On Saturday morning, Team Sabo featuring a 9-kid lineup piled into our Chevy Express 15-passenger van, minus the back bench seat for additional cargo space, and left Myrtle Beach, S.C. After 400 miles of driving we arrived home here in the sprawling metropolis of Gloucester Point/Hayes/Wicomico in just under 6 hours. We did not stop once.
I posted this trip recap as a status on Facebook and sensed some doubts among some folks. I sensed some people were asking things or responding along the lines of:
--Was he actually serious?
--Did he really drive that far without stopping?
--Did he really have a van full of 9 kids? Or were they photoshopped in?
--What kind of drugs did he use on those kids? Where can I get those for my kids?
--Were they all wearing diapers, including him?
Yes, it's true. Um, not about the diapers part, though. Only Seth, age 2, was reppin the Huggies. What is true is that we had nine kids in the van between the ages of 2 and 16 and drove 400 miles in six hours without stopping. No potty breaks, no stops for fast food, no accidents, no relieving oneself via artificial means such as peeing into an empty milk jug or other device.
So what's our secret? Well, let me ask you something if you are a parent of children and every car trip threatens to leave you, your children and your spouse mentally unhinged and the inside of your car looking like a cross between the scene of a food fight and the gnarly insides of a restaurant dumpster.
How much are you willing to pay for this secret? Because for just $14.99 we have a limited-time offer through Amazon.com where you can get my New York Times-bestselling book, "We Drove Across The U.S. Four Times With 10 Kids -- And Survived." Plus, for just $10.99 more you can get our bestselling DVD called "Driving With Kids 101" with live footage and handy action sequence tips that is a must-have for every parent. Act now and we will throw in for free our special limited edition of "Sabo Silly Songs" CD that makes the miles pass effortlessly.
Just kidding. No book, no DVD, no silly songs. Sorry to disappoint you because I know you had that wallet out and were on Amazon.com frantically searching. In fact, to be completely, totally and perfectly honest with you, we have no secret. I asked MerriGrace, our 16-year-old featured prominently in the photo above about our "secret" to van traveling with kids. She was pretty much stumped and said that basically when she gets in the van she gets calm because it's something we've always done. We've always driven long distances and it's just something they're used to. Yes, she said when she gets in the van she gets calm. That's your experience with your kids, right?
Now don't get me wrong. Portable DVD players have been a game changer. Showing "Frozen" at 77 miles per hour down a North Carolina freeway has some sort of soothing, or maybe embalming, effect on the nature of our wee lads and lasses. Our "Frozen" DVD actually broke just before we left for South Carolina and we made an emergency pit stop at a Wal-Mart on some South Carolina highway to get a new one to take the edge off of our 2-year-old's traveling angst. Or else we were all going to die because he was so out of sorts. Seriously.
We packed coolers and I believe Julie made sandwiches for a stretch of around 23 miles. We disposed of one box of Cheez-Its, a package of cookies, six bananas, a bag or two of Sour Patch Kids (affectionately called "Sour Cratch Kids" by our youngest verbalists), a couple of apples and assorted other edible items. We watched "Frozen" twice and our family has the unique ability of being to quote the movie verbatim from beginning to end. I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
Here's the big thing, though. The one thing that made a difference between us stopping or not.
I had no pop. Or soda. Or Coke, Pepsi, soda pop, whatever you call it.
I confess. The reason we usually stop is because Dad has to go. I'm the weak link in the bunch. On this trip I manned up though.
My next goal is 500 miles without stopping.