We agreed on a budget and a few things we'd like to have and set out, deciding to take the long, scenic way up into the foothills of the Cevennes mountains to reach our destination. The only thing was, the winding and climbing along the scenic route didn't agree with the Littlest.
He announced, "I'm going to throw up!" as we zipped around yet another roundabout and P-Daddy lead-footed the gas, shifting like a Grand Prix driver to tackle another hill.
As in previous times, like when I got my diesel confused with my gasoline, my dogged determination of mind over matter made me reply to this straight forward warning with, 'No you're not. You'll be fine.'
Until he wasn't. And the big kids started howling and we were all in a real, fine mess.
P-Daddy whipped the car off the road and up another hill so we could survey the damages. And there were damages.
The Littlest's shorts, shirt and sandals sustained the most. His sad face a message that this time none of my mind over matter mattered at all.
We emptied everyone out and stripped him down. Of course I didn't have a change of clothes. No wipes or paper towels either. Not even a scrap of tissue could we find to dab away at the replay of his breakfast.
I used his shirt, folded over and soiled, wiping off the seats and making things bearable until we could get to a grocery store to buy the necessary supplies; bleach wipes, baby wipes, new clothes.
The Littlest sat there in nothing but his Buzz Lightyear underwear, damp seat belt stretched across his little tummy, smile and happiness restored. It was probably cooler that way.
Our first reaction was to turn back, cut our losses and head home. But after buying a brand new pair of shorts and a t-shirt, wiping down everything yucky, and dousing soiled sandals and clothes in bottled water, we thought we were tough enough to continue on. We still had a picnic to eat. And vintage glass seltzer bottles to buy. Heck, it was only 10 am.
Back on the road, we climbed and turned and stopped whenever he said he felt sick. I certainly learned that lesson. He was fine from then on, thankfully, and the subsequent quick stops never came to anything other than a roadside wee.
It took us 30 minutes to get through Saint Ambroix, the small village just outside of our destination of Barjac. It was the perfect storm. One main street through the village, yearly village fête celebrations and weekly market day--the French summer traffic trifecta.
We. Must. Buy. Old. Stuff.
On we went.
When we arrived in Barjac, it was midi. Lunchtime. And hot as all get out.
The vendors were enjoying lunch under any patch of shade they could find. Sitting at their antique tables, drinking wine and eating big salads of melon and cured ham, pizzas, chicken legs and sausages.
They weren't interested in helping us find old stuff on their lunch hour. So we found our own spot of shade and had our picnic of sandwiches, chips, watermelon, yogurt and sugary crusted waffles in a nearby playground. That was the highlight of the Barjac festival of antiques for us.
We found nothing. We bought nothing. Our hearts just weren't into looking at old stuff in the baking heat of a southern French August day. And so we took some photos, bought some water and headed home.
Until...P-Daddy discovered that our homeward route was taking us conveniently close to the mothership of Côtes du Rhône wines, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. What would it add to zip by there and buy some wine?
Only 30 minutes, really? Well, we have no choice do we?
And so we drove across the Rhone, windows down, warm air humming and cicadas scratching while all three children lay splayed across each other in the backseat, mouths open in that exhausted summer sleep only kids can fall into, into the village of Châteuneuf-du-Pape.
We took some more pictures, tasted some red wine and in ten minutes flat, spent the entire amount of our vintage budget on two cases before we were back on the road, headed south on the A9 for home.
Hot, sticky, sweaty and exhausted. A road trip. Priorities highlighted.
Wine, yes. Old stuff, not so much.