The point of this driving holiday was to decide whether or not a driving trip to Calgary this summer would be a feasible option.
As much as I would like to take the boys cross-country and give them a chance to really see Canada, I don't think a road-trip this summer is going to work. Alex's behaviour is too fragile right now. If we were doing this a year ago, when his toilet-training was doing well and his behaviour was under control, then it might have been an option. Also, I have to consider adding in the service dog, which is still a big unknown.
Dave has been pushing to scrap the Calgary trip entirely. We had already booked the hotel, which was non-refundable, so we'll likely have to eat that expense if we do. I still want to go and take the whole family, but after seven days of fighting reluctant family members and their dislike of anything resembling change, I'm worn out and wondering if I'm really up to doing it again. On the other hand, it is only by building up experience with such things that I can give my kids a chance at becoming something other than complete hermits.
I've learned several important things in terms of planning the as-yet-unscheduled future roadtrip:
2-3 hours is the ideal driving shift
Giving the kids one half hour of screen time during each shift seems to work well (provided they have to earn it by behaving)
Dave is less cranky if forced to share the driving
BBC narrated audiobooks are annoying
Audiobooks in general are less likely to provoke tantrums from Alex, but aren't enough to keep me engaged while driving (though they work better than music when caught in a traffic jam)
Nathan is a good car karaoke partner
Having a "travel bag" containing what we need during transit worked really well, letting us leave the bulk of the luggage in the car
Getting a cot for Alex makes everyone sleep better
The kids need a defined, non-optional activity during each day (because they will refuse if given a choice, despite the fact that it makes them bored and cranky)