I'm finally catching up on my Google Reader just a bit and enjoyed this charming little memish thing that I noticed on several of my favorite blogs. I thought it might be a fun way to highlight the more family-aspects of our trip (as opposed to the destinations that are easier to portray in the mini photo-journal I've been doing).
I found this combination of charming, but boarded-up house, and spring blossoms poignant. Like many pretty things, it is bitter-sweet; a reminder of the fleetingness of life. This is from Peach Springs, Arizona, along the old Route 66. It's located in the Hualapai Indian Reservation.
We saw loads of beautiful scenery along the way and we have, I think, thousands of photos to attest to it (most of them taken by kids from the car).
We had all kinds of schemes going with my little brother to try to figure out a way of connecting up with him while we were in California. Tougher than you might think because, despite having a whole month, a lot of big events dictated the schedule. We finally came up with the idea of meeting up at a beach in L.A. on our way back home (we were heading south to the I40 anyway) and besides, we hadn't even made it to a beach yet! (We had been planning on a day at the beach in Monterrey when Terri came down with pneumonia). And so, after a late start in the Bay Area and a long drive down the 5, we arrived at the cold, windy beach, triumphant and giddy. The kids all went dancing into the waves with their cousins, without even bothering to change into swimsuits. And the sunset looks positively unreal!
Did I mention that there was a photobooth at the first wedding (complete with a box of silly props)? This one really cracks me up (some of my kids plus some of their cousins - that's Frank in the middle.)
Car travel is messy. This one was particularly complicated since it was a full month long (with many stops), it was right at the change of seasons AND we covered a huge range of climates along the way. We got more organized along the way, because we didn't have time to do it before we left. This is an earlier-on picture, but I have to admit that it was often messy even after we got more organized.
One thing that helped a lot was giving away the full-sized freezer chest we started with and picking up one that was about 1/3 the size. The big one took up a lot of space, was difficult to lug in and out of hotels and friends' houses and was hard to open while driving, because it always had to have stuff stacked on it. The new one was just big enough for a few things of blue ice, half a gallon of milk, a tub each of yogurt and cottage cheese and a few odds and ends. After that change we used our food AND space more efficiently and had a much easier time getting the freezer chest in and out of each stop (necessary to recharge the ice and keep the other food cold in the meantime).
We also picked up two big stacking laundry baskets along the way which we bungee-corded to the wall. They really helped keep the stuff from drowning us when we were on the road.
I always like reusable Trader Joe's bags for travel (they're $1 each, tend to stand up well and are waterproof!) but I also discovered their velcro-closing insulated ones during this trip. They're just $2 each, foldable when you don't need them and clipped easily onto the big blue clip on the back of my chair in the picture to keep things in order. They were especially welcome since there were several times when we had to do a bunch of grocery shopping before heading to a remote area.
Finally, just on our way back out of California, I discovered that Trader Joe's has re-usable wine totes (like little reusable grocery bags, but with sections) that were only $1 and were perfect for holding all of the kids' water bottles.