Friday, April 29, 2016

Take The Long Way Home

I'm not a stranger to road trips, but it has been a while. Moira and I are planning a road trip from Seattle to LA in two weeks. Well, the planning has been going on quite a while, but it's getting more serious as departure date approaches. Small discussions started about a year ago, with things getting more serious after Christmas. She started out wanting to go a Wizard of Oz museum somewhere at first, and then switched to somewhere in Texas thanks to Go Go, America. Eventually, the siren song of the Magic Kingdom won out, so that's where we're going. US-101/PCH down and I-5 back.

Most of my road trips happened around college if I remember right. Sadly, that was pre-social networking, so it's hard to go digging through archives to get the data to verify that. Anyway, whether or not it was college or shortly after, what I remember is that planning was pretty minimal. The important things to be done in advance were making sure important car maintenance was done and making sure the necessary music for the trip was available (meaning put on cassette, or making sure your method of connecting a portable cd player to the existing car stereo worked). I think these are about the only two things I'm not worrying about for this trip. The car needs an oil change once per year or at least 10,000 miles. The car will likely crack the 10,000 total mileage mark while on the trip, and should probably get a new set of tires when we get back. We'll see how things look and feel when I get back, since the tires I want don't exist yet.

One huge change, other than travelling with an 8-year old will be that we plan on camping for three nights of the trip. I'm hoping to finish up shopping for that this weekend, as we're light on camping supplies. With all that, I can start packing up the car. Unlike past road trips, the car is strictly recreational, so I have the luxury of being able to pack well in advance.

Beyond camping, and having reservations pinning down our travel schedule for the trip, there are a couple other differences this time around. First, I have to let Moira navigate. We had a dry run last weekend helping Liz scout around the Olympic Peninsula, and she did remarkably well. It's a lot easier to let her make mistakes close to home where I know my way around, and the consequences are measured in minutes instead of hours. Our current plan is letting her navigate on her tablet and letting me have the car's map for reference, so I know if there's a mistake and can decide when to intervene.

The other big difference is the rule against eating in the car. I think this just means more stops than I used to like, but that's probably not a bad idea, especially with Moira. We're aiming for about 350 miles a day, so that shouldn't be so bad. It's significantly less for our day in the Bay Area, since she wants to go to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, but that means we have more distance to cover the final day. We'll just have to see, once we get to LA, how much I stick to PCH. I think the draw of The Donut Man will triumph over sticking to the coast. The real question is, with one dinner in the LA area, where do we do that?

* Technically, we'll be taking the short, quick way back to our current home, but since I lived in Anaheim for several years, and felt that was a much better fit for me as a person than Michigan, so that's why it gets to be considered home.

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