Prepping and Packing the Car

So after making the journey across the Nevada desert and spending about a week with my family, I have a tentative map for my trip across the US. The first weekend of my adventure, which hopefully starts tomorrow, will be to visit my brother and wife and kids. Then on Sunday we’ll head out into the unknown. I really hope two months is going to be enough to cover everything I want to see along this journey. National parks like Niagara Falls, Smokey Mountains, Mammoth Caves, Badlands, Big Ben, Glacier, Carlsbad Caverns, and many more will take up a ton of time. But I also need times to explore the cities of this country too! Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, DC, Raleigh, Charleston, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, and Sante Fe are all on the list. Seeing the sights, meeting great people, and eating amazing regional cuisine are required!


My dad who is coming along as the support on this trip, is still wrapping up projects around his house. He decided to crash the trip after thinking about how cool of opportunity it is to travel around the country, and since he is retired, there was almost nothing stopping him. The almost nothing, is my mom. She is super jealous, but there is only one extra seat in the car since I’m keeping it cheap and not staying in hotels. Plus, she has to stay home and take care of her 13 year old dog, Buddy, who is now getting towards the end of his life and not able to make any more car journeys. But I understand her disappointment in not getting to go, so in November we will pick her up and do the West coast a little fancier and stay hotels. So at least she is getting to join in on part of the journey.

For this road trip, I don’t want to lose any time dealing with set up and break down of the camp, so we will be camping in the car. I’m taking my dad’s Toyota Rav4 for the journey.  To prep the car, I vacuumed out the entire car and laid down the back seats. There is a bit of a gap between the back of the seats and where the cargo area is, so my dad cut out a thin piece of plywood to lay across the back. It made it a lot smoother and I can no longer fill the crack. Then I cut out foam that is normally used for standing on to fit into the back of the car and laid out two layers. For the final layer of comfort, I got a 3 in. memory foam mattress cover. It’s definitely bigger than the space, but I rolled down the top to elevate the head area and covered the wheel wells so they won’t be as uncomfy. Before we drive out, I will add in pillows and blankets, and hopefully the car will end up being a great place to sleep.

ca_09041418401947        ca_09041418400421

Tomorrow, we’ll load the car with clothes and toiletries, and hopefully set out on the journey. I’ve got all my laundry done, camera and batteries packed, books tucked into the doors or the car. My road trip playlist is made. The only thing I’m waiting on now is my dad. Two weeks ago he decided he had to build a new shed for his house. This is not run of the mill shed. The next person who moves into his house could turn the damn thing into a guest room. He’s made great progress, but the shingles are still missing and the door needs to be painted. So that is what might delay us one more day. But I am still hoping we will head out tomorrow and I’ll get to spend two nights with my brother. 


After kicking off this road trip with a party in San Francisco and a wonderful dinner tonight in Ogden with my friends and family, I am definitely ready to head out on this adventure and get the road trip started. I still have a lot of details to plan, like campgrounds where we are going to stay. But I wan’t to keep the trip spontaneous and not completely planned so I can stay a bit longer here but drive quickly over there. However, I’ve been blessed with friends who live all across this country and have traveled to many places I have not yet seen. I would love to here your recommendations of must stop places to see or eat to help add some more details to the list. So please add a comment if you have any suggestions on where to stop.