It's the week after the holidays, nerves are frayed, and Adam and Kristina are to get everything organized for the big family road trip to see Grandma Blanche. They're at each other's throats, while Max is cluelessly engrossed in a video game with the volume up full-blast. Why would Zeek want to go on a road trip to see his mother for her birthday when he doesn't even like her? After repeated, ignored requests to turn off the game, Kristina finally shuts it down herself, drawing the wrath of Max. He's been working on that level for days, and now he's lost everything! Max throws a pillow at Kristina and calls her a bitch. Kristina flushes, promising Max that he's punished. When he says, "Yeah, right," she holds onto her guns tighter, and lays down the law: Max will not be going on the family road trip. Across town, Drew stumbles into the cottage, only to hear and see his mom having sex with Mr. Cyr. In shock, Drew turns and runs. Julia gets a last-minute call from work. She's going to have to write a brief while on the road.
Pacing and anxious, Zeek tells Camille to hurry up, it's almost time to get on the road. Camille diplomatically asks if he's sure he wants to go through with the trip; after all they've never made such a production for any other of his mother's birthdays. Zeek vacillates, but it's clear that he's thinking his mother won't be around forever, due to a recent fall when she injured her hip. Adam's upset to learn about Kristina's punishment of Max and tries to talk her out of it, since it means that neither she, nor Max, nor baby Nora will go on the road trip. Kristina insists that this is one time she has to follow through on a punishment. Adam finally relents; he gets it, but Zeek is going to freak out. Kristina advises him to use his time on the road to concentrate on bonding with Haddie, since she'll be going off to college soon.
Crosby and Joel are helping Zeek secure his mother's birthday gift - an expensive La-Z-Boy chair - to his pick-up bed when Adam pulls up with his bad news. He's right, Zeek can't understand why Kristina, Nora and Max can't come. Zeek hands out maps, itineraries, and mission-specific-use-only walkie-talkies. Everyone gives him a hard time - can't they just use their cell phones? Zeek orders the unruly troops into line, warning them to have their lunch orders ready by the time they stop at the diner. Pretty soon, the Braverman wagon train, comprised of four cars, is on the road. Adam's disappointed that Haddie is completely engrossed in texting her friends with little attention to pay him. In another car, Crosby leads Jabbar and Sydney in a sing-along, driving Julia crazy. Just as she turns down the music, Sarah chimes in on the walkie-talkie. Amber and Sarah are having a grand old time, but Drew is remaining mostly silent in the back seat.
Max continues to berate Kristina, telling her how the situation is mean and unfair. Meanwhile, Camille tries to talk Zeek down, hoping to avoid the disappointment he always feels when visiting his mother, but he won't stand for it. Once the Braverman clan reaches the diner, chaos rules. Zeek asks Crosby to watch the chair in the bed of the pickup to make sure no one steals it. Finding Adam in the bathroom, Zeek lays into him about Max's punishment. Adam should call Kristina and put his foot down. Adam explains that it's not 1950 and he doesn't do that sort of thing; Zeek needs to give him a break. They're sticking with Max's punishment. Back at the table, Camille explains Zeek's issue with his mother: she wasn't very supportive. She didn't help him believe he's special, so he still needs her approval. Zeek is annoyed to walk in on the conversation, but before long his attention is on a much more important issue - the chair is gone!
Before long the whole family is assembled in the parking lot, waiting while Zeek files his police report. Now what's he going to bring his mother for her birthday? A switchblade? Drew tells Amber that he saw Sarah having sex this morning, and that's why he's so sullen. Mark calls and Sarah tries to play it cool, but her lovey-dovey talk just makes Drew squirm and furrow his brow. Meanwhile, Max's punishment is starting to take its toll on Kristina. Having cleaned his room, Max wants to know if they can go on the trip now, but Kristina sticks to her guns. At a road stop, Haddie tells Adam to give her $10 so she can buy a '70s CD. Peeved, Adam gives her the money, archly claiming it's so she can do something else besides talking to him - and if he has to explain himself, it's not worth talking about. She hasn't said two words to him the whole trip. When Haddie accuses her dad of being a jerk, he reminds her that she's leaving for college in six months, and hands her a $20.
