Stories and thoughts about family and life

Boy Scout Super Mission 2012

on May 28, 2012

Ahhh, vacation.  When you pack a few items in a bag, shuffle the family off for something exciting and fun and watch all your cares float away, right?  Well, not exactly.

I LOVE to travel.  If I could figure out how to make a reasonable living doing this, I’d do it all the time.  I love being on the go, seeing new places, meeting new people.  I love every day having some new and fun thing to it.  I don’t love trying to be sure everyone has everything they might need, and the house-cleaning that comes before leaving.  I hate to come home to a dirty house, so I do my best to make sure the house is relatively clean.  I’d love to say spotless, but seriously, with a 9 and 11 year old, spotless has become somewhat of a pipe dream.  I go, instead, for clean toilets and clean linens on the beds, with all the kitchens and laundry done.  That’s a huge win, in my book!

Our big trip for summer, 2012 is Yellowstone.  We always do some huge “mission” for our Boy Scout group.  Last year was Grand Canyon (which is absolutely amazing, if you haven’t been), and this year we decided on Yellowstone.  We’re all anxiously watching the weather to see what’s coming up–two days ago they were talking about the east road (incidentally, one of the ways we need to enter the park) being closed due to excessive snow.  So, you may see lots of upcoming posts about traversing the Wyoming wilderness from me.  🙂

I’m a little OCD.  Stop laughing.  I know it already.  I know I make my poor, sweet husband a bit crazy with my obsessive methods of packing, but we generally arrive where we’re supposed to be with all our stuff.  The house may look like we’re moving out while we’re in the process, but we get there.  The kids have grown accustomed to my rituals of having them strip the beds and get all the laundry done the day before we leave as well.  I think I’ve about got this bunch trained.  Best of all, we get to have a wonderful trip in the progress, and we come home to a clean house and only the laundry from our trip to do.  It’s a win-win.

As is customary for me, I do a LOT of research before we go.  Ever the truck-driver’s daughter, I know exactly where I want to go, which highways to take, where I’d like to try to stay, and I’ve generally plotted out things for us to do along the way.  My OCD side means that I have a binder with hotel information, mileages from one locale to another, any reservation information, an itinerary of the trip, and a list of things to pack and things to do before we leave.    Last year, I was turning 40 as we were taking our trip, and upon looking at the maps online, I realized we were only about 150 miles from Las Vegas.  Hello!  That’s just too good to pass up!  And it was.  I got us an amazing deal at the Venetian on Priceline, and we enjoyed touring the strip and seeing the shops.  What a great way to turn 40!

This year, many more of our group are driving, and a couple of them decided to go through and see Mt. Rushmore along the way.  Again, upon reviewing the map, I realized that Minneapolis (and Mall of America, by the way) are only a couple hundred miles out of the way.  I adjusted our leave date by a day or two, padded our itinerary to compensate, and off we go!  We were discussing it with another family, who have decided that sounded like a neat plan.  Between that mom and me, we’ve planned some really great stuff to do, and found us some shopping time in the process (did I mention she’s OCD too?).

As I sat this morning, laptop on the bed, Tom-Tom in one hand, and watching my husband gather up all our electronics:  DVD players, Gameboys, cameras, Tom-Tom accessories, laptops, iphones, ipads, cords, chargers, batteries, etc., it makes me laugh.  We didn’t travel extensively when I was a kid–with the farm it just wasn’t possible.  We always had animals to be fed who couldn’t be left long periods of time.     Maybe, though, it was more about parents having to deal with bored kids than I originally thought.  My kids travel very well, and for that I’m extremely grateful.  They do engage in their electronics, but they also like to read, draw, play Uno, and visit.  I bought them each a camera before our drive to Seattle a couple of years ago, and it’s always amusing to get home and download their cards and see what they felt was “camera worthy.”      While they may not understand the hows and whys of my methods before we travel, they certainly do enjoy the rewards of it all.

So, as I survey everything we have packed, everything resolved, almost everything clean, I’m ready to wind down and enjoy Memorial Day.  Tomorrow is an early day–the beginning of another epic journey for the Walker Family.  I hope my kids will remember these trips for the rest of their lives.


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