Road Trip Economics - Live Like a Mensch
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Live Like a Mensch

Road Trip Economics

On Saturday, J and I packed LO in the car and drove the 2+ hours north to Chicago.  We both love the city and haven't been there since the peanut was born, so we wanted to take the time to enjoy some of the fun that Chicago can offer small town Hoosiers like ourselves.  Unfortunately, road trips are not cheap.  Here is a breakdown of our costs for the one-day trip to the Windy City:

Tickets to the Museum of Science and Industry, plus special tickets to the visiting Dr. Seuss exhibit: $40

Fershtunkiner "convenience charge" for buying said tickets online which turned out to be worth it because it meant we didn't have to wait in a miles-long line for tickets: $4

Tolls there: $5

"Boy, maybe we should stop at McDonald's because we thought to bring snacks for the baby but it didn't occur to us to make some turkey sandwiches for ourselves for the road, how dumb are we?": $6.25

Caffeinated beverage for tired parents after several hours of science museum fun on top of a night when the munchkin didn't want to sleep plus a two hour car ride wherein said munchkin caught up on the sleep he missed but said tired parents were driving and talking and so energies were flagging: $2.75 (That was for one 20 oz cola, by the way).

"You have got to be flipping kidding me!" parking charges for the Museum parking garage: $18

Snacks to hold us over for the hour and a half wait time between when we arrived at Giordano's ("Famous Stuffed Pizza") and when our table/pizza would be ready: $1.52  (Officially the best bargain of the day!)

Snacks to feed the baby when we realized we'd left the remainder of his peanut butter sandwich in the car in the second overpriced parking garage and he unexpectedly woke up from what we believed would be an epic nap since he'd tuckered himself out with science museum fun but the nap didn't even last until we made it into the restaurant so we needed to feed the child pronto: $2.09

Large deep dish pizza with mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes, plus two Cokes since neither of us are night owls and it had been a long day and we still had a drive home, plus tip, although we probably could have gotten a smaller pizza considering we still have a mountain of Thanksgiving leftovers to eat through let alone enormous slices of pizza, but I believe J is regarding this as a fun personal challenge: $44

Overpriced downtown parking garage that wasn't nearly as bad as we feared: $10

Tolls home: $5

Gas, which is a little difficult to determine since we started with a fairly full tank and we still had just under a quarter tank left over after the backing and forthing to Chicago so without having to gas up it can be tough to figure out how much you spent on gas but here's my best guess based on the last time I filled the tank:  $36.00 or so

(Gas, which the mechanical engineer specializing in internal combustion engines with whom I live insists that I should figure out mathematically by adding the 300 miles of highway driving to the 20 miles of city driving at the rate of 30 miles per gallon times the price of $3.50 per gallon which comes out to pretty darn close to my guesstimation you'll notice: $37.33)

Carefully packing our camera bag to make sure we record the memories of this fun family outing for years to come and then forgetting said camera bag on the living room floor despite the fact that I personally ran back into the house five (and I mean that number literally) times because of something else that I forgot before we were on our way Saturday morning and thereby having no pictures of this wonderful day whatsoever:  PRICELESS!



Gary said:

Still sounds like a worthwhile family memory!

November 29, 2011 9:26 AM

RAO said:

I too was at the MSI on Saturday! - I'm only an hour away and gas was $20 (included picking up/dropping off my mom and nephew).  renewed a lapsed membership, which was $180 and therefore has become a Christmas present for the kids (4)- there are cheaper memberships but this covers parking and allows for extra guest.  BTW - museum memberships can often be used at similar museums in other cities - I have used mine at a museum in Denver (free) and Yale Peabody (1/2 price).  My sister sprung for the Chicago-style deep dish (from My Pi, thanks sis!) which we ate at her house and was delicious.  I enjoy reading your blog and find it funny we did the same things on the same day.  

November 29, 2011 9:47 AM

Emily Guy Birken said:

@RAO, thanks so much for the kind words!  I wonder if we were ever at the same exhibit at the same time.  I was the one with two mechanically inclined guys who look remarkably alike and a stroller.

November 29, 2011 2:17 PM

RAO said:

I was the one scolding 4 active/wandering boys (includes my nephew) and one 14 yo daughter that wanted nothing to do with them.  Glad to be out of the stroller days - it was really crowded.

November 29, 2011 3:21 PM

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