“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir
Here’s to the beginning of another adventure of going into nature, into ourselves, into the character-building and yet comforting place to meet others who are also out on an adventure, and into the ever-more disappearing moments of being a family with no other distractions.
Official Departure Time: 12:08
First Stop: 12:10 – Emergency five minute stop to find Brooke’s tablet headphones. No fear – they were at her feet.
Official odometer reading: 107,570
We have a map on our blog of all the places we have visited as a family. Brooke was looking at the map one day and reflected that we have not been to very many places east of the Mississippi River. It isn’t that we don’t like going east, but there is so much more open space, less congestion, and more campgrounds out west. Scott said he would prefer to go out West again (me too) but we haven’t taken the kids to the Smoky Mountains yet, so we might as well take the kids someplace new. We usually like to leave our agenda open to allow for whatever adventures appear along the way, but we will have to be more diligent about planning our camping over the weekends as sites will most likely be limited.
Scott has been practice packing for at least a month. It paid off. There isn’t a whole lot of extra space in the van. We have a half-sized bin for each of our clothing, a water jug crate, Scott’s Chuck box or mini-kitchen. a 5 gallon bucket (our washing machine), a bin for biking helmets and clothing, a bin for paddling gear, a layers bin, two food bins, a half bin for camping miscellaneous items, the ancient Coleman stove, three bags for beach towels and shower towels, the tent, Camelback’s (water backpacks), a large tool box, and two duffel bags of our sleeping bags, mats, pillows, and bedtime clothing. In the wells where our seats normally stow we have camp chairs, two mini-shovels, the legs to the table on the roof, a gallon of camp fuel, and a soccer ball. In the side wells for the seats are the climbing gear, Dutch oven, jumper cables, and a smaller tool box.
Scott decided to put the new mega cooler outside the van.The new Canyon Cooler is a step up from our usual coolers in an attempt to have our food stay colder longer and in hopes that it will survive our trip. We have yet to have a cooler survive one of our summer trips. In fact, on some trips we have had to replace the cooler mid-trip. I will spare you the details, but let’s just say I have a reputation for destroying coolers. Scott affectionately calls me The Cooler Crusher. No, I have not actually crushed a cooler…yet. The plan is to take this cooler down a few rivers in a handful of years when the kids are older. The cooler will be the seat for the oarsman, a.k.a. Scott.
The Master of trying to perfectly fit everything, Scott, contemplated putting the watermelon on the hitch tray/cargo carrier that extends back behind the van before we left the house. I instantly envisioned a watermelon missile. Scott says it would be more like a watermelon depth charge or mine since it is coming off the back versus the front.
On the roof we have five bikes, Scott has a road and mountain bike, a portable table, a kayak, a canoe, and paddles. I just turned to Scott to ask if that was all. Ever proud of his engineering packing mastery he responded, “Is that all?” I’m not sure anyone could fit anything more, but then I said that about him last year.
First bathroom break: O’Hare Oasis on 294 I would like to blame it on the kids, but it was me. I do like to drink a lot of water.
The kids are happily plugged into their new tablets.
More to come! Indiana Dunes or Bust!