Finally the time has come (and gone)! Road trip to the Redwood forest! We made it, down and back. Nine days on the road, four kids, two dogs, pulling our trailer hundreds of miles down the road. Thankfully, (because of my husband who insists on pampering our suburban and getting every single little thing fixed on it, even when I want to cut corners), she faithfully pulled that trailer up and down steep hills and through heat topping the hundreds, without fail. I won't tell him he was right about spending so much money making sure she was running top notch, because it will go to his head. ;) But he was right, I'll admit it here. She (yes the suburban is a she) started to make some weird noise, after the hottest day and some big hills, and we got worried, but after a rest and cooler temps the sound seemed to go away. I was going to do one long post, but I took so many pictures and want to talk about so many things that I got a little overwhelmed and wasn't blogging at all. So I've decided to take my time and just blog about one day at a time as I can.
This is our first day on the road...
Getting on the freeway, 7:30 am. Today is our longest drive day and we want to get to our destination before it's too late. It's July 4th and we know that the roads will start to get congested. I decided not to borrow a DVD player from my friend this time and so I researched a bunch of ideas for keeping kids entertained on road trips. Before we left I got books on cd and fun music from the library. Our favorite story on cd ended up being Hank the Cowdog, that one even got the parents laughing. :) I printed off car bingo and other games to play in the car (counting cows ended up being by far the favorite of all). I set up a three ring binder for each kid with paper in it and a pencil pocket with pencils and pencil sharpener and a new box of crayons (because that's always awesome). They each got to bring 5 toys to play with. I also brought pipe cleaners for the kids to craft with. I forgot them until the last day though, but they still ended up being a hit. Actually it worked out well because everyone was pretty burnt out by the last day and it was a nice new distraction. They made necklaces, bracelets, rainbows, people, all sorts of stuff with them. I also brought a book to read to them and so when all else would fail I'd pull out the book and read for a while. The kids love to listen to me read, and it really helped to recenter us all. :) Last but not least… snacks, got to have the snacks. ;) We rarely have gum, so I got a kind I was comfortable with and gave them gum a few times, which was very exciting of course. A friend told me about these trays that they used on a road trip and let me borrow two, and I bought two more, and they worked out really well. I will definitely be buying two more for future road trips. Wanted to make sure they worked before I bothered getting one for each of the kids.
Breakfast on the road. Highlight of the trip for Leiella, I moved her into a high back booster because it worked better with the tray and she is big enough now. I keep being surprised by how fast she grows! In my head she's still the baby sister. I pulled the booster out of the shed and set it up and had her try it out, and she was so excited. It was really cute. She doesn't really nap anymore and she sat so well in the seat belt the whole trip, I was really impressed! :)
First stop was a KOA in Albany OR. We got there around 2 pm. It was a loonnngggg drive. One thing I didn't factor in when timing was how much slower we had to drive with the trailer… so we had to add at least an additional hour on to every drive. My calculations were for 5 hours of drive time, which was long enough… ended up being a bit more than that! Right when we pulled in we headed for the pool. Only stop with a pool, and it worked out well. :) I'm new to the whole KOA thing, only the second time camping in one (we took the trailer for a trial run before the trip to a local KOA) and I sort of like them more than I thought I would. Definitely not roughing it, but hey we have a trailer, we are already not roughing it any more. ;) They are very kid friendly and so far seem really clean and well run.
After cooling off in the pool (which was colder than we expected, but very refreshing) the kids finished getting their wiggles out on the playground.
Showing off her muscles, this girl is fearless on the playground. :) I keep forgetting she's almost five. She will start to do something, like slid down the pole or hang upside down on bars, and I will start to jump up and help her, than realize she is more than capable and quite old enough. It's hard to let the "baby" of the family grow up.
Sitting in the shade watching my children play and enjoying their giggles and silliness. :)
She was a pro at this by the time we left...
They had a hula hoop contest right by our trailer and the kids got a kick out of watching everyone, but didn't want to join in. Until the contest was over that is, then they ran over there and gave it a try. I didn't realize I was in the picture, which makes the next picture even funnier.
Photo bomb fail. Though I was being clever. ;)
Beautiful sunset on the 4th of July.
They had a fireworks show that night, nothing much but the kids still got to watch a little show at least.
Hanging with my boys watching the fireworks. It was a good way to end a long day.
More to come! :)