So last weekend was my (40th!) birthday. I had a great birthday and did many fun things and celebrated with lots of family and friends, and, in short, things were pretty crazy and our kitchen shelves STILL aren’t finished. So I’m taking a birthday blogging break sort of by default this week. Or at least a break from blogging about the house, because I thought I’d pop in with a few updates on our planning progress for The Big Road Trip. You know, the one that won’t happen for two more years, but that I spend a lot of time obsessing over anyway. I’m a planner. And an obsessor.
But here are a few reasons why one NEEDS to plan giant road trips years in advance.
1. Toddler Hiking Training: The older kids are pretty good these days about longish walks and hikes without complaining. But if I’m remembering right, it took them until they were six or seven to get there in most cases. Abe will only be four and a half on our big road trip, so we’re thinking we need to start toughening those little legs up now.
Hiking with Abe is….challenging at the moment. He mostly refuses to ride in the Ergo and wants to walk. But then, of course, he’s slow. And he stops a lot. And tells us that he needs to pee when he really doesn’t at all. Or that he wants lunch. When he already ate lunch. But I’m pretty sure pushing through this part of his toddlerhood and not giving up is the only way to get a four year old who can keep up with the big kids. So we’ve been trying to go for short hikes at least once or twice a week. This is, of course, good for the non-toddlers among us, too.
2. Bear Preparedness: A little story: a few weeks ago I was thinking about the big trip and possibly doing some camping on it, and I started to worry about being eaten by a bear. Because that just sounds terrible. So I googled bear attacks, in an attempt to reassure myself. “Surely,” I thought to myself, “people only get attacked by bears when they’re doing really stupid things.”
After an evening reading the Wikipedia entry that catalogs every single fatal bear attack in North America, I realized that this is not always true. An alarming number of the entries said things like, “Joe was sleeping in his tent in an established campground, and then a bear came in his tent AND ATE HIM.” Or there was the guy who went into his house and the bear came into his house through a window.
Now I have nightmares about bears with some regularity. Thanks a lot, Wikipedia.
(Incidentally, there’s never been a fatal bear attack in Georgia).
But! The best way not to get eaten by a bear (I’ve decided) is to spend a couple of years tirelessly
worrying about preparing for the possibility of a bear attack. Or a mountain lion. Or a rattlesnake, but for some reason I’m not very worried about rattlesnakes. Unless you accidentally come between a rattlesnake and her cubs, you really don’t have anything to worry about. Oh, wait…
Here are my plans for avoiding bear attacks so far:
1. Never leave the car.
2. Avoid Glacier National Park. It seems to get more than its fair share of bear attacks.
3. Travel with large, noisy group of boys. Fortunately, I already have one of these.
4. Spend all spare time learning how to stay safe from bears and other predators. For example, I’ve already learned that you should play dead with grizzly bears, but fight back against black bears and mountain lions. One site said, “with mountain lions, if you play dead you’ll be dead.” I appreciate this kind of easy to remember advice.
5. Carry bear spray. I was lucky enough to receive some for my birthday from friends who have maybe heard me talk about my fear of bears once or twice. Also, a bell.
3. Travel Trailer Obsession: We’ve been going back and forth about whether/how much to camp on the trip for awhile now. Truth be told, I don’t love the idea of doing much tent camping (bears! Also, mostly, too much stuff to haul around and too much set up/break down time). But hotels that will sleep all six of us every night would get really $$$ really fast. Hence the resurgence of my recurring travel trailer obsession.
Every blogger gets one sooner or later, right? I don’t want one of the adorable vintage ones, though. Or, well, rather, I don’t think one of the adorable vintage ones would be practical for us with all our kids. No one seems to make what I really want, which is a camper van approximately the size of a minivan that has a bathroom and full kitchen and will sleep all six of us comfortable. It’s like no one even thinks it’s possible or something!
I think we do want something small, because we’re both pretty nervous about pulling a trailer and also because we need it to fit in our driveway or a parking pad in our yard easily. It’s possible I’m being overly optimistic about our ability to survive a long trip with all six of us stuffed into 160 square feet or so. But we’ll see. Maybe. Unless this obsessive phase passes before we actually buy anything.
Anyway, though, for my birthday we went to an RV show in Chattanooga!
So that was fun, but it was kind of….well–I guess I thought it would be more revelatory or something, seeing all the trailers in person and walking through them. But it turns out a couple of weeks spent watching a million YouTube trailer walk throughs gives you a pretty good idea of what they’re really like. So we saw a few that would maybe work for us, and the kids had a great time running through all of them. I think the next step is figuring out a way to practice driving with one in tow to see if that’s something that would be….not terrible. And take it from there.
This one’s cute. We can totally all fit in it, right?
See? No problem!
Gus and Milo really liked this one for some reason:
And here’s the kind of thing that we’re leaning toward at the moment–20ish feet long, just barely big enough to sleep six:
It’s good I didn’t post this yesterday, right? Because everyone would have been like, “this must be an April Fool’s Joke–what with all this crazy talk about bears and whatnot.” Nope, not a joke. Just scared of bears.