Trekking Across the Country with a 2 Year Old

The past two weeks have been crazy.

I am so very happy to be sitting in the comfort of my own home, my whole family back together and getting back into our normal life routine. I like adventure but I am definitely ready to just chill for a little while.

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that I just drove 2800 miles across the country – from Tampa, Florida to San Francisco Bay Area, California – with my in-laws and my two year old. What a journey!

Vacation Gone Sour

A couple weeks back we vacationed in Florida (that’s where my husband is from and where we were living up until a year ago) and had arrangements to leave Andrew with my mother-in-law for a week and a half after Scott and I flew back. We all were looking forward to it — she gets much needed time with Andrew and Mommy and Daddy get a mini vacation. I was day dreaming about being able to go to a cafe and work on my blog without worrying about naps, toddlers, or coming home to make dinner at a certain time. Unfortunately, the day Scott and I left, Andrew came down with a terrible fever and was extremely ill for the next five days.

Let me tell you, it is so unbelievably difficult to know your baby very sick and is 2800 miles away from where you are. Not being able to do anything to help was so stressful! It’s even more troublesome when you are trying to tell your in-laws to perform natural remedies instead of conventional. He had a 105 fever for five days, was tugging on his ears and would not eat anything. Fortunately, he drank tons of water which made things a little better.

Things were not looking good after 5 days so I jumped on a plane back to Florida to help take care of Andrew. I stayed for a week so we could get him well enough to fly on an airplane since we had his second birthday party scheduled on the 14th of April. We ended up not having to resort to antibiotics to take care of his ear infection (soooo thankful!) and used a garlic oil ear drop that contains mullein flower oil, wort flower bud & tops oil, garlic oil, goldenseal root extract, lobelia herb & seed extract, and olive oil.

I took Andrew to a holistic doctor in Tampa after that week I was there (thanks to a good family friend for the in!) and he said Andrew’s ears were still red and had fluid. We were told it wouldn’t get better for another three weeks and we could fly whenever we felt comfortable. I don’t know about you, but I certainly would not feel comfortable taking my sick baby on an airplane with inflamed, fluid filled ears and a compromised immune system. There was no way I was chancing taking Andrew on an airplane with his ears still messed up. I could not live with myself if I damaged his ears from that.

Last Minute Decision

Getting ready to leave on our 4 day adventure

We made a literally last minute decision on Monday (April 8) to drive back to California instead and left the following day. We figured it would take us 4 days driving at least 700 miles a day (about 10-12 hours in the car). We packed all our stuff, packed as much real food as we could, and started our journey to the west.

Each day we hit our quota and proceeded to drive a few extra miles to make the next day a little easier. We did good too- each day we left around 8am and got to our destination no later than 7pm. We stopped in Vicksburg, MS, Amarillo, TX, Needles, CA and the fourth day made our last leg of the trip back up to the Bay Area.

I was determined to make our quota plus extra because I knew I had to host a birthday party on Sunday and it required lots of cooking and prepping. I needed Saturday to go shopping and make certain foods the night before. (Details on the birthday party and what REAL food we cooked will be on the next post!)

So how did my little toddler do!? Well, Andrew was such a champ. I could not have asked for a better four day long trek across the country. Everything went smooth, the weather was nice for the most part, we all didn’t kill each other and Andrew handled it very well. Every once in a while he would throw a little fit but for the most part, he just chilled. Although we don’t do much screen time at home I have to Thank God for Mickey Mouse on the iPad, crackers and applesauce. All he asked for during those 10-12 hours was  “hot dah” (= hot dog, Mickey Mouse), “kah-kuh” (= crackers, more please), “appl-sss” (= applesauce, more please).

Hey, whatever makes him happy and content right? The last thing we need is being stuck in the car with a moody toddler for hours on end.

Terrible Food on the Road

Our only photo we took, in Texas

The only thing that totally and royally sucked was the food! I guess you can say I’m a food snob because my body has adjusted to eating clean food and my mind and body can’t handle food that I know is not up to my standards. We bought Applegate organic lunch meat and grass-fed cheese to make sandwiches with during the day but breakfast and dinner time is where we faced some serious nasty food problems.

The first night we stayed in Mississippi and went to a run down place because there was nothing else. I saw they had wild caught salmon so I ordered that but when I put the first bite in my mouth, it was borderline old and too fishy. Then I began to question if it was really wild caught or not. I ordered rice with it and it tasted like they put a packet of chicken flavor from Top Ramen and mixed it with the rice.


Needless to say, I didn’t eat much. Next morning, the conventional breakfast was terrible. The eggs, sausage and biscuits looked like they came out of a box and were microwaved. I opted out and made myself a waffle that I ate with no syrup because the syrup available was full of GM high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and a bunch of other nasty ingredients.

