2013 Road Trip Notes, Day 0: the Master of Last-Minute Cramming

road trip supplies

All the essential supplies: maps, guidebooks, drinks, containers, summer reading, tunes, pens ‘n’ notebook.

Our 2013 road trip is upon us! After several months of brainstorming, research, mapping, reserving, debating, and whittling down our wish lists, I can say with some confidence that my readiness level for this year’s excursion to the faraway land of Boston now stands at 20%.

(Ha! Little joke. I wish I could see my wife’s face right now as she reads this. Hopefully I’m still in bed and well out of striking distance.)

As one would expect hours before vacation, today felt like one long to-do list. Sandwiched as it was between July 4th and our vacation, it would’ve been a write-off anyway. What my wife and I accomplished, which we hope is everything:

* Maps printed and/or directions scribbled for all the major locations my wife wants to see, except the several dozen I forgot.
* Solidified our planned stopover in Cleveland in my mind, which holds multiple opportunities for geek tourism despite the city’s frequent misuse as a pop-culture punchline.
* Picked up the rental vehicle; deciphered the radio controls and the other, lesser dashboard functions.
* Bagged our emergency snacks so we don’t have to shell out big bucks every time a random craving hits us broadside.
* Eliminated any refrigerator items certain to turn into zombie kibble before our return.
* Cobbled together our portable pharmacy in case of the afflictions most likely to smack us down when we least expect them.
* Notified our credit card companies of our travel plans so they don’t freak out and start denying charges because of suspected thievery. (Did I mention an embarrassing incident or two in Boulder last year? Lovely surprise test of my temper.)
* Set up lethal home defenses, surveillance, traps, and so forth.
* Stayed up late adding more and more tourist attractions and distractions as backup plans in case of too much free time on our hands. (I was the guy in school who procrastinated every essay until the night before, wrote into the wee hours, and finagled at least a B-plus or more every time. Old habits die hard, especially when they work wonders.)
* Selected reading matter and musical accompaniment for the quiet moments between experiences (above and beyond the standard-issue Gideon Bibles doubtlessly lying in wait).
* Charged all the devices that need charging. Stocked up on batteries for the older devices.
* Reminded ourselves that this will be a long, fun, stressful, ultimately rewarding trip; and that, when we reach that point in the road trip at which we’re sick of each other and ready to snap, we should find ways to demonstrate love and mercy anyway somehow, even if means upping our sugar intake to see it through.

Our timeline of last year’s journey to Denver should give you an idea of last year’s approach. We’ve done this every year for over a decade, including the online writeup part. The initial entries were hosted on someone else’s site and ought to be remastered and reprinted someday, but this is only our second year sharing via WordPress.

Two important changes for this year’s Notes on the Go:

1. At least one photo upload per day. This year I have a smartphone that facilitates uploading on the run with minimal editing. My old Canon PowerShot will still be coming along, but working with photos using a laptop trackpad is not my idea of a good time or an efficient process.

2. Shorter entries for the duration. Typing a couple thousand words per night was an interesting experiment, but I had to toss the whole “rest and relaxation” part of my vacation out the window to accomplish it. I’ll be consciously limiting myself to a brief moment, anecdote, or list per day with all the self-control I can muster, for the sake of mental well-being and much-needed family quality something-or-other. Fans of shorter entries may deem this the Greatest MCC Miniseries of All Time. The later, lengthier photojournal entries will handily overcompensate for those in the long run.

Prayers, happy thoughts, and Boston tourism suggestions greatly appreciated. Huzzah!

…just realized I forgot to check into the Lexington historical scene. I suppose a few more minutes’ sleep deprivation wont hurt…

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