Oh, Take It! Packing for Seven Weeks On the Road (T- 33 hours)

So Saturday everything is assembled, and Sunday it fits in the car?  Then Monday it begins.


fruit_loomYour vacation might be too long if one of your packing strategies includes a plan to hit up Wal-Mart stores for clean underwear along the way.

That’s actually not one of our strategies, though it was suggested to us by a recent college graduate who happens to be one of our kids. Leave it to someone closer in years to dorm life to remember the best laundry-aversion tactics.

Indeed this is a long trip. At 49 days it’s long enough to require that we either do laundry or stand in the check-out line at the Gatlinburg, TN, Wal-Mart. (Yes, I counted.  Fun fact–I have briefs enough to get to Tennessee.) We’re not opposed to re-supply on many trip items, in fact we intend to do that frequently, but in terms of clothes the process will not be re-supply, but re-use.  And that will require the occasional washing machine.

And so if it all comes with us from the start, that makes clothes packing one of the key prep topics for us, probably third behind itinerary and camping gear.  (Nancy would put the clothes ahead of the gear). For such a long and varied trip, ranging from Wyoming camping to New York City dining, this has to be thought through.

IMG_1203In terms of weather we will have everything from Great Basin heat to blustery Atlantic winds on the coast Down East. It could be dry but nearly freezing in Buffalo, or wet and sticky along the Potomac. We’ll nap in the shade by Jackson Lake, walk through a Lincoln museum in Springfield, check out the caves near Hocking Hills (OH), gawk at Niagara, eat peanuts at Fenway and see Pippin at the Music Box Theatre on W 45th St.

This means variety, and we might as well just take what we need.  Heck, we’re living on the road for 49 days! And in truth this is what bails us out on the whole thing: That we can just about take anything. The car and trailer provide more space to take stuff than many other vacations, when one-bag-plus-carry-on makes choices more difficult.

IMG_1204It deserves special mention that some have helped us assemble the critically important items for a camping road trip. Things like ingredients for smores, games for the car, flashlights, sporks, oreos, and bungee cords. This imaginative and thoughtful gift comes from a wonderful set of people who work with me in IT Training group at Intel. The challenge in this gift will be whether the chocolate survives un-pilfered all the way to our first camp.

So tonight, about 33 hours before we start, the puzzle is about to be assembled — it’s all around the house, and tomorrow will be fitted into our Hyundai Santa Fe and our Pop-up  camper: the food for the camper refer, the groceries for the first few days in the Tetons, the clothes, the shoes, maps, laptops, hats, smart phones, snacks, camera equipment, the “camping box” from the garage…

All of that, and some laundry soap too.


This card, and the batch of camping knick-knacks, that accompanied it, thoughtfully pointed to our interests and plans!


About Cal Stevens

Learning professional, a training manager, speaker, writer; two careers in helping others succeed. Travel writer for the common road trip.
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One Response to Oh, Take It! Packing for Seven Weeks On the Road (T- 33 hours)

  1. Suzy says:

    Bon Voyage on the big road cruise, dear Nancy and Cal.
    I am really, truly envious.You’ll be getting a Masters in Life Degree!
    Cuzzin Sooze
    P>S: I can feel your giddiness, all good.

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