Planning has officially commenced on our next big road trip! The finances are always an issue, and we have been praying diligently that all the money details will fall into the right places to make another trip across the country possible. Since we all traveled so well together the last time, once again the Landersons (or is it the Hendrys?) will be seeing the country together; me and my three teens, Morgan, Alex & Taylor (the Hendersons), along with Lisa and her teen son, Jacob (the Landrys).
My justification is simple, really. I need to take the kids down to see their Grandmother (aka Meemaw) in southern Mississippi. She is in her mid-seventies and has really come to the realization that she is not much of a traveler anymore, which is so sad. She and I had such a wonderful time going to Israel together that first time - she is a wonderful travel companion. Since that trip in '05, she has traveled to Europe with friends, taken a cruise to Alaska and a couple of larger road trips. Now she has decided she just prefers to stay closer to home. So, that means we travel to see her!
Another justification has to do with our homeschooling. What better study than traveling across the country's roadways? We are planning on stopping at as many national monuments, parks, museums, and tourist attractions as possible... even a presidential library. And, when we are not stopping somewhere, we will be learning about the states we are traveling through and listening to audio books in the vehicle...captive audience for those literary works that don't quite peak their attention in book form, eh?
So we start out this time right after Shavuot (May 21, '10) heading diagonally southeast going through Idaho and Utah like last time, but this time we will dip into Colorado, explore Kansas to Missouri and onto Tennessee. At that point we will drop down to Louisiana to spend time with good friends who are pretty close to Baton Rouge before spending a week or so in Lucedale, Mississippi with Meemaw.
The second leg of the trip is a bit more action packed. Last time we did the 'exciting' part of the trip first it would seem, (with Arches being an absolute highlight), so this time we wanted to end on a high note. After we leave Mississippi, we will head due west through Louisiana again and Texas with the necessary stop at the Alamo. Then, it's onto Phoenix and then into some of the country's most beautiful national parks. Joshua Tree, Kings Canyon and Yosemite are places I've always dreamed of visiting and I can't wait to document our visit with my camera.
San Francisco will be next, which is very exciting for me, and then north along the breathtaking California coastline. Things only get better as we stop in the Redwoods, then inch closer to home along the stunning Oregon Coast stopping for a few days in one of my favorite places, Newport. From there it's a short-shot home just in time for Morgan to get herself to camp for the summer (June 20, '10).
Well, that's the plan anyway. *smile* We are excited to know that a rental minivan is still available with unlimited miles; we were told that wasn't an option after the last journey. Somehow the rental company didn't have the same definition of 'unlimited' as we did...heh! Speaking of mileage, this new plan is remarkably close to the same as last time, so we are planning on the same approximate total as before (around 8,300 miles). Yep, I think I'm up to the driving task once again!
So, that begs the question: will we be meeting letterboxers all along the route like the last road trip? Well...we are not so sure about that. While we would love to meet people at every stop like we did before, we are thinking that this time we actually want to snag a letterbox or two in each place just for fun. Great drive-bys or tourist boxes would be interesting and would take us to some places off the tourist track in so many of the towns we will be stopping in, I'm sure. I have found that trying to find the starting points to boxes seems to be the main road-block for boxing in a strange town, so we will have to do our homework. I'm hoping to borrow my mom's laptop for this journey, so that will help. (We relied on hotel computer/internet last trip and it was not as convenient or reliable as we would have hoped, to say the least.)
If you know of some great boxes along our itinerary that you think would fit into our plans, let me know! It will be quite a task to compile a list of must-get boxes at each of our stops...I'd appreciate as many suggestions as possible!
I'm daring to hope that we get to make this journey - a trip of a lifetime, round 2!
Here's a list of the actual cities we will be staying in:
- Nampa, ID
- Ogden, UT
- Denver, CO
- Salina, KS
- Joplin, MO
- Memphis, TN
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Lucedale, MS
- Houston, TX
- San Antonio, TX
- El Paso, TX
- Phoenix, AZ
- San Bernardino, CA
- Big Pine, CA
- Yosemite Nat'l Park
- San Francisco, CA
- Cresent City, CA
- Newport, OR