Arms need to stay next to your body and if they float away from your body be warned that a nasty look from a neighbor is the only warning you may get before you receive an elbow to the ribs. You have only the space your rear end takes up and the feet area below you. Anything else is someone else's space and if you even think you can lay down, you are clearly not prepared for our type of a road trip.
I usually start off driving and David briefly goes over the rules. "What word is off limits kids"? Everyone almost in unison respond with, "Stop". This word is the biggest bad mood trigger of any road trip. You all know the word. It is a simple word but can be drawn out into the familiar "sttoooopppppp'. Or the snotty "stop". My kids always say it loud enough for me to hear and I know they secretly do it to get the sibling into trouble and to get me involved. There are not many rules but if your electronic makes any noise you need to have a headset. The driver controls the music and although you may not like the music choice you can request that the music be moved to the front speakers.
The Mott's have all been blessed with large and hearty bladders. Our stops are few and my riders are hardcore. We have had to use an empty McDonald's cup until we could safely exit an expressway. We have had to pull over on side roads and open up a door for someone. Team Mott always seems to stand behind the Mott who is in distress and will support them with jokes and anything to make them laugh.
We do not have anyone who gets car sick on Team Mott and that has proved to be very valuable when traveling through mountains and the winding roads. Snacks are always in the very back along with a cooler and they all know that we spread the snacks out and you need a healthy one every once in awhile. I always pack a bag of chargers and mini ipods that I fill with various kinds of music. The little's share them and enjoy listening to music. If the road trip is long enough I will load up the portable movie players and set them up in the far back row. 2 screens that play the same movie and you can only watch movies if you sit in the far back. Eamon and Liam have their laptops and they are often doing homework, reading or watching a movie on their laptop....if they have enough battery.
Outlets are a premium with all who need them. We have a regular plug in the second row along with a cigarette lighter plug that can light up 2 phones. The front seat has 2 cigarette lighter outlets so we often have several of the 8 foot cords coming out of the front row and trailing to the back somewhere. Mom and Dad get priority charging and will share their outlets when necessary. When stopping for gas David will always ask, "what credit card am I using today"? I am always strategically using cards based on what incentive they are offering at the time. When we traveled out west Gap was offering 10x bonus points for gas in August. Upon arrival home I received 300.00 in Gap gift cards for the kids fall clothing line up.
David will usually pump the gas and the kids know it is housekeeping time. We will collect all trash and move it forward and out. The cooler is opened and drinks are offered along with a fill up of ice and a plug pull to empty out all the water. We usually get coffee so I will run in and get 2 coffees. The stop is quick but very productive. The snack bin is also raided at this point and everyone is ready to hit the road again.
The kids make their own choices as to where they sit and to whom they sit next to. The most desired seats are the second row window seats. I usually will not get involved in seating assignments. I tell them to figure it out and they often do. I also do not give up the front seat. I am the mom and I have earned my seat in the front row. I'm not into the equal opportunity idea and share the front seat.
I do a good amount of the driving on our road trips. I don't mind driving but more importantly, David is a much better navigator than I. I will do all the city driving while David gets us to where we need to go. Our trip to Washington DC was especially stressful because of trying to navigate such a busy city. We drove into the City each day we were there and he did an amazing job finding the sites and places to park.