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When Nature Calls, We Hit the Road

When I was a child, growing up in the 60’s, vacations were spent in the back of a Buick. The destination seldom mattered. Because my memories are marred by the beginning and end of the vacation. Spent in the back of the Buick. For days and days. Since seatbelts were years away from invention, my brother and I often fought with the cat over who go to lay on the floorboard or across the back window. The actual seat was seldom needed.

We drove from Ohio to Texas. And then from Texas back to Ohio. And once, we drove from Ohio to Niagra Falls. Just to change things up a bit.

But one thing that left an indelible impression, was how few gas stations there actually were between Texas and Ohio. Dad would fill up the Buick, and we wouldn’t see another station for a time zone. Or two.

And this was unfortunate because I was cursed with an itty bitty pea sized bladder.

When my brother, the cat, and I would need a pit stop, we would holler up to my parents the need to pee. I often, unhappily, would need to wait until my brother and the cat needed to stop. Because the likelihood of them pausing just for my miniature bladder alone was not good.

In case you’re wondering, the cat wore a harness. And peed in the grass just like any other dog would do. She had no idea she was a cat.

As you well know, boys are blessed with the ability to pee while vertical. Thusly avoiding the unpleasant backsplash.

I was never able to manage the art of peeing on the side of the road. Without tinkling on my lacy socks and having a nervous breakdown. Just the thought of it horrified the dignified, prissy, and modest side of me.

This is perhaps the number one reason that I will not frequent a campsite that doesn’t boast of running water and a flushing toilet. I have very good friends who hike two miles to a remote campsite, carrying meager supplies. And a shovel. And they call it their vacation.

I call it hell on earth.

It’s difficult to understand what we could possibly have in common.

I’m not spoiled. I simply understand my limitations.

Because I’m not one to generally pass on my phobias to my children, when my girls were younger, I always carried a child’s potty chair in the back of the van. I’ve never made them squat on the side of the road. Although, somehow I’m pretty sure they would consider it an adventure.

On Saturday, while en route to the grandparent’s house, Jensen asked rather excitedly, “Is it okay if I pee-pee in my underwears?”


In the chaos of getting everyone ready, we had inadvertently forgotten to take a newly potty trained Jensen to the facilities. After he had consumed enough water to keep him hydrated until next week.

At the time, we were traveling on the Causeway. And the only thing that stood between our van, and plummeting to our death in the water below, was a thin aluminum guardrail.

In other words, pulling over was out of the question. Fiddledaddy pressed a bit harder on the gas pedal, prompting future police officer, Emme, to bellow from the cheap seats, “DADDY! YOU’RE SPEEDING!”

He really wasn’t. Honest. But we were traveling a little faster than the seagulls who were trying to keep pace with us.

When he was able to safely exit, he pulled into a rather affluent neighborhood. Affluent as in there was a yacht for each house. “What are you doing?” “The boy has to pee.” “Couldn’t you have picked a neighborhood with a guard gate too? And security cameras?”

He whipped the van into a deadend street. Facing the busy street from which we just exited. All around us were neon flashing “NO PARKING” signs. Well. They weren’t flashing. Or neon. But from the urgency in Police Officer Emme’s voice, they may as well have.


I, who was more concerned about my son’s over exposure, ran to the back of the van for a large beach towel. Jensen stood at the open door, while still in the van, and Fiddledaddy blocked all eyes by using himself as a human shield. And target, I might hasten to add.

At this point, I was behind Fiddledaddy, precariously perched above a largish drainage ditch, holding open a large brightly colored beach towel.

Which had sort of a beacon affect, and drew considerable attention to our plight.

Emme, meanwhile, was in the backseat making out her will.

Jensen rather enjoyed his first side of the road peeing experience. A little too much. Because, later at his grandparent’s house, he gleefully fertilized every blade of grass in the backyard.

I’m thinking that the family Fiddle might be ready for our first extended family road trip.

All we need is a cat.

27 Responses to When Nature Calls, We Hit the Road

  • LOL… That is TOO funny. 🙂 Thank you so much for the laugh this morning. 🙂

    I too remember those “road side pit stops”, and I never mastered how to do it gracefully, or without the back splash. Boys are so lucky… 🙂

  • bwahahahaha

    My parents always decided to pit-stop at some roadside rest stop, that was only a hole in the ground.

    Only once did I do that. After that, I learned really quickly to ‘hold it’, or not drink the entire trip.

  • Lol! Thanks for the laugh! And the reminder…. I think this family of itty-bitty bladders will just stay home for now, thankyouverymuch.

  • I just made a road trip with my sister and my mom. All of us have teeny, tiny bladders. We stopped, on the average, every single hour for the 13-hour trip. At least we all had to go! There was definitely no roadside peeing.

  • This was absolutely very entertaining! Love it!


  • Thanks for a good laugh! My own son has been caught dropping his pants right on the front lawn to pee. I do try to get him to do it in the backyard at least!

  • Speaking of bathroom spots… I was swimming at a friends inground pool and all of the sudden their 3 yr old daughter gets out of the pool, sits down on the landscape rocks surrounding the pool fence and pees in the rocks! I was speechless. But, hey at least she didn’t go in the pool?!

