NYS Thruway: Are we there yet?
July 17, 2017 3:53 AM   Subscribe

Driving the NYS I90 from Mass to Buffalo. Have done so 1,000 times. Help me and my family not pass out from the monotony.

It's myself, my husband, our nine-year-old daughter, and our ( big) dog.

What can we do to make this less dreadful?
Recommendations for family friendly audio books (preferably girl-centered and not Harry Potter, though if something is really great it's okay if it's not girl-centered?
Outdoor restaurants/stops that won't mind if the dog hangs out?
General tips for not losing one's mind after driving for six hours?

We are open to any and all technological solutions/tips as well.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Perhaps The Golden Compass audio book? I loved the book around that age, and my mother loved it too. It's rated for 10 and up, so YMMV. I must admit I haven't listened to the audio version, but the reviews seem good. There's a sample clip in the link that you can try out.
posted by dysh at 4:34 AM on July 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is a kind of 'out there' suggestion, but the 36 questions to fall in love made for great conversation on a very long road trip (10 hour days common, admittedly it was two people in the car and we're now married) but there are good questions for starting conversations with friends too- sometimes we'd talk a lot about one question. Maybe you could pick and choose which ones might tickle your 9 year olds' interest?
Link to NYtimes article about 36 questions - Things like "if you could have anyone, living or dead, to dinner, who would you have?"

There are other questions sets out there that might work better for kids?

With the new trailer, hmm, 9 might be a bit young for 'A Wrinkle In Time' on audio? Meg is a great protagonist. It's a 6 hour run time on Audible.

I really enjoyed The Boggart by Susan Cooper - it's about a mischievous Scottish spirit that is discovered by 12 year old Emily Volnik (Canadian) and her 10 year old brother Jessup. wikipedia. It even has a sequel which I haven't read. (Oh goodness, the only audio is on audio cassette that I can see- sorry that doesn't look to be very helpful!)

I LOVED Gordon Korman at this age, but he tends to have male protagonists. "I want to go home" had me in hysterics. Not sure if there is an audiobook.

Something else I used to do when I was this age was count things- I had motorbikes and taxis, my sister had red cars that she was counting, and this helped pass the time.
posted by freethefeet at 4:40 AM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

(Ooh- I think there might be an MP3 for the Boggart at my first link.)
posted by freethefeet at 4:43 AM on July 17, 2017

In our case, it was the NJ turnpike, and the fix was individual, cheap tape players for each kid. (This was a long time ago in technology years.)
posted by SemiSalt at 6:21 AM on July 17, 2017

The wild robot by Peter Brown kept my two entertained while driving..so much so that we weren't allowed to turn it off.

Both also like No such thing as a fish podcast.

They both like the "Land of stories" series on audio

"Ready Player One" also went over well with both. My husband was listening to it on his commute. He had the boys on a long drive and when he thought boys were asleep turned it on. I guess they weren't, loved it and made him start from beginning. Both of them have listened to it again and I think my younger one is on his fourth time

Kids are 9 and 11.
posted by Ftsqg at 6:52 AM on July 17, 2017

Little House, Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary are on audio.
posted by brujita at 7:55 AM on July 17, 2017

The geocaching at I-90 rest stops is decent, but can vary in difficulty and safety -- if you decide to do this, definitely read up on it first.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:26 AM on July 17, 2017

Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series (the first is Wee Free Men) are great and on audiobook.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:37 AM on July 17, 2017

Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy is fantastic and is almost entirely from the viewpoint of female protagonists. I think I might have been a bit older than 9 when I read it but I suspect I would have enjoyed it at that age. There's a well narrated audiobook on audible.

I also have very fond memories of listening to the BBC lord of the rings radio play on long car journeys as a child. Somewhat lacking in the female voice but makes up for it by being lord of the rings. Frodo is voiced by Ian Holm who plays Bilbo in the films.
posted by bored_now_flay at 10:40 AM on July 17, 2017

When you get to I-88 near Schenectady take it south for a few miles, then take US20 west for a while. You won't go as fast but you can go 55-60 most of the time. It is a very relaxing drive through some one stoplight towns. When you get to I-81 you will have had enough and you can go a few miles north to get on the Thruway again.
posted by leaper at 4:35 PM on July 17, 2017

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