Picture this: An epic summer family road trip along the California coast up through Oregon, with a final destination in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. The goal? To see orca in the wild, No. 2 on my list of top nature sights I want to see.
This trip will take us some 2,700 miles before we’re finished, with more than 50 hours on the road. There will be camping, lots and lots of camping – in state parks in California, Oregon and Washington. Plus many new-to-us adventures along the way as we explore the shores of the Pacific Northwest, giant redwoods and wildlife that’s different from home.
There’s just one catch: I’ll be solo parenting for half the trip. That’s right. A week on my own with The Explorers (ages 10 and 7) before dad joins us. Which might not seem too overwhelming until you start to realize what it entails – hours in the car without dad to help referee backseat arguments or navigate our route. Packing and unpacking the car each day and somehow managing to make everything fit each time. Setting up and breaking down camp every night for a week. Preparing camp meals. Planning awesome outings each day. And somehow staying sane through it all.
To be fair, I will have company. My wonderful NaturePlayTrips.com partner, Michele, help set this whole trip up and invited me along. She will also be sans hubby with her kids for the first part of our journey.
I suppose a week traveling without your partner might not seem that crazy to some of you, but don’t forget: I’m not really not a big camper. Usually the hubby takes the lead on all things camping, leaving me to sit by and oversee it all. Not this time.
As the packing lists start growing and the camping gear gets dusted off (and new items purchased!), I’m beginning to wonder what in the world I was thinking. I have no idea how this is all going to go.
But isn’t that what adventure is all about? I hope you’ll stay tuned as we undertake this grand summer road trip. You can bet I’ll be sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with you.
Michele’s already sharing some of her wisdom on how to budget for a family camping trip. But if you’ve got tips on staying sane while camping solo with kids, your favorite simple camping meals or your must-see sights for families along the Pacific Coast, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!