Our First Day on the Road (and What We ACTUALLY Packed)

We did it! We made it out on the road, just a half-hour later than we had planned to leave. Not too bad, all things considered. Packing the car was . . . challenging. 
Here’s what we had to work with:

And here’s what it looked like once we had everything packed.

Well, almost. The camping lantern got tucked into that bottom right corner.

Borrowing from my last post, here’s how it all actually broke down in reality:
CARTOP CARRIER:
– Tent
– 5 self-inflating sleep mats
– 5 sleeping bags
– Beach umbrella
– 2 lawn chairs
– A couple of pillows
– Towels
BACK OF CAR:
– Crate 1: My clothes
– Crate 2: Havarti’s clothes
– Crate 3: The Muse’s clothes
– Crate 4: Dolittle’s clothes
– Crate 5: BoyWonder’s clothes (plus extra shoes)
– Crate 6: School stuff: curriculum, books, paper
– Crate 7: School stuff: games, legos, plastic animals, modeling clay, etc.
– Crate 8: Bathroom stuff
– Crate 9: Miscellaneous: Coffee grinder, French press (gotta have my coffee), Brita pitcher and filters, various spice cabinet basics, Wii (we debated this one, but it doesn’t take up much space and BoyWonder loves it so so much), vitamins/supplements, laundry soap, and a few other random things
– Crate 10: Cooler (not really a crate, but the same size slightly larger, making it BARELY fit while still being able to close the trunk) for transporting leftover food place to place
Also in the back:
– Violin
– Piano  (sadly couldn’t fit it in – had to leave it under the bed at Havarti’s house) 
– Havarti’s work bin (larger than a shoebox, but smaller than the crates)
– Havarti’s work monitor
– Printer (in box)
– Small game suitcase (holds checkers, chess, mancala, cribbage, backgammon, Yahtzee, and a deck of cards)
– Kids’ backpacks with books and activities for trip (set right behind their headrests for easy reach) (shoved up in the back wherever they would fit behind their seats, sort of within reach, but not really)
– Computer of whoever is driving at the moment
– Havarti’s and my small overnight bag (the kids will use their backpacks to hold their overnight clothes and toiletries during long drives where we have to stay someplace overnight)
– Camera (or maybe up front with me, we’ll see) (Yep, up front with me.)
– Beach umbrella
– Tripod
– Bag of The Muse’s violin music and portable music stand
– Camping lantern
– Dolittle’s fuzzy blanket she couldn’t live without
– One pillow
– Dolittle’s cardboard cylinder container with her big coloring posters (How did that moppet convince me to pack so many extra things?!)
WITH KIDS IN BACKSEAT:
– Dolittle’s enormous stuffed horse (after much debate, I caved – she promised she’d hold it the whole way) (and so far she has, without any complaint)
Pillows One pillow
– LeapPad
– DVD player (screens on backs of front headrests) (One screen went kaput right after we installed them. We’d used them for a couple of car trips without trouble. So the girls just shared one screen and tilted it so they both could see it
– iPad
– Cooler bag for car snacks (below BoyWonder’s feet)
WITH ME OR HAVARTI UP FRONT:
– Computer of whoever is not driving
– Purse
– Bag with my home management notebook, road atlas, extra clipboard/paper, a ridiculous number of notepads that I’ve apparently been hoarding without knowing it, pens/pencils, etc.
– iPhones with Pandora, Spotify, Audible, and various other audio gems for our listening enjoyment 
– Kindle
– Water bottles
– Ziploc Sandwich bags
– Tissue
I suppose it’s actually rather impressive that the only thing that didn’t fit from my original list was the piano. It was rather ambitious, anyway. I did hope that we’d end up having a little space at the top for rear-viewing, but it’s pretty much crammed right up to the ceiling. 
And here’s the fam just seconds before our departure:
Sorry about the squinty faces. The sun was glaring right at us. And looking at this picture, I think it may have been glaring with contempt for us being such pasty white folk. Holy moly, we’re going to blind the poor people at the beach in California. 🙂
See our cartop carrier up on top of the car? Havarti and I hauled it into the hotel with us. It’s pretty easy to get off. Getting it back on in the morning will be interesting. 🙂
The first day’s drive was fairly uneventful. We tried to stop in Iowa City to have lunch at Chipotle, but there was some big bike race happening downtown, so we ended up getting detoured all around it, couldn’t find any parking, lost a good 45 minutes, and decided to just make do with the snacks we had in the car.
In Omaha, we saw a wild turkey on the freeway. The FREEWAY! Just hanging out on the shoulder, like it was out for a Sunday stroll. So weird.
Speaking of weird, know what we fed our kids for dinner? Edamame and strawberries and ice cream bars from Trader Joe’s. I had sushi. And an ice cream bar. Havarti had a grilled chicken salad. And a couple of bites of The Muse’s ice cream bar. He’s so disciplined.
Thankfully, the hotel has a pool, so the kids got to blow off some steam after 9 hours of travel. Tomorrow we have many hours of driving through Nebraska to face. And unless we see some more wild turkeys playing chicken on the freeway, there probably won’t be much to say about that. I’ve driven across Nebraska before. After Lincoln, it’s a whole lotta nothin’. Like, seriously, nothing. 
I’m sure I won’t be posting every day of our trip, but I wanted to get our take-off day documented before it gets lost in the shuffle. I truly want to thank all of you for your prayers and good thoughts and supportive comments on Facebook and here. This whole thing is exciting and fun, but also hard and frustrating at times. It’s really helpful to have people encouraging us and getting excited along with us. I know that long road trips are always challenging, especially with children. They did really well today, considering. I’m sure the fun will outweigh the challenge once we’re able to settle down at our destination. 
Night night. Three more sleeps til California!

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 4

  1. Pingback: 10 Awesome Open-Ended Building Toys for Kids of All Ages | Motherhood and More

  2. Rene HP

    I started following your blog last month, I suggested learning to ‘coupon’ and taking advantage of Targets triple threats on one of your posts. Anyway, I am now reading and going to share this info with my hubby bcz possibly in March? ish, we will be relocating to CO from FL. We will be road tripping up to IL for a visit with family first, then on to CO. We have two doggies, medium sized, and apparently we have a similar SUV. But the kicker, (and its a lovable one) we have a 21 month old, (by the time of this trip, just a month over 2) We are looking at weather issues, and even though I am crafty in my ideas, and had planned to outfit a Uhaul trailer into a type of camper so we can bring the king size memory foam mattress we all crash on at some point in the night together but more specifically for the little ones after noon naps. sigh, but the cold might make it too daunting of a task to keep that aluminum trailer warm. So we are looking at MAYBE buying a small camper to tow. Anyway, your blog is refreshing to read, especially interested in the ideas about the trip. Take care and continue with a safe journey! Rene P.

  3. Mama Share

    I just found your blog and you make me LAUGH!!!!!!!!!! We are in Santa Cruz, CA and about to start our first year of homeschooling. Can’t wait to read more. Safe travels.

    The Lenz Nest

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