  • On one of my first dates with my husband, we were at the beach and I HAD TO GO! So, I went out into the woods a bit and did my business while squatting. Unfortunately, I mostly peed on the leg of my jeans.

    It was very romantic.

  • Thanks so much, I needed to laugh today!

    I remember family trips just like that, but my mom was a fanatic about seatbelts, I think it was mostly due to my brother’s need to stick his head out the window, good times!

  • I’ve gotta stop reading this site at the office. I just spewed Diet Pepsi on my computer screen which prompted a co-worker to come running to find out what was wrong …

    My memories of vacations in the 60’s are SO similar …

  • I am a weird female in that doing the squatty potty bothers me not in the least whit. I have done this even in Kazakhstan, with nationals nearby. It’s a gift.

  • I grew up with three brothers and we had lots of roadtrips – my dad’s solution was a “pee can” he welded together himself – it could be used in the van, emptied in the grass and washed well later! Somehow that never worked for me and I ALWAYS had to go LOL. As a mom of 5 boys (and one girl for whom this doesn’t work) may I suggest the updated “pee can;” an empty detergent bottle with a tightly fitting lid. Perfect travel potty for a boy, easy to wash out with bleach and has even been used in a moving vehicle during extreme emergencies LOL.

  • LOL!!

    I lost it when I read “Emme was making out her will”. That would so have been my daughter.

    I hated road trips as a kid (and still do actually) and so my fond memories are only of the destination, the rest of it I filed under “under don’t remember this because it could lead twitching”.

  • Oh, Dee Dee. I feel your pain!! My husband does the same thing…finds the fanciest neighborhood or restaurant for our boys to do their business in….

  • Empty water bottles are a must for boys!! Driving down the road no less! Put peeper in bottle and tell him to let it rip. This contains any need for a hosing so no targets are needed. I’m sure dude can’t fill a 16 oz bottle but just in case they come in even bigger sizes. Plus it has it’s own cap so no pee is spilled when done. No back side is exposed and handy when you can’t stop. So it’s all good in the hood.

  • Oh my goodness, thankfully we haven’t had to deal with this…yet!

  • That is awesome! On our 3-day road trip back home, our son (then 3) had to pee. We had taken a backroad (aka: No Potty Stop Drive). So, we told him he had to pee in the bushes. He didn’t want to.

    Until we pulled over and made him.

    Every ten minutes for the last 4 hours to our destination, we heard “I need ta pee in the bushes!!! Can we stop? I need ta pee in the bushes NOW!!!”



  • Oh. And he informed everyone he met after that that he “likes peein’ in the bushes!”

    He was upset that he couldn’t pee in the bushes forever, but had to settle for toilets. Took him awhile to reconcile himself.

  • Oh, this is hilarious! I have a tiny bladder, too, and my dad would never stop just for me! Too funny!

    Just this weekend, my friend’s 2 year old pulled down his swim shorts & started peeing at the side of the pond, so she whisked him away to go on a tree instead, and it was so funny. She heard me laughing, and I said, “I’m only laughing because that will be me in a couple years” – my little man is 8 months old! 🙂

  • Man, I missed you. And Jensen 🙂

  • I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants!
    Is it unusual to have so many commenters with teeny tiny bladders? Are we unconsciously drawn to your blog because we share this trait?
    When I was a teen I traveled with a church choir called The Brethren Bunch. But our pastor said we should have been called The Bladder Bunch ’cause he had to stop at EVERY SINGLE REST AREA.
    I still stop at almost every rest area while traveling. I can tell you all the good ones — and the bad ones!
    And gotta say, God Bless America! ‘Cause no other country does rest areas like we do 🙂

  • That is too funny!

    I remember road trips as a child and my parents would stop – only I refused to go anywhere that wasn’t somewhere I knew. So eventually, they stopped stopping!

    And I wonder why my kids are so finicky about where we stop on road trips. Like mother, like daughter and son.

  • So, so funny.

    I’m totally with you on the camping. Hell. on. earth.

  • Ha! Well, everyone needs a few “peeing in almost-public” stories, ya know?

  • We also use the empty water bottle method. Works great if you are stuck in traffic! The boys think its great fun and even ask to do it. Now if only we could train The Princess to do it once she is potty trained….

  • My parents had a bright blue Suburban back in the day when Suburbans were called “Crew Cabs.”

    So they filled the back bed with mattresses and covered sponge beds, and my brothers and I rode back there. Only there was no sliding window to the second seat for communication!

    No worries–my father strung a Radio Shack intercom system between the driver’s window and the back of the truck. That way we could communicate about rest stops. etc.

    And if he didn’t want to hear what we had to say, he had the master unit and would just turn it off.

    The frightening thing is that he still owns this “Crew Cab,” and my husband and I can see it parked in his driveway on Google Earth on any given day of the week.

  • We, too, traveled in a big old Buick for family road trips, usually back and forth between Tennessee and Florida. Parents in the 60s and 70s loved those Buicks, didn’t they?!

    I really enjoy your blog and always get a good laugh! Thanks!