Zeek asks for Camille's approval on a hat for his mom, while Sarah buys Amber and Drew hats. When Sarah remarks that the new hat hasn't cheered up Drew, Amber spills the beans, devastating Sarah when she finally catches on. Gross! What's she supposed to do now that Drew saw her having sex? Even though she's "enlightened," Amber doesn't know the answer to this question, because even she's grossed out. Meanwhile, Max sets the table, having made dinner - a bowl of carrots - which further wears away Kristina's resolve. Luckily for the rest of the family, they've reached their initial destination, the motel where they'll stay the night. Zeek's still unhappy that Kristina, Max and Nora aren't with them. And why are the kids acting like they're doing him a giant favor? He's not happy when Julia explains the trip was on kind of short notice and they all worked hard to be able to come. Zeek tells his kids they suck, then heads off to bed. Camille follows.
The next morning, the Braverman kids wake up to learn that Zeek has already checked out and left. Neither Zeek nor Camille are answering their cell phones - and that's because Zeek won't let Camille answer hers. He doesn't want the kids on the trip anymore, and he doesn't want them to think he's making them do it. Let 'em learn a lesson for crying out loud! Joel, Julia, Crosby, Adam and Sarah have a family meeting. They don't like being told they suck - where's the appreciation of all they've done to come on the trip!? When Adam proposes that they don't follow Zeek, everyone decides they're ready to go home. Back in Berkeley, Kristina finds a depressed Max moping in his bedroom. He's still pouty and sullen, but he has learned a lesson - he can't call Kristina names.
Back on the road, Haddie apologizes to Adam for not paying attention to him. She admits that she's so used to being around him she hasn't let herself think about not seeing him, because it's scary to think she's going to be like an adult. She wants Adam to know that she IS having fun with him. Is this how Adam feels about his parents? Feeling guilty, Adam pulls over. It turns out that everyone but Sarah is feeling guilty, so the wagon train turns around and heads back in the direction they came, towards grandma's once again. At the same time, Camille and Zeek arrive at Blanche's house, but no one's answering the door. Zeek immediately expects the worst and tries to break down the door, but it's open, though Blanche is nowhere to be seen. Camille finds her schedule, which indicates Blanche is at a bridge game right now. Zeek is in the middle of blowing his stack when a taxi pulls up containing Kristina, Max and Nora - surprise!
Camille congratulates Kristina for flying by herself with a three-month-old and immediately takes the baby. Kristina admits she had a beer on the plane, which helped, and asks Zeek what happened. He explains that his life purpose is family, so he wanted to share his family with his mother. When the kids seemed reluctant, he got angry and pretty much screwed the whole thing up. Kristina can't believe it. Zeek didn't screw anything up. Coming from a really screwed-up family, Kristina knows Zeek should be proud of his wonderful, weird and great family. She's so lucky to be a part of it; they've always treated her like a daughter, and always been there for her. He's a good dad and a good man. Just then a golf cart pulls up with Blanche, back from her bridge game. She didn't forget they were coming, but figured they'd be late - traffic's a bitch in the afternoon. Within minutes, the whole family pulls up, and it's one big Braverman birthday party. Despite the fact she spent $500 on airfare, Adam's delighted to see his wife. For his part, Zeek's delighted that his family came through for him.The family gathers in the living room to open Grandma Blanche's gifts, and true to her reputation, she's not the warmest person in the world. Zeek wanders off to stew in his emotions. Sarah pulls Drew away to talk about what he saw this morning, a subject he really doesn't want to talk about. Ever. She understands how uncomfortable the situation is, but people are just people, and moms do have sex. Maybe Drew needs more time? He does. Right now, he really doesn't want to hug. Back inside, Grandma Blanche holds court. She's very independent, though it would be nice to see some people more often. Her birthday has been great, except for the fact that Zeek, of course, forgot a present and had to pick up that hat at a rest stop. He's always been forgetful. Maybe that's why he never stayed in one job for very long, always moving from place to place. Crosby reminds Blanche that Zeek can hear him, then explains what happened with the recliner - which was all Crosby's fault.
Blanche finds Zeek on the porch, staring at the moon. When he claims nothing's wrong, she tries to smooth over the chair situation - what would she do with a big recliner anyway? Zeek admits it's not the chair... every day, he always made sure to tell his kids that he loved them. He wanted it to be clear. When Blanche hurt her hip, he knew he had to get his kids up to visit. They're the best thing he's done in his life, and he wanted her to see that. Blanche agrees, the kids are beautiful, and she does love him. He's her baby. Eyes are teary as Blanche grabs for a big hug.
The next morning, the Bravermans hit the road bright and early, heading back home. Everyone stops off at a scenic overlook to take in California's breathtaking beauty. Life is good.