1974 Trillium camper trailer

This is our wee 1974 Trillium caravan. With a few exceptions, we’re going to live in it for five weeks!

Last week I hinted a little about our upcoming road trip, but I’m so excited about it that I know I’m probably going to write a lot about it, so best to just start now, right?

A couple of years ago, my very practical mom suggested that we take Owen to Disneyland the spring before he starts kindergarten, since that’ll be the last time we’ll ever be able to travel when it’s not the crazy busy summer season of July and August. We aren’t big Disney fans or anything, but this seemed like a very good idea, and anyway, since we aren’t big Disney fans, why would we ever want to go when it’s superduper busy there in July and August? We wouldn’t.

So that became a plan.

And then about a year ago, Greg and I started wondering aloud if maybe, since we love our wee camper trailer, we should drive down the coast instead of flying. Since, as my mother so convincingly put it, this will also be the only chance we’ll have to take a long road trip when it’s not the super-busy summer season.

But then we chickened out, because (if you read my weekly letter you may have a feel for this), our kid is not exactly keen on being flexible. And so we talked ourselves into believing that a long road trip would probably (based soundly on previous experience) be a disaster.

lonely-planet-western-usaAnd then, around December, we realized we hadn’t told anyone our change of plans, which we realized when Greg’s parents gave us a copy of this book.

And that was that.

Do you know how long it had been since I’d held a Lonely Planet in my hands?

Too long.

As soon as I cracked the spine of this book, all our reasons for not going on an epic road trip crashed down like that time I left my coffee cup on the roof of the car and drove away.

A week later, we had a rough timeline and an itinerary. And we have not had cold feet since.

We’ll travel for at least four weeks, but most likely closer to six. And about a quarter of the way through the trip, we’ll spend five days in Anaheim with my parents, just like we’d always planned to do.

(This right here, friends, is why I love freelancing. I’ll bring work with me, sure – one can’t just disappear for six weeks as a freelancer and not expect to be greeted by an uphill struggle to line up work upon returning, and since I like to avoid those uphill struggles, I’ll plan to do a bit of work from the road – but not a lot of work. My one client who sends me projects regularly said she has no problem if I hit a patch of spotty cell service and get work to her a day or two late while I’m on the road. [Actually, that client’s work may be the only work I bring with me, aside from my usual Craftsy work answering student questions. Oh, and shouting from the rooftops when my new Craftsy class launches while we’re on the road.])

As an unexpected, added bonus, we have some family that’s arriving in town the exact day we’ll leave, and they’ll be staying in our house the whole time we’re away. Which means that whereas I’d usually be kinda mum online about a long trip away, I’m totally not gonna be mum this time.

Roughly speaking, we’re going to travel in a loop around the Western USA, skipping over much of western Washington because we can explore there anytime. Here are some highlights I’m really looking forward to:

  • The Redwoods
  • Taking Owen on the BART in San Francisco, and on a trolley car
  • Legoland
  • Joshua Tree
  • Driving some of Historic Route 66
  • Taking a train into Grand Canyon Village
  • Monument Valley
  • Going to New Mexico for the first time
  • Arches and Canyonlands
  • Yellowstone

Obviously, there are loads more places we’ll go. We’ll hopefully camp on the beach on the California coast. I want to be sure to seek out local artisans and craftspeople wherever we go. And we’ll also have a lot of downtime, on account of that super sensitive kid and our desire to come home healthy (and relatively rested). In that vein, I intend to read a lot, knit or crochet a lot, and make a lot of stuff in my sketchbook.

In future posts, I’ll let you know what kinds of activities I’m bringing, more details about our itinerary, and loads more about the stuff we’re doing and making to prepare for the trip. If you have questions about what kinds of considerations we’ve made, or about anything else, let me know. Every time we talk to friends about this trip, I’m forced to realize over and over again that it’s not a typical thing to do. And I realize how grateful I am that Greg and I work in jobs that allow us to do such a thing without taking unpaid leaves or jeopardizing our positions.

Also, it feels really, really good to flex my trip-planning muscles again. (I’ve mentioned, right, that I once planned an entire summer’s travel camp for a job I had in another life? It was a terrible job, but not because of the traveling or the kids.)

I’ll tag all the social media posts I make about the trip with #werkersontheroad!