearly belonging to Cousin E.

"This is E's," I said. "How long have you had this?"

"It's okay," he said. "She can watch something else."

True enough but not really the point.

We are here at the very end of tourist season in Black Hills country. We stopped at Wall when it became clear we were going to need another break before the last 30 minutes of our journey. In my experience Wall Drug has been packed with tourists. We parked next to the front door, went inside and ate immediately -- something I have rarely done at Wall Drug because it takes so long. We had a terrific time sitting in the dining room alone, eating tasty fries and psyching ourselves up for the end of the trip. We are looking forward to a unprecedented quiet trip to Reptile Gardens today. We'll say hello to the snakes for you.

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