A good start. That’s what’s I’d call Sunday, the first day of the electronics-free vacation vacation my 11-year-old son and I are embarking upon.
I wrote about this experiment on Friday, saying I came up with this idea because I was tired of Connor burying his head in video games, movies and TV on our vacations. I said I had no idea how he would do – and how I would respond.
Thankfully, Connor kept himself occupied in the backseat of my pickup on our daylong drive from our home in Dallas to Amarillo, Texas. This is the first leg of a two-day trip to Durango, Colo., where we’re spending a few days in a lakeside cabin.
What did Connor do instead of play video games or watch movies on a DVD player?
He read a book – imagine! Granted, it wasn’t great literature. It wasn’t even so-so literature. It was a book, well, about a video game series called Halo. He loves the games, and he likes reading about the characters and the plots. I wasn’t crazy about his book choice, but I’d rather him read about video games than play them. His mind is more engaged.
Besides reading, Connor drew – again with a Halo theme. We stopped at a Walmart in Vernon, Texas, and bought some paper and pencil so he could sketch characters and scenes from Halo. Connor is a good artist – he’s won several school art contests – so I’m always glad to see him use his drawing talent.
We also listened to a music CD his 27-year-old sister had made for him. It’s a mix of a bunch of different bands. I’d never heard of any of the bands or songs, but the music was tolerable. I guess, technically, we violated our no-electronics rule. But we were engaged together in listening to the music, so I let it slide. Connor defended the music, while I said I was unimpressed with it.
The trip from Dallas to Amarillo is about 375 miles, mostly highway and mostly flat, uninspiring terrain. The beautiful scenery will have to wait until we get to Colorado. Trust me, it’s gorgeous where we’re staying: a picturesque lake surrounded by wooded mountains.
On Monday, we’ve got a longer driving day – about 500 miles. We got a late start today loading all our stuff into the truck, so we didn’t leave until 11 a.m.
Still, Amarillo is a good stopping point for the night. I’m lobbying to eat at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, a huge, Western-theme place that has a great gimmick: eat a 72-ounce steak in an hour and it’s free. The famous restaurant has more than a dozen billboards on the way to town, promoting the challenge.
I don’t intend to accept it (I’m not crazy), but the smaller steaks are pretty good. Connor and I stopped here once before. I’m not sure why, but he wants to eat somewhere else.
At this point, he’s earned the right to make the dining call. I’m relieved and proud of him that he managed a whine-free Day #1 of our electronics-free vacation. We still have four days left, so the experiment could blow up, and Connor could go into video game withdrawal.
But there’s a peacefulness about him that’s encouraging. It bodes well for a memorable Colorado vacation.
Photo courtesy of Halo’s Official Website.
To hear how the trip went day by day, read all of the articles:
- A vacation without video games or TV? Wish me luck
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #1: A Good Start
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #2: “I’m having a great time”
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #3: The whitewater rafting adventure
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #4: The highlight of the trip
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #5: A new discovery
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Conclusion: Success!