Thankfully, each stop the food progressively got better but not by much. 

In Amarillo, Texas we stopped at a Cracker Barrel. I took a chance and ordered chicken and dumplings with green beans. What a mistake. The chicken was flavorless and the dumplings were nasty. I couldn’t help but think about the poor chicken that was pumped with antibiotics and lived a stressful, unhealthy life. It was very unappetizing. The green beans tasted like they came from a can but then were over seasoned to try and make up for the canned flavor. Terrible. The next morning the breakfast was the same conventional spread but instead of a waffle I ate a bagel with cream cheese. Unsurprisingly, the bagel tasted fake! At this point, I was SO ready to get home so I could cook myself some real food. 

The last day in Needles, CA we ate at a little restaurant called the River Cafe for breakfast and dinner. It was a lot better than the last two places by far. I got a burger because I needed some meat but could only bring myself to eat half of it. For breakfast the eggs looked like they were supposed to so I ate some of those and was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When we left Needles and made our last leg of the journey to the Bay Area I couldn’t help but dream about real food as I was driving home. For dinner that night we all celebrated and went to one of our favorite little restaurants by our house– a little hole in the wall Italian restaurant that serves local, fresh foods and wild caught fish. I ordered an almond crusted halibut that had a butter/white wine sauce on it (I asked for extra and dunked the fish in it) and drank a nice glass of wine. Even Andrew was totally digging the halibut with the white wine sauce and I have a feeling his little body knew he needed some real nutrients!

It was so unbelievably wonderful to sleep in my own bed, next to my husband, and to know in the morning I could fix some delicious pastured eggs for the family. I also can’t begin to express how thankful I was to have my refrigerator in walking distance!

Looking back, I’d probably hard boil a bunch of eggs to have as snacks and pre-make salads with cooked steak to have for at least one dinner. I’d have to really research good nutrient dense foods to bring with us if I ever decided to drive across the country again. But I hope I don’t have to do that anytime soon!

What real foods do you take with you when you know you will be traveling away from the comfort of your own fridge?

Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul

This post is part of: Thank Goodness Its Monday, Homestead Barn HopFat TuesdaysFamily Table TuesdaySlightly Indulgent TuesdaysTraditional TuesdaysHealthy TuesdaysTitus 2sdayTasteful Tuesday, Backyard Farming ConnectionTeach Me TuesdaysAnti-Procrastination TuesdaysGathering SpotHearth and Soul HopTasty TuesdayTutorial Tuesday, EcoKids Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable WaysHealthy 2day WednesdayWicked Awesome WednesdayParty Wave Wednesdays, Homemaking LinkupFresh Food WednesdayWhole Food Wednesdays, The Mommy Club

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  1. We ended up doing 4 24 hour trips while my husband was on GAPS, so eating at a restaurant wasn’t really an option. We had more time to prepare, though. We had a big cooler, and packed cooked chicken that he ate for his meals, plus lots of fresh fruit and veggies. We also took hard boiled eggs for breakfast. It was a lot of work to get it all prepared, but worth it when he didn’t get sick on any of the trips!

  2. I LOVE HOW YOU ARE A FOOD SNOB!!! Me too! Ryan will get annoyed with me, but my body really can tell a difference. The fast food sickens me, literally! I love Rachel’s idea of taking cooked chicken. I’ll have to try that when we make our long trek to FL. Glad everything turned out ok and that’s awesome that you didn’t have to resort to antibiotics!

  3. I’m glad your trip went so smoothly and your little boy is getting better! I know what you mean about the awful road food; I-80 across Nebraska is another region where it’s difficult to find anything decent. When we travel, I focus on getting plenty of vegetables because at least the fiber helps us get the bad food through our bodies faster! Sometimes I bake Raisin Bran Bread in mini-muffins as a nutritious, high-fiber snack on the road or breakfast in hotels.

    We took a 3-days-each-way road trip when my son was 2, and one of the most successful things we did was checking out enough picture books from the library to fill 2 tote bags. Each day one bag was in the car with us and the other was in the trunk. Every day we swapped them. That way we had plenty to read AND we parents did not get sick of reading the same books over and over!

  4. Oh nooooo… I am so sorry you all went through this. Your ear oil sounds wonderful.. I make fresh garlic ear “packets” and so far so good on no antibiotcs ever. We take a LOT of food with us on trips. Thanks for sharing your post with us! I hope you join us again (yeah I know it’s a day late… linky issues) at Eco-Kids Tuesday!!

    1. That’s great! At first I was getting down on myself because I thought I had to use antibiotics but I took a leap of faith and tried the ear oil with all the immune building remedies. I am SO happy I did because as of today he is COMPLETELY healed up — without antibiotics!

      What are the ear packets?

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