As the trip draws closer, things have changed. Sort of like my life. I plan with high hopes, but things never seem to work out like I wish they would. And so it goes with our summer vacation. What originally was us getting to see the Grand Canyon at long last, will now not even put us in Arizona. We’d planned to couch-surf our way through a few places and one by one, others’ plans have changed and we’re left without a place to stay. And with the little money I have, we need all the free places to stay as possible. So it’s with a bit of sadness and frustration and the slightest bit of anger that I cross the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde and all the Utah national parks off my list of things to see.
Instead we’ll be spending two weeks in California and Oregon. It should look something like this with stops in Bend, Crater Lake National Park, Sacramento, Gilroy, Monterey, Solvang, Los Angeles, Riverside, Yosemite National Park, San Bernardino National Forest and Redwoods National Forest.
It’s close to 3000 miles total and even though we’re taking two weeks to do it, Google says we can make it 2 days and 7 hours. I guess what that really means is that I’ve got something like 60 hours of driving ahead of me. There are going to be some long days on the road, but interspersed with enough fun stuff, I hope, to keep the kids happy and me sane.
So yesterday I hit the local library and picked up some audiobooks for the drive. With what already have in my audiobooks file (thank you, audible.com!) we should have plenty to listen to:
* The Funny This Is… by Ellen DeGeneres
* Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
* In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
* Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
* The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski
* The Help by Kathryn Stockett
* Going Solo by Roald Dahl
* The Lost City of Z by David Grann
* The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
* Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
* The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
I was thinking we might be able to get through the whole Harry Potter series over the two weeks, but the library didn’t have them. So instead, we’ll get a mish-mash of fiction and non-fiction, youth and adult.
Hopefully it’ll drown out any sounds of arguing from the back seat.
We’re bringing my niece along for the bulk of the trip, returning her to her parents (my sister and her husband) in Los Angeles. Should be lots of fun to spend so much time with her; since she lives so far away, we don’t get to see that side of the family often. In fact, it had been two years between visits (we’d been in Vietnam last summer when they visited), making it extra nice to be together again. But it also means that for the next two weeks, I’m the mother of three and I never liked being outnumbered by kids.
I pick up our rental car on Wednesday morning and we’ll hit the road at noon. Wish us luck; with my history of things not working quite right, we’re going to need it.