Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our Summer Adventure

New Zealand camper van trip 2007
Flexible. It's something I'm not. Not physically, not mentally. I like to plan what is going to happen during the week and when something changes, even though I know I should be, I am not good at adapting. It's something I need to work on because you can't count on life being very predictable. 
     This is exactly why I think it is a good thing we are doing a very "fly by the seat of your pants" style trip this summer. 
     We have two weddings to go to. One in Iowa and one in Rhode Island. They are a week a part. To save money by avoiding buying tickets for the three or four different airports we would need to fly in and out of, we have decided to drive. Across the whole country. There and back. I honestly doubt we are saving much money, if any, but it's all about the adventure at this point in our lives. Since Scott is off work for the summer (he's a teacher) and my work is accommodating (the people I nanny for gave me the time off and I will blog from the road) there is no time like the present for us to embark on this cross country journey. 

My concerns:
  • I may lose my mind
    • a) We will be away from the ocean for a large portion of this trip, longer than I've ever been away from it in my entire life.
    • b) The "plan" will be flexible and unpredictable. Yikes!
    • c) We will be seeing and staying with lots of friends and family. I am an introvert and nothing about that is changing for this trip. It's something that doesn't change ever. I like my alone time, my quiet time (which is typically my surf time). I am stoked to see family, don't get me wrong, but I hope I still have some time to myself to collect my thoughts and "re-charge".
  • We will drive each other crazy
    • We've actually done a camper van trip across New Zealand for three weeks and survived, so I'm less concerned about this bullet point. Scott's driving does not scare or bother me, so this is a plus. He is not critical of my driving either. 
  • We will not have enough time to do everything we would like/the schedule will be too packed
    • This is going to happen. I am "planning" on that. We have high hopes of accomplishing and seeing a lot, but have both accepted that it might not happen. 
     Well, at least there's that. The acceptance of impending chaos. I can try to prepare and avoid the things I am worried about, but that's about all I can plan on. Despite all of my concerns, I'm pretty freakin' excited to add this experience to my life. My greatest hope is that we will not only come home with great stories, but will return more well rounded, stronger individually and as a couple. Either way, I will document what happens on this little blog of mine. 
     We could have done an exotic surf trip instead. We could have traveled out of the country. We could have had a romantic getaway. I thought about all of this at least twice, but sometimes the best adventures are the ones that test your limits the most. With this trip, the journey is the destination (I heard that in a car commercial recently, although I'm sure someone important said it first). 

Here's the tentative itinerary:
-San Diego, California to Salt Lake City, Utah
-Salt Lake City to Yellowstone, Wyoming 
-Yellowstone to Keystone, South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore
-South Dakota to Iowa for wedding #1
-Iowa to Chicago, Illinois to visit friends
-Chicago to Pennsylvania to visit family
-Pennsylvania to Rhode Island for wedding #2
-Rhode Island to New York, New York to visit my sister Danielle
-New York to North Carolina to visit and surf with our friend Dave
-North Carolina to Georgia or Alabama
-Georgia to New Orleans, Louisiana
-New Orleans to somewhere in Texas
-Texas to Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
-New Mexico to San Diego

The day after we get back Scott and I leave for bachelor and bachelorette parties, respectively. Mine is in Vegas, his is in Tahoe. The following Tuesday Scott returns to School.

If this trip doesn't teach me to be more flexible, I don't know what will.

Bring on the advice. We (I) need tips and encouragement! 
~Have you done any long road trips? 
~Got any good places to see and stay in South Dakota/Alabama/Georgia/New Orleans (cheap but not gross)?
-Any good recommendations for this journey are very much appreciated. 


  1. so i may be the only reader here to give you advice on South Dakota but my mom is from South Dakota and since her entire family still lives there I have been there many times. If you do get a chance stop by the Black Hills (where Mt. Rushmore is). you can stay in cabins on the top of the mountain. they're not too expensive and the view is breathtaking. there's a huge lake and it's like an adult summer camp. i loved it!

    also, if you get a chance stop by New Jersey! That's where I live and since it's on your way you may be able to add the into the itinerary. there's so much to see/do on the jersey shore and you'd be right on the ocean :) xo

  2. No advice, but sending much encouragement! A month on the road! I'm super jealous. I'm a very unplanned/hate planning person so your trip soudns like a blast to me. It would stress me out to have things I had to do. Weddings are fun though, so I don't think I would mind that.
    Did you make plans to stop at any major lakes? That might help you feel a bit better about being away from the Ocean.
    Make sure you take lots of pics! I've never been off the west coast. I'm curious to know what the middle and east look like! LOL I'm excited to hear about your trip!! What a cool summer adventure.

