We have officially become an adventure family. Today, we're leaving on a 3500 mile road trip on a 45 degree angle through the great American landscape. After hooking a hard right around Yellowstone National Park and bob and weaving through the Rocky Mountains, we'll bounce back home after bottoming out in Arizona.
What makes this trip so different is that we're going to be bringing the whole Day household. Momma, Dad, boys and dogs included. The trick is how we're going to get this road trip revival thing done without biting the person next to us (much less the dogs).
Over the years, Chelsea and I have become students of the ancient art of Travel Compartmentalization. It's an art that started when the first little hunter/gatherer out there said to his friend, “Hey. Let's try getting berries somewhere else.”
Initially, we took our first trips in a 2001 Ford Taurus. It had everything we needed, so traveling was easy and simple. We were really only traveling for what I would more accurately describe as a “commute.” With the exception of an emergency – possibly explosive – bathroom stop (usually as a result of some strange gas station food Chelsea liked to eat), our travels weren't actually very exciting.
As time went on, we decided to stop and smell the roses along the way. One particular trip was from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back down through Big Sur. I discovered that throwing an armful of clothing into the trunk of the car might not actually cover me for a weekend (yes, I literally threw a pile of clothes in the trunk). Add in a Grand Canyon trip as well as some other fun little excursions, and we came up with a good baseline for travel considerations.
Some things to consider for adventure families.
First, what is an Adventure Family?
I define an adventure family as a family who has a destination and explores things along the way. They like to take it all in, take the time to stop, and aren't necessarily worried about arrival timeframes. A Travel Family is a family that travels. To travel means to get from point A to point B to enjoy point B. It's sort of like considering the difference between saying “I watched him run westbound” and “I watched him run westward.” Adventure families are not necessarily “-bound” by their destination. They travel the “-ward.”
Consider the terrain you're not going to be traveling through and what's around your primary route. Are there auxiliary roads you want to explore? When traveling to the Grand Canyon, Google maps will provide the highways, but consider the byways and logging roads. If fuel economy is your primary concern, then a Prius is your obvious answer…but side travel in a car is limited. If you want to conquer every highway, byway and every which way along the way, maybe a truck or Jeep type vehicle should be taken. You won't be saving pennies on the dollar, but you will have an advanced experience (which to us, is more than worth it).
Finally, consider what you're going to need. This means clothing, food, supplies and extras like entertainment. Even though much travel has amazing views, some of it (ie the Bakersfield area of Interstate 5 North) are chunks of the trip traveled at night for the kids. It's downright boring. Tablets and videos may be the only acceptable way to pass the time.
This time, we get to try something new. Not only did I get a truck with an 8 foot bed (longest I've ever owned), but Chelsea agreed to opt for a Leer truck cap. This is the giant roof thing on my truck in the picture. Along with this, Opa (grandfather Day) and I recently acquired some old surplus military trailers. Moving all the primary “camping/travel” needs to the trailer, our truck bed will not only become a giant dog room during travel, but a nice resting bedroom for pitstops and wilderness camps. Some non-truck people might not understand its size, so I liken it to a queen size bed with an additional two feet in length.
You can follow our adventure family excursion this time around on Instagram using hashtag #roadtriprevival, or check back to this post for photo auto-updates above. BF Goodrich is providing our tires, KOA has generously offered up some of the accommodations along the way, and we'll be sharing photos through our Samsung partnership with the NX30 camera and through our Cricket partnership with our Galaxy s4. We have some cool recipes and regular content going out while we're away over the next month, and we'll fill you in on the adventure family action as soon as we get back.
Update: check out the first post of our adventure family segment!