Friday, June 20, 2008

the amazing trips summer 2008 tour

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.


  1. This sounds INCREDIBLE!
    I can't wait to hear all about it!

  2. Wow. May I remind you of my comment yesterday... are you MAD?!

    And is it terrible of me that my first thought after reading this was, "wow. this will make GREAT blog fodder!". I know. Selfish ol' me ;)

    Look forward to hearing all about your epic trip! Good luck ;)

    (ps you probably know this already, but travel Magnadoodles are GREAT for the car!)

  3. I agree, this does sound INCREDIBLE! You guys are going to have an AMAZING time!

  4. Yay! That sounds like a lot of driving, but a lot of fun! Wave as you pass through CT and MA...I'll be headed up to the Cape area myself for the 4th....only 1 kid in tow, but doing it all myself, including fighting the traffic and signing "Old McDonald Had a Farm" at the top of my lungs to keep him entertained!

    Can't wait to hear all about it!

  5. You truly amaze me.

    Now is my chance to drill you for tips on traveling with a 2 year old. We're going to go about 300 miles a day for just 2 days.

    Like you have the time to write back, but if you do, I'd love the advice. (Or from anyone else for that matter).

  6. That sounds like an AMAZING TRIP!!!

    My first thought was; Hey, we're in Boston, we should try and meet up with them on the Esplanade, but then that's just way too creepy, seeing as you don't actually know us and all :)

    have great trip!

  7. Are you totally avoiding NJ???

    If you do make it through the garden state, feel free to stop by. We live outside on NYC in mountainside.

  8. Wow...I'm so jealous. I will be waiting to see lots of pics from this trip.
    The 4th in!!! That will be amazing!
    Have a great time!

  9. I am excited for you all! You have GOT to keep us posted during your trip and tell us the GOOD, the bad and the ugly!


  10. Karen in Buffalo6/20/08, 8:14 AM

    I also clean like a crazy woman, pay all bills, and get everything 'in order' before I leave for a trip (for the same morbid reason as you!).
    The trip sounds fantastic! If you do make it to Niagara Falls, I would love to meet up and show you around (not far from Buffalo!). Tip: better to see the falls from the Canadian side! More things to do, too.
    Can't wait to hear all about your adventure! Have a fabulous time!

  11. Well I guess someone figured out how to stay out of Kansas:))) You are one smart cookie and this trip sounds unforgetable. My advices is, do not eat dried apricots at all or eggs for breakfast:))))) But seriously you may be less than 250m from my house and I would LOVE to meet you all. I think I have heard enough about you to see you in travel "state" and still love you. If I could possible get that chance please email me. Meet me at the home of throwed rolls:)Ozark MO! If you are not doing KC.

  12. Hey, if you zip through Dallas, let me know. You can have lunch with me and Mandi!

  13. Wow! You are me hero!! I would love to do something like that, but my neurotic planning tends to get in the way! Have a great time and be sure to wave on your way through PA!

  14. This is a very elaborate scheme just to avoid RUNNING! I kind of like it.

  15. STOP IN AUSTIN! I would love to host a meet up for your readers and show you the town! Who cares if it will be 105 degrees....

  16. I will be on the Charles River watching the fireworks too!!! Boston is the best place to be on the 4th of July! I'll watch for the Amazing Trips Parade!!!

  17. I wish I were you.

    I wish my husband were like yours.

    We just could not do that with our family...we would not survive. We are too high strung I think.

    I hope it goes amazingly well. And I'm sure it will, because you both can handle stuff like this!

  18. Wow this is amazing and I so admire you. It's the sort of thing that my husband and I like to do except you do it on a much, much bigger scale. Awesome! Have so much fun!

  19. I wish you the best of luck for your fantastic journey! You guys will have a blast and you will remember this trip forever. Have a safe journey and I can't wait until you blog about your trip. Hopefully you will blog along the way. Have a great time.

  20. OMG! I'm SO EXCITED! Where are you staying in Las Vegas??????

    Tell me! On the Strip??? Off Strip? We should hook up!!!!!!

