So, we're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship.
Or minivan. Whatever you want to call it.
We're leaving Saturday. Probably in the afternoon, after I go through and manically clean the house from top to bottom because that's what I do before we leave on any kind of trip. After traveling for several weeks, the last thing I want to do is come home to a dirty house.
And if we ever perished (banish the thought!), I'd really like everything to be tidy when people came to sort through our things. I know, that's a terrible thing to think about but my gosh try as I might to keep those thoughts out of my head, they seep in any way.
(Damn thoughts. Go away!!)
Oh my good heavens this is going to be an awesome trip. But then again, every trip that we have ever planned in less than five days has been extraordinary. There is just something magical about having an idea to do something and then just DOING it, Carpe Diem style.
There was the trip that Charlie and I took - before children - where the day prior we decided that hey, you know, it would be fun to go camping on a beach in Mexico. So we loaded up our Chevy Blazer with all of our camping gear, two dogs, and stuck ocean kayaks on top and then drove 14 hours to the Sea of Cortez. For five days, we slept under the stars, kayaked while our dogs paddled alongside us, swam naked in the ocean (oh, yes we did!!) and ate Kudos bars. It was an EPIC adventure. Probably the absolute best vacation of my entire life.
Then there was the trip that we took to South Carolina when the babies were eight months old, right after my Uncle Bill was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and given less than a year to live. I learned on a Friday that he was having surgery on Tuesday - and we flew out as a total surprise on Monday because we thought he could use the morale boost. He had the chance to see the babies the night before his surgery and he told us that he dreamed of them from the moment he closed his eyes before he went under anesthesia, until the moment he reopened them. Three years later, Uncle Bill is still with us.
Then there was the other trip that we took to South Carolina when the babies had just turned two and I found out that I was expecting Henry. We were feeling a little overwhelmed with life and decided that we needed a vacation. We made our plans on a Tuesday and flew out on a Saturday. More recently, there was the trip I took to Florida with Elizabeth and Henry with less than two weeks planning. Which isn't really that "spontaneous", but the unexpected 20-hour layover in Dallas more than made up for any loss of excitement.
I can't plan things too far in the future. It just doesn't work well for me. I much prefer to hear of something that is happening - clear out my schedule - and GO. It is so liberating, I think every one should do a spontaneous trip at some point in their life. And this trip that we are planning currently, is one of those rare times in life where everything lines up so perfectly that I know I would have serious regrets if we didn't go.
Fourteen years ago, Charlie's grandfather - a glorious man that I absolutely adored - was celebrating his 90th birthday and because I was away at summer field camp for geology, I didn't attend the weekend celebration. I would have been gone from camp for a total of three days and I would have dropped one full grade if I left for that duration of time - and at the time - that seemed unacceptable to me.
But you know what happened?
Charlie's grandfather died. He was supposed to attend our wedding a month after his birthday party, but he fell ill and died within a couple weeks. Even as I was telling Charlie, "Sorry, I can't make it to the BIG birthday party that all of your family will be attending - many of whom will not be able to attend our wedding", I felt sick inside. Like this was something I really should be doing, but wasn't.
I have that same feeling that THIS is a trip that we really need to do. Partly because we were unable to attend Uncle Pete's funeral, what with three-month-old triplets on apnea monitors, and partly because this will be an incredible opportunity to visit with so many of our relatives. But the most important reason that this trip will be so fantastic is because we love road trips and we desperately need a vacation.
Here's our agenda, because if you happen to live along the route we are taking, you can keep your eyes peeled for the minivan with the children securely strapped on top. I'm thinking they'd love it up there. No?
Saturday (6/21) we'll leave from San Diego and drive 350 miles to Las Vegas, Nevada where we'll spend our first night.
Sunday (6/22) we'll drive to Zion National Park in Utah and spend some time checking out the sites. This is where we'll spend our second night.
Monday (6/23) we'll drive to Colorado and spend the entire day singing John Denver songs. This is where we'll spend our third night.
Tuesday (6/24) we'll probably still be in Colorado and looking at real estate. We'll hopefully drive to Nebraska for our fourth night.
Wednesday (6/25) the novelty of this experience will have worn off and we'll say WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING and think about turning around and driving home. But we won't. We'll try to make it all the way to Chicago where we'll spend our fifth night. The Bears.
Thursday (6/26), drive straight through to London, Ontario where we'll spend our sixth night and get totally liquored up.
Friday (6/27), we'll spend the day swimming in a hotel pool.
Saturday (6/28), Uncle Pete's induction ceremony, much fun to be had.
Sunday (6/29), we'll drive through New York en route to Boston. Maybe we'll stop at Niagra Falls. Maybe we'll spend the night in the Adirondacks. Maybe we'll drive by Yankee Stadium and yell "I heard there's another shirt in there!!!" And then we'd peel out and find the nearest McDonald's Playplace.
Monday (6/30), Arrive Concord Massachusetts. Stay in that area for the next week. Possibly take a jaunt down to Cape Cod to visit my brother and his family who will be renting an ocean front house in Brewster. (Pronounced BrueSTAH). Eat vast quantities of ice cream and lobster.
Monday (7/7), Leave for San Diego. Spend the next six days driving through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
The only problem with this trip is that we'll have to postpone Alex and Kathleen's visit to San Diego to celebrate Henry's birthday party ... and also ... I will have to forgo running in the 10K on the Fourth of July. But, this trip is just too important to pass up.
Not only will we get to see Charlie's family in Canada and participate in Uncle Pete's induction ceremony - we will be able to celebrate the Fourth of July in Boston, Massachusetts. Sitting on the Charles River and watching fireworks explode while the Pops play at the Esplanade is the best place in the entire world to be on this particular holiday. We'll also have the opportunity to have Henry dedicated at the church where Charlie and I were married (almost) 14 years ago, and where the triplets were dedicated in 2005.
Moreover, we will celebrate my mother's 75th birthday, provided she is still in Massachusetts after returning from her Bermuda cruise that she is currently on with my sister Janet - in honor of her 50th birthday in May.
So, there you have it.
A 6,428-mile road trip planned on less than three days notice with four children under four.
That is spontaneity and insanity at it's finest.