Friday, February 12, 2016

The Road Ahead

As promised - here is the general route we plan to take this summer on THE TRIP.

It would be great if I could include a cool visual of a map with everything all plotted out...possibly with whimsical graphics to indicate landmarks we'll visit and activities we'll try (like a little donkey saddled up for a ride down to the Grand Canyon - so cute!) Sadly, my level (lack) of training or talent for that kind of design would involve a taking a picture of a paper map with some Crayola marker notations. So no fun graphics here.

Instead - here is a picture of what we will be avoiding on this journey to the West coast...

That was taken in the middle of the night when we arrived back in DC after visiting my parents in Klamath Falls, OR. It was only after 45 minutes of waiting for our bag that we discovered it was tossed into a big pile of luggage several carousels away. While we waited, Oliver had to touch every suitcase that passed, George said, "no, no, no..." as he identified each suitcase as "not ours," and Eleanor practiced her pirouettes. SO MANY fun travel memories...

Back to this trip though... The timing will be mid-ish July through mid-ish August, but this depends on when family will be available to see us. Here is the current list of stops I have in mind:

My brother and sister in law (and her parents whom I LOVE) live in Memphis. I have only been there once, a couple of years ago for their wedding. As it usually goes with travel for weddings, we didn't have time for sightseeing. All that my kids will remember of that trip was the gorgeous house where the event took place. As soon as we pulled out to drive home, George said "Mom! I liked that house. I wish I lived there." A little defensive, I pointed out that, "OUR house is full of fun...and full of love." George wasn't buying what I was selling. " That house was more fun." Eleanor concurred. "Yeah - it had a pool." Thus began their tradition of visiting other houses and then telling me how much better they are than ours. We will spend a couple of days seeing Memphis. Chris will hopefully meet us there. And in case you don't know how far Memphis is from the DC area, we will definitely be stopping for the night on the way there.

This will be our "drive through" state and I was thinking we could make a stop somewhere to see a rodeo. OBVIOUSLY - as anyone who looks at me will immediately think, "rodeo." But even if that wasn't the case... I think my kids would love it. [I should point out here that I've viewed pretty much everything I've planned thus far through the lens of my children and what THEY would find interesting/fun/exciting. If this was MY personal trip across the country, it would ideally involve five star hotels and spa treatments.] I discovered that this won't exactly be rodeo season, but I did find one amateur rodeo taking place July 20-24.

Santa Fe
No family here, I just thought it would be a good stop because SANTA FE! Seriously - I've never visited Santa Fe before and it's been on my list since long before kids were in the picture. So many ideas about things we can do there...but (like Oklahoma) this is new territory for me and suggestions are welcome!

Grand Canyon
I have never been to the Grand Canyon. And it was one of my favorite Brady Bunch episodes. We won't follow in their fictional footsteps and ride donkeys down into the canyon (I was totally kidding about that even being a remote possibility for me!), but I'm sure there are other experiences to be had. I think we'd have to stay two nights. I also found a motel on our route to the Grand Canyon with rooms shaped like wigwams. WIGWAMS. This is where I show signs of drinking the mom-of-three Kool Aid, as I can't think of any other time in my life that sleeping in a fake wigwam sounded even a little bit appealing. CAN'T WAIT!
*2/25/16 Correction: People ride mules, not donkeys. This was news to me.

I have been to Sedona. Chris grew up in Phoenix and I've visited many times. Once my inlaws planned a day trip to Sedona and it was beautiful. We did a pretty easy hike (from what I remember) so I'm sure I can figure something out that a not-very-athletic woman and three children could do together. This would be a drive through stop on the way to Phoenix.

This would just be a one night stop (unless my Mother in Law wants us to be there longer). Depending on when we hit town, I figured we meet up with the grandparents for a meal and then crash for the night. The following day we'd head out to San Diego (hopefully my MIL will come with us to keep me company). Of course, said grandparents may be in California then (they split their time between Phoenix and San Diego now), so we may not even see them in Phoenix. Also - I have discussed NONE of this with them yet.

