Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

Cures for the “Are We There Yet?” Syndrome and Cabin Fever

From above smiling ethnic boy and girl in casual outfits sitting fastened in passenger seats with ukulele during road trip together

Many articles of mine refer to the numerous trips and vacations taken by my family while my sister and I were growing up. My father was a veritable nut about going places. But neither my sister nor I were all that gung-ho about traveling, especially by car. When I wasn’t sleeping to pass the time, all I could ever say was: “Are we there yet?” or “I’m bored” or “How much farther?” If I said those things once, I must have said them a million times! Back then, air travel for families hadn’t really been “invented” yet. Even if it were available, we would not have been able to afford it.
We didn’t have a lot of what would today be referred to as “disposable income”. So, we went by car. My mom saved pennies for a whole year to help pay for motels. Our air conditioning was an open window, and all the roads were two-laners with little traffic. The Interstate Highway system was still years away.

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Games for Road Trips

My sister and I often occupied ourselves with a car game called Zit Zingo (a sort of road bingo where one needed to locate certain objects seen along the way). We also practiced our reading skills by reading all of the Burma Shave signs and billboards along the roads. And I got pretty good at reading road maps. That was about it. And sometimes it got pretty boring. To be sure, we did have fun. But it was a different kind of fun, since AM radio was the extent of available technology.

Today’s world is very different, but one thing remains the same: families still travel. It makes no difference whether you’re traveling from Toledo to Toronto, from Indianapolis to International Falls, or just trying to pass the time on a rainy day in your cabin or tent. There is a lot more available today to keep everyone from becoming bored.

Other Options

My first suggestion would be an audio book or two. Available through Audible, iTunes, or SiriusXM and other online sources, audio books can be informative as well as educational and entertaining. They work well for those evenings or rainy days when flashlight tag is not possible. Hook up the iPod or a thumb drive to your speakers and let the whole family listen!

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Even though it was a great car game, a slightly different version of Zit Zingo is still available. And although many prefer it, there are lots of better alternatives. Most are less distractive to the driver than movies in the car. However, check out our list of car and other games to help everyone pass the time. Many people are taking their personal electronic devices along on vacations.

New, Higher Tech

The good news is that many destinations now offer WiFi. Consider using a streaming device like a Roku or a Fire TV Stick to take with you on vacation to stream your favorite movie at night in your room or cabin. Add a bowl of popcorn and it’s just like being at the movies, only cheaper!

Stick It to Cable & Dish!

If you prefer high-tech radio, try SiriusXM. Most new cars come with it already installed and marine radios with SiriusXM are now available; reception is available anywhere. But it all makes for a multitude of possibilities. Whether you’re on the lake, in a tent, in a cabin or on the road, there are now lots of available options! Our favorite is the Old Time Radio channel and the great stories from yesteryear. Hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl

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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl