Oh My God, I'm Going on a Road Trip to See You

The Hubs and I have been married for thirteen years and for thirteen years he has suggested we take a road trip.

I don't know about you, but I am not a big fan of the road trip. Especially with kids. I grew up driving cross country to see relatives and those are not some of my fondest memories. I remember being wedged into the backseat with a suitcase under my feet and my brother, C.B., totally invading my side of the car. "I'm not touching you. Maybe my pillow is touching you, Jenni! I can't control what my pillow touches." I remember looking out the window at the bumper to bumper traffic and fantasizing about jumping out of the car and running away from C.B. and his stupid pillow that was obviously touching me. I remember my dad trying not to swear at the bad drivers around him. "Where do you do you think you're going? We're all stuck here, jack--" and "You just went to the bathroom an hour ago. We're finally getting somewhere and you want me to stop? What the hell?" My dad perfected his one-handed driving technique so he could crank down his window and flip the bird with the other hand. (Yes, my rage-filled apple didn't fall far from the tree.)

The Hubs didn't have the same idyllic childhood I did. He didn't get to experience all of America's dirty public restrooms and views of nothing but cornfields for miles. He thinks a road trip is the perfect way for our family to bond. To him, the four of us being stuck together for hours on end in a tin can flying down the highway towards the World's Largest Ball of Twine sounds ah-may-zing.

After years of begging, I finally relented. So, in just a few weeks, I shall load up my family and we're going to hit the road. Luckily, I have a sweet ass minivan so the kids will each have a row of their own. That should nix the "she's touching me" debate. They can watch a movie assuming Gomer enjoys watching "Frozen" fifty more times. It's either that or listen to Adolpha whine during "The Lego Movie" how booooooored she is. I don't know what the Hubs' plan is, but let's hope it's driving, because I am bringing my laptop and headphones. 

But we can't just take a road trip. There must be a REASON for a trip. My family always had a reason. We were going to Grandma's house or to Disneyland. Well, we have a reason too. 

We're going on the Official Unofficial Panera Punch U.S. Tour!!!

That's right, people of places like Columbus and St. Louis and Philadelphia and a few other towns, I'm coming to a Panera near you!

Sure, Panera doesn't know I'm coming and they haven't sanctioned this tour in any way, but c'mon, are they really going to be mad that we show up? I don't think so. 

Here's the plan: I'm going to stop at a Panera and you can come and see me and say "Hi." I won't have books to sell, but you can bring as many as you want and I'll sign them. We'll chat. Maybe we'll have some tea and a scone or a muffin (however, if I eat scones and muffins at every stop, the Second Official Unofficial Tour should be sponsored by Weight Watchers).

Why Panera you ask? Well, because I'm a suburban girl and where else do suburban girls go to meet friends? Starbucks is too small and McDonald's is too low-brow, and I'm too lazy to find some ah-may-zing adorbs trendy spot in each of these cities, so it's got to be Panera. Plus, this way if no one shows, they have free wifi and the Hubs is in charge of the kids while I'm there, so I won't tell him I'm all alone and  I can surf the internet and gear up for the next six hours in the car with my family.

So, if you live close by or you want an excuse to road trip, come out and see me!

Columbus, OH - July 14 - 7 PM
Panera Bread
1391 Polaris Pkwy
Columbus, OH 43240

Pittsburgh-ish, PA - July 15 - 7 PM
20111 Rte 19
Cranberry Twp, PA 16066

New York, NY - July 17 - 11 AM
BONUS! I will be pit-stopping at BlogHer to speak for one hour about self-publishing and signing books!! I think I'll be in the Amazon Suite - #4426/4427. FYI, you need a ticket to BlogHer to get in.

Mount Laurel, NJ - July 19 - 7 PM
Panera Bread

48 Centerton Rd
Mt Laurel, NJ 08054

Philadelphia-ish, PA - July 20 - 7 PM
Panera Bread

48 Ridge Pike
Conshohocken, PA 19428

Cincinnati-ish, OH - July 22 - 7 PM
Panera Bread
Deerfield Towne Center 
5095 Deerfield Blvd 
Mason, OH 45040

St. Louis, MO - July 24 - 7 PM
Panera Bread
Saint Louis Galleria
1445 St Louis Galleria
Richmond Heights, MO 63117

As well as touring the fine Paneras of these beautiful cities, I'll be sightseeing with the family. So if you have some ideas of fun (cheap, of course, because The Hubs) things to do with kids then leave a comment and let me know. 


Unknown said...

I'm not a regular reader (my sister is and she sent me a heads up your coming to my town), so I don't know how old your kiddos are, but...in the Cincinnati-ish area there is Kings Island with amusement and water park, but that is not cheap! The Beach is their struggling water park-only competition and is much more affordable-they run groupons all the time.
For really cheap historical/nature-y entertainment there is http://www.lovelandcastle.com/. Downtown Cincinnati is fun-duckboat tours, Reds games, Children's museum. Oh and Newport on the levee has the Newport Aquarium. (If all grilled cheese all the time is your thing, plan to get lunch at Tom and Chee!)
Discount tickets for most of those major attractions can be bought at the customer service desk of Kroger grocery stores. Have fun and good luck!

emily hossler said...

I'm incredibly bummed that our road trip is happening at the same time as yours. There are so many things your family will enjoy about Cincinnati and the surrounding areas, and the folks will definitely be the nicest you will meet on your trip. Loveland Castle is not too far from Deerfield Twp. Panera, so you can have your alone time, and The Hubs can take the kids on an inexpensive field trip. There are state parks around the area, as well, which only charge a few bucks for parking. Trek over to Hamilton (about 40 minutes) and check out the sculptures and monuments throughout the city. Enjoy! I wish I could be there!

Unknown said...

I know I can't expect you to come to Houston but if you came to Dallas on a Saturday or Sunday I would drive up to meet you at any Panera in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Austin or San Antonio are good spots to visit too. Lots of museums and historic sights. Remember the Alamo?
Come on. Come to Texas!

Tulip Talks said...

Oh my goodness. I have never been that jealous of the North but I am today. I totally wish you were doing the Panera Disney FL route. I would love to buy you soup or cookies or whatever.
I discovered your book quite by mistake and have become addicted to your humor and wit. I love the blog and hope to one day be as cool as you are (yes sucking up here.)
I also looked up Jen Lancaster at your recommendation and have just finished 4 of her books in two weeks time. She totally owes you. Is there another author you can suggest to get my real-life fix from?
Have fun on the road trip and remember FL is fun. Don't believe everything you see in the news about us. We don't all marry family, swim with gators or have sex in public usually.

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