  3. Oh friend, I have no advice for you. But the trip sound absolutely amazing. I am so very jealous that you will have four weeks off to do this. (My husband's a teacher also so I totally get that part.) Of course you could have gone somewhere exotic, but how amazing is it to travel around our own country? I am dying to do the same. But I totally get you on the part about visiting family. I, too, like my alone time. I hope you have a fantastic time. Please post a million pictures from each place you stop!

  4. Oh friend, I have no advice for you. But the trip sound absolutely amazing. I am so very jealous that you will have four weeks off to do this. (My husband's a teacher also so I totally get that part.) Of course you could have gone somewhere exotic, but how amazing is it to travel around our own country? I am dying to do the same. But I totally get you on the part about visiting family. I, too, like my alone time. I hope you have a fantastic time. Please post a million pictures from each place you stop!

  5. Ohhhh, super jealous! My husband and I have made the trip cross country 3 times now. Of course there are some less exciting parts, but there are some absolutely amazing parts of our country. Each time, we didn't have an itinerary and it worked out perfectly. Actually, I think that it worked out even better that we didn't have any set plans. And we got to stay in some sweet hotels too (last minute, walk-in rates). The SLC, Yellowstone, wyoming, Keystone, S. Dakota part is going to be amazing. The best advice that I can give is to not have any plans, just an end-date, which is exactly what you are doing. Good luck!

  6. P.S. I would recommend AAA. Your path takes you into some super hot areas.

  7. This sounds like an amazing trip! I love Chicago! And as far as Texas, I here Austin is a great city! I also just read a blog post (I wish I could remember where!) but it gave advice for roadtrips and things to do to keep from getting bored on the drive. One suggestion was to make a list of crazy/unique questions to ask eachother. It was actually quite a cute idea. If I come across the blog I'll be sure to let you know! I'm sure you guys will have an amazing time!

  8. this will be so fun! and so good for your marriage. i cant wait to go on a long road trip like this with William. i know we will argue and get to that point, but it will be fun to work through it together!

    Wave to me in St. George as you pass through to Salt Lake!

  9. What no Florida?
    I'm hurt...;-)
    Have fun hope you get a gulf swell

  10. That is a crazy trip! I bet you will be blown away by all that you'll see and come away from it with a new appreciation and love for our own country. My advice - make awesome and varied playlists and sing along, LOUDL...print out car games (trivia, "would you rather" questions, etc)...pack lots of Red Vines and Sweedish Fish (at least that's what I'd bring)...stop at every dinky-touristy roadside attraction...and don't sweat the little things!! Cannot wait to read/see all about it!!

  11. Chicago lady over here...

    Your trip sounds super cool! Make sure your friends in Chicago take you guys to some fun places! The city has a lot to offer :)

  12. This is so so so exciting!! And you're coming right near me! I am less than an hour from Atlanta. I'm too excited about this right now to give you suggestions but I'll email you when I think of them :)

  13. that sounds like such a fun trip! hope you have the best time!

  14. Very exciting! I'd love to do this someday, and I definitely look forward to reading about your adventures on the road. Best wishes for a safe and happy trip.

  15. Awesome trip you have lined up! My husband and I are currently on a six month road trip of the US and I can assure you that you will love your travels. Thoughts I have - blogging on the road has proven difficult for us b/c there's so much else to do and see with your time, so just be prepared for that. I'm a planner and had your same concerns - what the trip had done for me is help allow me to address my need to be planned and in control head on, so a blessing, really. If you're a music person, def get some playlists lined up b/c you will come to areas without a single station. I'm sure there's way more, but most importantly it will be an amazing experience! Safe travels!

  16. Oohh, sounds like my dream vacation! I've always wanted to drive through the states!

    I would say, take your alone time when ever need it. People understand, you will keep your sanity;)
    I do it too, even when i visit and i haven't seen my parents for 6 months.

    Have a great holidays lovely! And drive safely :)

  17. this is aawweessoommmee!! such an adventure!! my family drove cross country (without me, i was at camp) when we moved from south carolina to california. i kinda wish i'd had that experience of seeing all the in between states.

  18. OMG this trip looks amazing! How long will you be gone? So about your fears... I am afraid you will have to be prepared to encounter all of them... like it or not but you will probably have to face them sooner or later, but at least you can already mentally prepare... Have loads of funs and I can't wait to read your amazing stories!!!

