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Road Trip Essentials

Road Trip Essentials

Death Valley National Park
roads were made for journeys not destinations.
— Confucius

Once a month we try to squeeze in an adventure; a day trip, long weekend, or a vacation based around work or fencing tournaments.

Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a lot of Oklahoma and driven more miles than I can count packed into two or three days in other states. So we end up spending a lot of time in the car. We plan lots of stops ahead of time, interesting abandoned buildings and waterfalls and hikes and stunning views. But there’s still lots of time between places.

We stay off the interstates as much as possible, sticking to state highways and back roads. We always stumble across something wonderful off the beaten path. But there are lots of places with no cell reception or places to eat so planning the adventure ahead of time is a must. These are the things I make sure we have before we hit the road.

Road Trip Must Haves:

a road atlas - I love maps. Not only are they handy if you don’t have service on your phone or you don’t have GPS but you get to see all the little things you might miss otherwise. Half the state parks we’ve stopped at over the years we saw on the map and made a detour to visit.

• ice chest & picnic basket with plastic ware - cuts down on making stops for food and drinks. 

• snacks - we always bring apples, carrots, almonds, chips, and something sweet.

• lunch - sandwiches, nothing too fancy and super easy to put together. I've never been in the habit of making them ahead of time but it would be a time saver.

• drinks - our trips are fueled by orange Monster energy drinks and water.

• wet wipes - I never packed these until I had kids. After that I realized how awesome and useful they are and keep some in the picnic basket.

• hand sanitizer - for too many reasons to list.

• bag for trash - just because.

• extra socks - I once decided that wading into a freezing stream in February was a good idea. But I got to stick my feet in dinosaur tracks so it was totally worth it.

hand warmers - we once drove from Oklahoma City to Big Bend National Park on the Texas/Mexico border in two days. It was the middle of December and an ice storm hit while we were there (and no matter what I’m always cold). I’m not sure why these were in my backpack to start with but I was thankful they were there. I ended up with one in each glove and one in each boot. Since then I make sure there are a few on every trip.

• chapstick - I have them stashed everywhere. There’s no such thing as too many.

• eye drops - always handy even if you don't wear contacts.

• sunscreen - because you don’t want skin cancer.

Your Guide to the National Parks: the Complete Guide to All 59 National Parks - I love this book. I bought it for a California trip knowing we'd be squeezing in Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Pinnacles, and Death Valley National Parks in just a few days. It's a great book and it lists the places that are must see and how much time each hike takes. I can't recommend it enough.

• Tylenol or Ibuprofen - just in case. 

• band aids - even if you don't use them it's better to have them. And saying that now makes me realize it's a very mom thing to say. 

So what about you? What do you always pack? Anything you wish you’d remember to bring?

Crater Lake National Park - Oregon

Crater Lake National Park - Oregon

A Weekend in Texas - Oklahoma City to Austin on the Back Roads

A Weekend in Texas - Oklahoma City to Austin on the Back Roads