    This is going to be the greatest adventure ever. I can't WAIT to hear how it all turns out!

  21. Have a GREAT time!!!! I love taking trips with the fam. Even though it can be a ton of work, it is so worth it to get out of the normal routine and just enjoy being a family in a different environment. I'll be looking for that van with the kids tied on top!

  22. This sounds great, but I still have one question. Will you need passports to get into Canada now? Do you have them for all the kids?

  23. OK... the earth's diameter at the equator is 7926.28 miles... and you are driving 6428 miles. Just to put this in perspective - you guys are going to drive approximately 81% around the earth, with 4 3 weeks! OMG... have fun!

  24. Okay, I am impressed!! I am going to my father's tonight - 2 hours away - and am panicking about keeping the 2.75 year old and the 4 month old entertained!! You rock!! (we will have Jersey shore Friday night traffic though!!)


  25. Oh Wow!!!! Sounds incredible!!!

    I love road trips. That's what my family always did when I was growing up. We did three weeks in a van together driving through Western Canada (from Ontario to Victoria, BC and back! Stopped in all the major cities, it was fantastic!).

    Of course, we were a little older than your kids, but still. Road trips RULE!

    Have a blast!

  26. have a great time!!!
    will you be able to blog en route? I hope so.
    The preparation and the trip will give you some material for a few "amazing tricks" posts!

  27. I worked in Zion for four years. If you get a chance, eat at the Pizza & Noodle Co. in Springdale (just outside Zion NP). Their Thai Chicken Pizza is an absolute favorite of mine. If you like ceramics/pottery, spend some time browsing the Worthington Gallery. Don't forget the fun hikes in the park that are great for kids, e.g., Weeping Rock and Riverside Trail. Have a great trip and safe travels!

  28. I just got goose bumps of monstrous proportion. Not over the size of the trip, but over the fact that you'll be on the esplenade on the 4th. I long to be there again... I will totally be there in Spirit with you...

  29. Why not just add 1 more stop and come to Iowa for a day!!! We have lots of exciting flooding here to see. LOL!

    Mom of triplets- 3 1/2 years old

  30. I just wanted to let you know that I live along your route (outside of Boulder,CO) and am delurking to let you know that you are welcome to play/stay here! I have 3.5-year-old triplets,too, so I know all the happening playgrounds in the area!

    We, sadly, had to cancel our summer roadtrip to Canada (just outside of Toronto) due to the sucky economy, but I am excited to hear how your gang does on the road. My best advice, don't forget the earplugs for the pilot and co-pilot.

    And just to give you hope, we took a cross-country roadtrip when our triplets were 18-months old and we only stopped for one diaper change during a 20-hour trip. I also learned, however, that my kids don't like to sleep in the car. Hence, the reason the whole family was wide awake in Omaha at 4:30 am.

    Happy travels!

  31. What a great trip! Can't wait to hear all about it.
    As you pass through a little town called LaVerkin, UT on your way to Zion- please wave! I'll be watching for you!

  32. Sounds like there will be many blogs to follow that trip. Sounds awesome! I love the spontaneity. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for you on Monday and Tuesday in Denver!


  33. Sounds awesome!!! And I am dying to know how you guys manage so much time off of work on such short notice?!?! (It's nosy of me I know!) My husband could get that much time off but it would require months and months of coordination/scheduling, etc...

    Anyway, have a great time!!!


  34. Write a book! It will keep you in gas money for the rest of your life.

    Love, Susan

  35. Uhhh, you're still going to blog, right? Safe and happy travels to you! If you're coming through Albuquerque, wave on your way through town.

  36. WOW. You are brave. I lived in the Boston area for years as a kid and agree with you 100% re: the fireworks.

    FYI, Indianapolis has an awesome children's museum. One of the biggest in the world. In case you need a break somewhere in the midwest. We have a membership and have used the heck out of it.

    Have a wonderful trip!