Friday, December 30, 2011

Jealous? Then Plan.

I was clicking through Schemer the other day looking for new adventures; with and without the kids.  One person posted "travel by car through 21 states in 40 days".  While I don't have that exact wish, we do love to road trip and I plan on conquering our own United States (and Canada) before we start traveling internationally.  I added that idea to my to-do list and realized that the person had posted a blog link.  I clicked on over to GeekDad prepared to read about this adventure a man had with his two children.  I kept reading and was quite surprised to find that a mother had written the article on GeekDad and more surprising than that; she had taken the kids on their 40 day adventure by herself (minus 2 weeks when her husband joined them).

I started pouring over her blog to figure out how exactly she accomplished this feat alone.  I do quite a bit of road tripping just me and the kids; but its exhausting, and boring.  But since this is something I truly aspire to and Caskey just doesn't have the 40 days to be out of work I am going to start working on  achieving this quest.

I am quite amazed that she was able to accomplish this feat.  Quite frankly I am jealous.  So in order to make myself feel better I enumerated the ways she was able to make it work that will not work for me.

1. She only has 2 children and they are aged 10 and 7.  That means they potty, bathe and carry their own bags.  They are also far more capable of understanding "hold on" and "pee now, the next rest stop is in 3 hours".

2. Her and the kids are able to squeeze into one hotel room.  

3. She has tons of family and friends through out her route which enabled her to save on hotels and a place to land for a few days (including laundry facilities).

But I am not about to let the size of our family or age range stop us.  But a few minor things will need to happen to make us successful.  

The kids needs to grow up a little.  Traveling for that long with 2 really little kids is a recipe for disaster.  Perhaps when Eleanor is 3 years old we can tackle a really long road trip, until then we will stay a 2 day drive from home.

The Monster Van needs some upgrades.

This week we took a 3 day trip to Las Vegas.  We traveled 'light', no swim gear or winter gear.   But even so I had a large over-filled shoulder bag, toiletry bag, play pen, box of toys and books, my purse and my laptop.  I can't imagine having to lug around luggage for 10 days for 7 people - that is 70 outfits!

-My solution to this is installing a dresser in the trunk of the Monster Van.  I would then put all the clean clothes in the dresser (drawers will be much easier to organize and easier to find things).  Then each night I arrive at a hotel I will gather the clothes we will need for the duration of our stay (one or two nights) and put them in a small duffle bag.  I was thinking I need a drawer dedicated solely to food as well.  I like to have healthy snacks on hand, but don't want to be shopping every day.

-We will also need better lighting in the van so I can root around for all the clothes and dropped toys.

- Entertainment for me.  It is incredibly boring and tiring for me to drive many miles by myself.  Although we have separate entertainment systems for the front and back of the van I don't have any media I can use.  Its great when I can tune into talk radio, but most of the time its static or I am distracted fiddling with the radio.  I have my favorite music, but I have memorized the playlist and it puts me to sleep.  I wonder if I can save books on tape to a thumb drive.  I bet a good book would make the corn fields of Kansas more appealing.

- A plan!  I am getting started on that now, thanks to Google Maps.  I will be mapping all of my must-see sights.  Then I will be able to group them into one or two or four different trips.  

+Caskey Dickson here is your Monster Van to do list.

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