Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Countdown to Take Off!!!

Wow- I just looked at the calendar and the countdown is on. In a few short weeks, my kids and I will be heading off on our southwest adventure- two kids and a tent for 5 weeks in the desert. A few people have given us the big eyed look of concern as if no woman has ever driven a car more than 100 miles away from home, but mostly we are blessed with positive people who have offered tips, prayers, and loans of camping gear.
Now that I can actually see the take off day is in the very near future, I'm realizing how very much there still is to be done:
There's the pre-trip maintenance for the car. Oil change, tires and let's hope nothing else. I didn't get the nice mini motor home I originally envisioned for my cross country travels, but since the price of gas is rising like crazy, that's OK. Besides, I'll be driving myself most of the way, and I'm not sure how relaxing it would be to drive a big old beast. I could just picture myself forgetting the overhead height and taking out a Starbucks drive-thru.
I didn't get the super cool camper van that was my second plan either, but if I wait for a new vehicle to happen, then I may never get to go anywhere. So, we'll be going in my trusty old Volvo wagon, and it will be just fine.

We really need to set up and check out the tent that will be our home, and see if it is up for this trip, or if we need a new one. It needs to STOP RAINING for us to do this though! It also needs to stop raining in order for me to live in a tent for a month. I've done the whole wet, cold camping thing, and while maybe I gained some kind of character building skills, mostly, I think it stinks. I'm really hoping for nice warm, dry weather for this journey.
We could also use some more maps to help us figure out where we are and where we're going. We got some a while ago, but we wrote all over them in our planning phase, and they are impossible to refold now in any case. AAA membership rocks, if for the free maps alone. I'm thinking my kids will be map reading and navigational masters by the end of this adventure- this may not be on the state educational standards, but is a really useful life skill. I have to remember to renew the AAA membership too, since it  expires while we're on the road, and it's been known to come in handy on long distance car trips.
I also better stock up on food for the cats, dogs, chickens and goats so the animals on my little farm / petting zoo don't have to resort to eating each other while I'm gone. Dear Husband will be caretaker here during my absence, but I think the animals are most likely to actually get fed the right food if he has the supplies on hand.
Then, there's some homeschool projects, miscellaneous forms for contests my kids are entering, and a bunch of other assorted odds and ends to wrap up connected with work and life.
The list goes on and on, and actually, when I think too much about it, I start having heart palpitations. I'm trying to develop one of those zen type "whatever is meant to be done, will get done" attitudes, but it's not coming very naturally. On the bright side however, I'm really excited at how much my kids and I are learning as we prep for this trip.
Girl Child is my planner and has been previewing museums and parks online and noting stops that are "must see" and those that are rated "maybe." Being members of our local science museum gets us in to dozens of others for free, which always saves us a ton, and lets go to lots more places than we would otherwise spring for. We do still need to get a National Parks pass for the trip- there's another thing to add to my list.
Boy Child is busy downloading music like crazy so even when we are in desolate desert, we'll have tunes with us. He's also trying to figure out how many Legos, board games and assorted pieces of sports equipment he can fit in the car.
Between my running around tying up loose ends, and checking out campgrounds, I'm feeling very excited, a little nervous and mostly really, really, really looking forward to time away from classes, meetings, and schedules. I can't say I'll be getting away from driving, because I'll be driving across half the country, but at least I can stop when I want, and for the most part, I won't have to rush around to be places at a certain time.
My kids seem to be ready for a break too. The last couple of months somehow took on that insane kind of schedule that many of America seems to keep, but just plain wears our family out. I may not be doing the best job at prepping them for a future life of crunching numbers in a cubicle, but I think I'll be OK with raising free spirited adventurers.
As usual, I'd prefer to pass on the gloom and doom, but would welcome any positive advice for spending a month in a tent, traveling with kids or the best of the south west.