Sunday, October 10, 2004

Trial Run for Trip

Last weekend we drove down to Chico, CA to attend my Grandmother's memorial service. The service was actually in Paradise, but we stayed at the Super 8 in Chico. It was a nice weekend. We were able to see cousins that we've haven't seen since 1988, when we all met in Tulare, CA to celebrate my grandma's 75th birthday. Some of these cousins are now married with kids and it was nice to meet them.

We treated this as kind of a trial run and it gave us a chance to try some things out before the big trip next weekend. Here are some of the things we learned on this trip.

Things that worked
  • Hostess Frosted Donettes and milk for breakfast - After a couple of hours on the road, we set the open box between us in the car and munched on donettes throughout the morning. We purposely brought small bottles of milk, rather than cartons, so they would fit in the cup holders.
  • Ice chest in the backseat - We brought along a cooler filled with pop, individual servings of pudding and apple sauce, PB & J sandwiches, milk and strawberry jam. This provided easy access to quick snacks without having to pull the car over.
  • Frozen Water Bottles - We discovered this idea during our trip last year. We froze the bottles of water to keep the ice chest cold and then drank the water while we were in Anaheim (where the water tastes awful). The bottles kept everything cold during the entire trip.
  • Rolling Duffles - A few months ago we purchased rolling duffle bags and had the chance to try them out for the first time last weekend. They worked great. We were afraid that they wouldn't hold enough, but we had plenty of room. There is a zippered false bottom that provided extra room.
  • Mickey Mouse two-way radios - My son purchased a set of Mickey Mouse two-way radios on clearance at Target a while back. These worked great for communicating between our two rooms. The radio was turned on when you were available and turned off when you were not. This worked out better than calling the room because you didn't wake a person up if they were sleeping. I even took it with me while getting ice late one night and it provided a little extra security.
  • Making Mix CD's for the trip - Last year we each made 12 CD's to listen to on the road. We decided on 12 CD's each because the CD case we brought had room for 24 so we divided it in half. We switched off between the two of us, each taking a turn playing our CD. We both enjoy a wide variety of music, so even if it wasn't our turn, we still ended up enjoying the other person's CD.

Things that didn't

  • Cupcakes - I baked cupcakes to take with us. While they tasted great, the frosting melted a little while they were sitting in the trunk and they never really recovered from the experience. We didn't even try to eat them in the car because it would have caused a huge mess, and ended up bringing a lot of them home. Tonight I baked chocolate chip cookies and will pop them in the freezer until we are ready to leave.
  • Staying on an upper floor in a building without an elevator. Our room was on the 3rd floor and there wasn't an elevator. It was tough hauling all our stuff up two flights of stairs and then hauling it all down again two days later. The rolling duffles were nice, but carrying them up the stairs was not. We plan to ask for ground floor rooms if we end up in a building without an elevator.
  • Bringing team games for two people - I brought Trivial Pursuit (Baby Boomer edition and Pop Culture edition), Taboo and TriBond along on the trip in case we wanted to play some games with the family. We ended up not playing with the family, but the two us wanted to play a game. We tried playing TriBond, but it wasn't as fun with just two players. Next time we'll bring some easy to play games for two players, like Cribbage or Yahtzee or Boggle.
  • Putting labels on the CD - Last year I very carefully made labels for my CD's. They looked nice, but I think it caused the CD to be a little unbalanced and made a slight noise while spinning in the CD player. After the trip, I kept the CD case in my Gym bag in the trunk and the heat from the car caused the labels to buckle. I'm re-doing the CD's now and will leave the labels off.
  • Not bringing a VCR with us - We could have easily hooked up a VCR to the TV in the motel room and brought a few tapes along with us. I've emailed Howard Johnson's to see if it's possible to hook the VCR up in our room there.


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