We weren’t actually planning to take a road trip this summer. We’d booked a house in coastal Oregon for a week of rest and relaxation, planning to fly our family of six to Portland and rent a car. But the cost of airfare and the lure of the road, as well as the chance to break in our new Honda Odyssey Minivan, led to a change of plans. Here is our adventure, including the places we went, the gear that saved us and the planning tips that helped us avoid common travel pitfalls!
Our journey began at 4am. "Captain Daddy" got a new Road Trip Hat (as is our family tradition). The car was well packed the day before. Packing for a family of six is no small endeavor. Fortunately we had some sound advice (pack for four to five days and do laundry!) and some specialized gear and equipment that made our jobs easier and our loads lighter:
Mountainsmith also makes a fabulous Cooler (with a fold out drink holder) that fits into the same container, interchanging with one of the bags. We used this in the main compartment of the car to keep our drinks and snacks cool. It fit perfectly between the front seats of our Oddysey minivan. Check out the Mountainsmith site for more modular systems perfect for organizing any travelers.
Inside the car we packed a weeks worth of games, puzzles, books and activities into Linda Hecht’s “One Hecht of an Organizer”. This amazing and multipocketed blue bin had a space for everything from hand sanitizer and mini flashlights to crayons and more. Pockets galore! The long carrying straps made it easy to belt into place in the center seat (no shifting) and amazingly the kids kept everything in the case all week long, even when we stopped at the beach house. I’ll be using this bin for organizing my carpooling self when school starts. It comes with a handy file sorter (permission slips, grocery lists, work papers…) and suggestions on how to make it the perfect in car organizer for moms. More much needed suggestions for making your life less hectic and more organized can be found on the HechtofanOrganizer website.
Hitting the road at 4 am turned out to be a great idea. Our kids snoozed peacefully and we had some nice quiet adult time as we cruised through a traffic-less downtown LA. When does that ever happen? We watched the sun rise over the San Joaquin valley as we came down from the mountain passes. By breakfast time we made it to the Harris Ranch, one of our favorite places to stop when driving up the long stretch of 1-5 that makes up the central valley. Fortunately we also packed our kid’s Pepto Bismol, as the rich and huge meal did not agree with everyone in the party! Little did we know how handy our Pepto was to become, later in the trip. By early afternoon we were in San Francisco and it was time to start testing some of the tech gear we brought along…