Road trips and Ranch Dressing

Let me start by saying that road trips and ranch dressing don’t mix.

That’s the punch line, but you have to hear the whole story to know just why it’s funny.

This past weekend, my older son and I took a road trip across Texas.   Armed with a camera and a bag of healthy snacks, the plan was for the two of us to take a bunch of photos for his fourth grade school project on Texas history.

There were a lot of little things that went wrong, but we had a great time anyway.

roadtrip and ranch dressing

Don’t hate us, but the weather was amazing.

Yes, I know it’s January.  But this is Texas.  We had afternoon highs in the mid sixties with clear blue skies and low humidity.   It’s weather like this that makes me throw my kids out of the house and lock the doors just to make them be outside.

We made an unplanned stop at one of my favorite spots in all of Texas.  Pedernales Falls State Park.

That’s where things got interesting.

When we stopped, I realized I had texts from my mom and my husband checking on me.  Nothing major, just those “are you still alive and ok” kind of texts.

At the top of the canyon at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas

At the top of the canyon at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas

Somehow, they both get nervous when they know I’m on the road unsupervised.   They know me so well.

I was fine, but I couldn’t tell them that.  My phone had zero bars.  Nada.  Not even a text message.

If you’ve ever been to Pedernales (and you remember that I just had knee surgery) you know what a crazy thing I did next.  I tossed some healthy snacks into a backpack and headed down to the falls with my son.

Looking down the canyon at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas

Looking down the canyon at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas

The only way down to the falls is to hike.  The only way down into the canyon is to climb over and around giant rocks.

If another adult had been there I probably would have stayed at the top because of my knee.  But that wasn’t an option.  It was just me and my son.  I went.

Come on mommy! I know you can do this.

Every time I paused to think about my footing, my sweet son encouraged me.

Mommy, you can do this.

He wouldn’t let me quit.

Mommy, you’ve been losing weight and getting stronger.  You can do this.

And I did.

IN  the canyon at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas

IN the canyon at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas

When we got to the bottom, we had our healthy snack.  Carrot sticks and skinny ranch dressing never tasted so good.

Watty played around in the sand and found some treasures.  He scrambled over some extra rocks.  He chased bugs across the rocks.

It was beautiful.

IN  the canyon at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas

IN the canyon at Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas


Yes, I climbed up there.

Yes, I climbed up there.


more canyon

climbed there too!



One last look at we left.

One last look at we left.


The climb back up was uneventful.  It wasn’t until I reached into the backpack for the car keys that things went wrong.

I have one of those fancy electronic keys.  My car has push button start.

My fancy electronic key was covered in ranch dressing.

Not just a little bit either.  You pretty much couldn’t see the key.

The lid to the ranch dressing had popped off somewhere on the trip back up the canyon.  For some unknown quantity of time, my electronic key had been wallowing in ranch dressing.

My first thought?

Oh great.  I’m hundreds of miles from home.  My husband’s going to LOVE this phone call if the car won’t start.

Followed by

Can I even get into the car if the key won’t work?

Followed by

Oh crud.  No bars.  No cell signal.  No way to get help.

My son saw the look on my face and knew that I was worried.  He took one look at the key and understood exactly why.  He looked at me with his eyes wide and said

I guess road trips and ranch dressing don’t mix.

After we both giggled, I took the key into the bathroom and did my best to wash off the ranch dressing without getting water into the key.

Then I held it under the blow dryer thingy for hands and tried to make sure it was dry.

That’s when I remembered that there was some weird little mechanical key buried inside of the key.  I have no idea where I would use it in my car, but it’s there.

Apparently Ford engineers plan for ranch dressing catastrophes.


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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. I am impressed that Ford has contingencies in place for ranch dressing emergencies with their keys. Genius!
    I have to admit, I was tearing up with your son encouraging you to hike and climb…AND YOU DID IT!! Aw!! I have a feeling even without the “ranch dressing incident” this was going to be an outing you two would never forget! –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Move Over Miley Cyrus…There’s A Dose Girl In TownMy Profile

    • I don’t think it’s listed in the manual under “ranch dressing emergency” but it should be!
      My son totally blew me away this weekend. He was amazing. I’d never seen him as an encourager until this weekend and was thrilled to see that side of him emerge.

  2. I think it’s one of the coolest things as a parent seeing your children start to emerge as young adults. It’s great having young children, but once you see their personalities come out and start to see the people they’re becoming it’s amazing. That’s really what it sounded like as your son encouraged you to accompany him on the hike. Great story, and beautiful pics! Thanks for sharing!

  3. And at last Mommy did this. Your son is encouraging and cute. It was interesting to read this story about road trip. Thanks for sharing this.
    Anurag Kumar recently dslr camera bags online in indiaMy Profile

  4. In our household, road trips are our favorite family bonding.
    Shaun Hoobler recently dev centerMy Profile

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