  19. your trip sounds like a blast!! I'm from VA originally myself but I lived in utah for about 5 years during college. I did a lot of cross country driving. It seems really daunting but once you get into it, its really a lot of fun. I used to love to "radio surf" and find the different stations as we went along. Also i loved seeing how the scenery would change and enjoy belting out some of my favorite tunes while driving along :) Sounds like a great summer adventure I hope you enjoy it! If you get the chance go to the outer banks in north carolina! great surfing and beautiful scenery! Also if you run across a wawa gas station (on the east coast mostly maryland and virginia!) stop in there and have an iced coffee. I'm living overseas now and I still think about thier iced coffees on a nearly daily basis haha!

  20. Wow you weren't kidding about the whole going across the country thing. I've never traveled to any of the places you want advice for, but I will tell you one thing, you are right about Ohio being HOT! I hope you and your husband enjoy your time together and that you it ends up being more fun than stressful! Happy Trails to you!

  21. Wow, you guys are going to have the best time. Sorry no advice because a) I don't own a car, and b) I've never been to any of the palces on your list BUT I hope you guys have an awesome time, and I hope through this experience you learn to be more flexible and open to change :-) Have an awesome time.

  22. My family has driven across the country and back many times, so I know what you'll be experiencing. It seems stressful at first but once you get on the road, there's so much time to just be with your thoughts, daydream and blast music - it is so much more relaxing than it seems. It looks like you're coming near Philly - will you be having any meet ups? :) I hope you have an incredible time!

  23. Not much advice to give, but I'm sure you will have a great time! I'll be in Yellowstone in August, too. My mom is working there for the summer (she is retired).
    We drove from San Diego up the coast all the way to Canada once. It was a great time. :) Have fun and try to enjoy everything, whether planned or not.

  24. In texas of course try to go to Austin , this city is so much fun , really young ,vibrant

    if you miss too much the sea you can even paddle on the river by downtown so fun !

  25. Oohhh Dev this trip sounds wonderful! =) have so much fun and don't forget to blog, cuz I'll miss reading your posts hehe

  26. That really is quite a trip! Whew! I'm sure you guys will have fun, and even if there are little tiffs here and there, they'll be funny memories down the road!

  27. I'm a reader without a domain.
    But regardless, Carlsbad Caverns are amazing. While in that area of NM, you should go to sitting bull falls. And other parts of Lincoln National Forest are beautiful to say the least.

    As for Texas: Austin in the only city worth visiting in the entire state. Notice how I said city... regardless, Austin has an enormous SUP community and amazing vegetarian food all over.

    Places to visit outside of Austin, if you choose to go are: Hamilton Pool, Pedernales Falls, and/or Sculpture Falls in the Green Belt of Austin.

    I'm sure your trip will be beautiful.

  28. Don't underestimate Iowa...we're fun. :)

  29. See, at least you are willing to admit your inflexibility. I think all of us are inflexible to some degree--just in different aspects of life.
    You'll do great.
    Go get 'em tiger!
    Oh, Just Living the Dream

  30. Where are you going to in rhode island? Newport and Narragansett have decent surfing. (I am sure not compared to where you are...but still!)

  31. South Dakota is pretty amazing - I would recommend staying near Rapid City because it's close to all sorts of fun cheesy tourist attractions, including Mt. Rushmore. Also, if you get a chance, go to's a true Western town!

    My parents live in Huntsville, AL and it's so nice and pretty there, but if you're going to Georgia, I would go and experience Atlanta!

  32. My sister just did this...they rented a camper van from NJ (where we live) and drove to California, stopping at a lot of the places you want to go! You can read more at her blog:

    Just found your blog...Love it! We moved to San Diego in 2007 and just moved back to the east coast in 2010 after having our son. Have a great trip!

  33. I live in San Antonio, TX which would be right on your I10 route from Louisiana. You'll drive through Houston, but, it has a little less Texas charm. You could go around Houston and head NE to Austin (it is the best city in TX, but out of your way sorta). Either way if you need help in TX send me an email dalienehendon at gmail dot com. I'm a teacher too so I'm off for a few more days! yikes!

  34. This sounds like the trip of a lifetime!! My husband and I would love to do a cross-country road trip.. ah, someday. Can't wait to hear more about it! :)

  35. Enjoy the journey, Devon and Scott! This is an INCREDIBLE opportunity, one I have dreamt of doing myself my whole life. You will see and experience so many wonderful things and it will be an adventure you will tell your kids about and never forget. Embrace each other as well as the ups and downs. Remember you will be home, surfing, near the ocean, eating home cooked food, and basking in alone time and blogging sooner than you think. So don't wish away a single moment. CAN'T WAIT UNTIL YOU'RE IN NYC!!!! Drive safely and make good choices :) I love you

  36. I guess I'm off the hook for giving advice since the trip has already happened and I'm just catching up, but I can't wait to see how your adventure turned out. I hope it was everything you wanted it to be!


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