Sunday, May 27, 2012

Less Than 5 Weeks Out...Backyard Camping

With less than five weeks before we head out to points west, the long weekend presented us with the perfect opportunity to take stock of the camping gear and do some backyard camping. After scurrying about, searching high and low for the kids' sleeping bags for about an hour, we were successful and had a pretty nice backyard camping experience. It would have been better had it not been for the nasty neighbor with the choice vocabulary who erupted around 2 am. Oh, and then there was the technical problem of my pillow constantly sliding off of my thermarest pad. I finally realized around 3 am that if I took the pillowcase off and laid it on top, it wouldn't slide off anymore.

Tonight the boys and I will spend a second night in the tent so that we will feel a bit more ready to go on July 1. Gail is retreating back indoors, however. She has more work to do to make her pillow arrangement work better.

Other random notes:

  • Now that Toby has his awesome Redline cyclocross bike, he'll be taking that instead of his heavy mountain bike. 
  • In addition to the four roof racks for the family bikes, I also acquired two Thule Wheel On rooftop wheel racks. Since one of the racks holds a bike with both wheels on, we now only have to store Leo's small front wheel in the van, which takes care of my growing concerns about space. This also means that I will likely have room for my rugged acoustic guitar, which seems kind of necessary.
  • I finally broke down and bought a Garmin NĂ¼vi GPS unit. This will remove a bit of stress from finding hotels and campsites, and they're so cheap these days that it seemed an obvious choice. This will forever change the "are we there yet" mantra. Now they will have a constantly updating ETA!
  • Finally, I'm on the verge of buying a Verizon mobile hotspot with month-to-month service. I didn't want to be trapped in a 2-year contract, and it seemed that having only the iPad on 3G was too limiting. This way the boys can have a little screen time and blog from their own devices. They certainly know that they won't be getting much screen time on this trip, but this will make the long drives a little more bearable. I'm guessing that big chunks of our trip will have spotty 3G coverage at best, which doesn't bother me in the slightest.

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