San Diego
No idea who will be where and where we will be laying our heads at night (impose on family or spare them our chaos by booking a hotel...we shall see). But we plan to spend four days there. First two for tourist stuff that the kids want to do (Lego Land, Sea World) and then two days on the beach. Chris will fly in to meet us for the last two days, as he is not so interested in the tourism. There are a number of family members (plus some good friends!) we want to see there. Again - this may all be news to them.

And here is where things get hazy...
The next definite stop will be Klamath Falls to see my parents. But in driving up the coast, we want to have a quick "just the five of us" family vacation. San Francisco? Vinyards? Ideas? I actually told Chris that he could decide what we do, but I'm happy to pass along your suggestions.

Klamath Falls
Not only do my parents live there, but a good friend and her son JUST moved back to that part of Oregon. Last summer we did a driving tour of Crater Lake, but I'd love to go back and do some trails. We also drove down to CA to see lava beds with friends of my parents and their grandchildren. Another spot I wouldn't mind revisiting. Mainly I just want to spend time with Mom and Dad. Chris will probably leave us after a few days (back to the daily grind for him!) We'll probably be there about five days.

And here is where things get hazier...
Idaho...Wyoming...South Dakota... I have never been to this part of the country. I'd like to visit Mount Rushmore, but have done very little research on this stretch. I've heard Grand Teton is nice? Yeah - I've got nothing. HALP.

I've been twice and loved it. But I didn't actually do sightseeing. This should be easy to research (I'm much better at researching cities), but I'm already exhausted just writing about this. Please feel free to do my work for me.

Another family-related stop. Chris' cousin and his wife live there. The last time we visited was well over five years ago for their wedding. We've never met their children! Chris will fly in and then drive the rest of the way home with us. It's only a 5-6 hour drive - which will feel like NOTHING after a month on the road. OH HI James and Alana! We're going to be in Cleveland at some point in August. You heard it here first!

Do you live somewhere within our trajectory? Insider tips please! And yes, friends - I will do everything I can to see you. And you are SO SWEET to offer your home as a place for us to stay...but I would think long and hard about that offer...

....long and hard.

[I am giving up on that sign-off thing I was trying to do in my first two posts. "kisses -Kate" is just never going to be me...]


  1. Santa Fe is gorgeous!!! And you do know someone there - from Visi! Molly Agresto.

    If you were wanting to do something unique in San Diego (having lived there for 6 years) - I would do the Wild Animal Park (not the zoo- the DC zoo is great) BUT the Wild Animal Park (or Safari park I think it was rebranded) was so original and the kids would LOVE it!!!
    As much as the vineyard tour sounds great... with the kids- I would suggest a stop at Monterrey/Carmel! The mission in Carmel is gorgeous & the aquarium in Monterrey is one of the best... And another Visi girl is there... Erin Ferguson. :-)

    1. Oh yeah when we lived in Saskatchewan we did a road trip to Mount Rushmore- and Crazy Horse. The kids loved it and we got our own rocks to bring home -beware! You went to a cowboy dinner and show too... I'd have to look up more details if you were interested. But I am super glad I saw those monuments... really they aren't close to anything.

    2. That sounds great! Definitely let me know about your Mount Rushmore trip. Thanks Jen!

  2. So excited!!! I'm super stoked to see you are blogging about all this! We will definitely want to catch you guys when you are in Oregon. My friend has a sweet boat that he keeps up at lake of the woods (near k falls) and it would be so awesome to take the kids out on it at the lake!! Also we would love to get to join you for other outdoor excursions you may be planning for Oregon! There is so much to do here! Miss you guys and so thrilled that we will get to see you this summer!

  3. I'm on your way from San Diego to points north. Depends on if you're going coastal for scenery or inland for speed. Because of timing I'm guessing you'll be here after my kids start school. You are more than welcome to stop-anything from a potty stop to overnight us fine with us!

  4. Sounds like so much fun - especially the wigwams!! If you go to Sedona drive about 1/2 hour north to Jerome. It's a fun little artist colony on the side of the mountain. There is an old ghost town there too. You can walk through the whole town, easy day trip and lots of fun shops.

  5. We are doing South Dakota this summer (and Yellowstone) so I can let you in on what we are planning if you want.