Let the 2011 Road Trip Countdown Begin :)

Tonight I was able to stop working before 9 p.m. because I had the annual invitation from Treva for our pre-road trip planning dinner at her house.  This is where we eat an amazing meal (Treva is a wonderful cook.) and go over our packing lists, pour over the atlas together, and generally plot and plan.  Since this is our third year to all travel together (Leon's first with us), we are somewhat pros at all of this.  I must say that anybody who would have seen us year one might have thought...how does this motley crew travel together, but let me tell you...it works.  Frankly, I have never had so much fun traveling with anybody as I do with them.

As is par for the course, we had planned one thing...and already we are adding stops, miles, etc. to it.  We are complete nuts.  We are now leaving Friday night after work instead of early Saturday morning so we can get a "jump on it".  Wesley and I will have both worked all day, so we will see how far we get. :) 

Since several are requesting that I blog our updates, instead of posting notes in FB, I am promising now only to do my best.  As a way of explanation, I think I should lay the foundation of how we do this so anyone who is hearing about this for the first time has a road map (per se and pun fully intended). 

First, we completely wing this....no hotel reservations, or reservations of any sort mind you.  And yes, this has caused us some close calls in the past, but we like living on the edge.  Frankly for a Type A like me this is probably the best part (and most therapeutic) because it gives it a "crazy" feel..okay, that made me look stupid.  Well, I can't help it...I am a planner.  Sue me.  :)

Second, we are adding Leon to the mix this year and he is totally excited; he is not though, as excited as we are to have him with us.  Leon is one of Wesley's grandsons.  He now lives with Wesley full-time so this is his first vacation with all of us...and his first real road trip.  Hang on. :)

Third, we are notorious for mapping out a rough schedule on dates, days, miles, some key spots (generally each of the four (now five) of us will have one spot specifically that we want to go to)...BUT we always ADD to it.  The first year, we added a full day on to the trip, had an ER visit, and a detour/extra day in a spot (of course completely unplanned).  Last year, we planned for a longer trip...extra days...14 to be exact and we ended up taking 16 days/15 nights.  This year, I absolutely HAVE to be back on a set day (and we shrunk this trip to 9 days)...oh help us. :) :)

Fourth, our trips have themes and usually an overarching "title"...last year's " 6920 miles, 15 nights, 16 days, 3 women, 1 man, a truck, and a hitch...and a quilt"..and yes that will be the title of the book I write about it one day. :)  The first year one of the themes was Dunkin Doughnuts; we saw them everywhere.  Who knows what this year holds!! :)

Fifth,our first two years we had a medical and/or a vehicle emergency.  We are praying for neither this year.  Not that we didn't make the best of both.  There was laughter found in them too. Of course. :)

Sixth, there is always a dare or a coup event.  Last year, I got Doretha and Treva to saddle up to the bar at the largest saloon/bar in North America (up in Sturgis).  I have a future biscuit making lesson with Sarah for that...:)  The first year's coup event was that we got Doretha to play a beautiful grand piano at fancy lobster restaurant in Maine...last year she played an antique upright at the Big Bottom (Tavern) Bar & Grill in Washington state.  Yes, I have video of both.  Yes, they are FANTASTIC!! :)

Seventh, before you ask...yes, we do all get along amazingly well, but we also have learned each other's ticks.  Don't hand Treva plastic (she is allergic).  Keep the neosporin away from Doretha (she is allergic/Treva will crack you up scolding her).  Feed Heather at regular intervals (I can get crabby when I am hungry).  Wesley needs coffee and sweets at regular intervals or he gets crabby (and sleepy). 

Eighth, we are each lovers of the "deal" or the "treasure" so imagine the four of us road tripping across America in various flea markets, antique stores, used book stores...anyone picking up on this?  The first year, Wesley and I had to find a post office so we could ship home.  Last year, we wisely took a larger vehicle, a tow hitch and a big black tub with straps on a metal carrier we attached on the BACK of a truck.  We barely made it home without shipping...just barely.  This year...I shudder to imagine.  As long as we don't come across a used bookstore...we will be fine....maybe. ;)

Ninth, we have discovered the good and the bad of Tom Toms and Map Quest.  We have a love hate relationship with them..though my vote is Map Quest rules.  There is some dissension on this topic. :)

Tenth, we laugh...and laugh...and when we are done laughing...we laugh some more for good measure.  Frankly, I have never laughed as hard or as much as I do on these trips.  Whether it is stories, antics, mistakes, goofiness, or a combination of all of these..there is a lot of laughter on these trips...and let me just say, a lot of love. 

Home ~ July 19, 2010
The above was taken by Sarah after we got home last year.  Our "pose" is classic Doretha and was the perfect final shot. 

Well, off to bed...I have just finished texting Treva and Wesley our "what not to pack" and "what not to forget lists" we made at the end of last year's trips.  The countdown has truly begun and we can hardly wait!!! 

I am so glad for these precious people in my life.  They are all more than I deserve, and I am glad they have not figured it out yet. :)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)