Well, this summer we are going on our much-anticipated trip! Yay! We are going up to Drumheller, Alberta (35 hours of driving) first, then perhaps to Calgary for a day. Then we'll do due South into Montana to the Glacier National Park, and come East via South Dakota (Devil's Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands) with our final stop being Chicago to see friends and visit the Field Museum.
Our plan is to eat many meals out of our coolers, do some in-park cooking, and hit local eateries, avoiding national chains for the entire trip. We originally planned to camp as much as possible, but have opted to get inexpensive hotels instead to save the work of having to set-up and tear-down nearly every day. My SIL (a travel agent) has offered her on-call services, but we haven't decided if we want to just be spontaneous or if we want to call her each day and say "we'd like tonight to be in X location". LOL
We have made a deliberate decision NOT to take a GPS but to rely on maps, guidebooks and local people to find our routes, hotels and restaurants. We have our passports (first one ever for both Simon and ME!!!), and we traded in our old PT Cruiser for a mini-van several months ago.
We've spent hours and hours talking about routes, maps, timing and what we want to see. We've got a big stack of books on CD, some tried and true and others new to one or all of us. We purchased a new cooler (the one we got for a wedding gift has finally deteriorated beyond practical use) and we've made many, many lists. Mike has gotten extra memory chips for his good cameras so that he can properly document as well as really be an artist again.
We have someone to check on the house, the cats, the mail and the plants. The neighbors will also be watching out, as well as random other friends. Last minute prep will include:
- going through our medications to ensure we have ample supplies to last the whole trip
- laundry and packing, which could be interesting considering Glacier still has snow issues
- updating our water bottles and camp dishes, making sure they're all clean
- packing the cook box with all kitchen/camp cooking essentials
- packing telescope, binoculars
- checking first aid kit and updating expired stuff
- grocery shopping
- packing the van
- for me, deciding what knitting projects/supplies to take