Walking Down the Road
Each place we went, we needed new tools to navigate with baby. In Carlsbad Caverns or Big Bend National Park, our Ergo baby carrier was indispensable while in San Antonio or Austin, we could not do without the stroller. At the Aransas Wildlife Refuge where alligators looked suspiciously at our dog, our daypack became a diaper bag and in the electric humidity of New Orleans, a portable fan helped us all sleep better at night. We figured it out as we went along and considered every day a learning lesson.
In the end, the most difficult part of the whole trip was the adjustment of returning home. Flora was used to being within twenty feet of us at all times in the van so, in our house, she hated when we left the room. With more space to move, she quickly began doing so and we learned how much more cautious we had to be. The old tricks to get her to sleep we used before the trip no longer worked and we had to continuously employ the tricks we used on the road; i.e., driving in the car, walking with her in the carrier. While she used to sleep through the night before we left, her new separation anxiety prevented that. But that is life with a baby. Once you have it figured out, they change; and this too shall pass.
Why We Would Do it Again
All together, the journey made us better parents. Read more »
Playing in the rear of the camper
Step two: packing for a six month old baby for an uncertain amount of weeks, in variable climates, sleeping in a van at night with no running water. This was the biggest challenge of all and I won’t say I was completely successful at it either. I packed a lot she didn’t need and forgot a few things too. Sun screen and sun hats, pajamas and onesies, long pants to keep the sun off those little white sausage legs, sweatshirts to keep her warm on chilly nights, wash cloths for sink baths and burp cloths for everything else, and that’s just what was in her suitcase. We had a diaper changing station set up for quick changes anywhere anytime. No cloth diapers on this trip; all paper, all the way.
I brought a box of toys and books with a playmat and her Boppy pillow which served invaluable when we pulled over to make lunch or dinner. On a nice day, I sat her outside the van on the grass to play on her own, the dog keeping guard. Mosquitoes biting or a chance of rain, I planted her at the end of the van on the floor and out of the way. I must mention here that she was the perfect age; able to sit up and play independently but not quite mobile enough to get too far.
Where she would sleep was also an initial obstacle. Fortunately, the mini co-sleeper that we use at home was the perfect size to fit in the rear of the van when the “adult” bed was pulled out. Yes, it was more difficult to pick her up and nurse her at night, but she got her usual sleeping quarters and we got our space.
On the (Slow) Road
Sleep; the all consuming and precious commodity of parenthood. Read more »
(Note: This is an older series that I wrote for WhatEveryBabyNeeds.com, but since their blog is no long in existence, I didn’t want these to go to waste. I am posting the series here for others to find.)
Camper Beethoven headed to Texas
When we decided to take off on a road trip for a few weeks, the last thing we considered is how we would make it work with our six-month old daughter, Flora, and eleven year old dog in tow. Instead, we were anxious to get away from the seven foot piles of snow outside our door and the slow accumulation of resulting mud in our driveway. Generally, we act first and think later with the faith that everything will work out for the best, which, I’m happy to say, it always does.
Our destination: south and sunny. One of the best features of my life is that my husband, Eric, is a freelance journalist which means he can take his work anywhere and even create more work while we’re traveling (this might be better for me than him). With mobile broadband and a cell phone, we could basically choose our journey. Eric wanted to do some coverage of hurricane recovery in rural areas of the gulf coast region. I had never been to New Orleans. In between our home in the Sangre de Christo Mountains of Northern New Mexico and the bayous of Louisiana is one big land mass called Texas which would soon become our mission to explore.
Our Mystery Machine
With dates set and plans made, I began the process of rapid preparation. Read more »
Bahia de Conception
We went to Mexico this winter, drove down hauling our ’62 Cardinal travel trailer. Our 2 year old is now a road trip pro and we have figured out her limits, when to stop, when to nap, when to buy new toys. We mostly drove up the Baja peninsula. She had a fear of oceans in Cabo, so we found a quite beach locale without waves and called it an Ocean Lake. She seemed convinced and we spent the afternoons collecting shells. Read more »
The impetus for our journey was our friends Yi-Jau and Brenda’s wedding in Portland at the end of June. So, once we reached our destination, we knew we had reached the climax of our journey and only the denoument was left to wrap it up. So, we figured we better have a rockin’ good time, which we did.
We arrived in Portland on Last Thursday on Alberta Street, which was just an amazing raucous celebration of creativity, ingenuity and fun. Since we were there before the street was closed to cars, we meandered very slowly along the sidewalk checking out the bounty of wild artistry. Read more »
From Eugene, we had lunch in another cool little Oregon town, Corvalis, before heading to the coast. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of it because it rained the whole time, but we did have one clear morning where we took advantage of the chilly beach and absorbed more ocean. We ended up at the very cool Newport Aquarium, which our daughter absolutely loved.
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After Crater Lake, we headed for Eugene, Oregon and landed at the very cool Eugene Whiteaker Hostel.
We splurged on a room there to be decadent for Father’s Day and, since our camper was parked in a camp site, stayed in the camp site the second night. The Whiteaker hostel composts, recycles and grows some of their food. Hostels are always a great place to meet fellow gypsies. Read more »
After climbing a volcano, I was ready for some serious relaxation. Since we have a hot tub at home, we are spoiled, and all I could think about was soaking in some hot water. That is when we found the wonderful and quirky Stewart Springs Resort, a historic clothing-optional mineral bathhouse in the mountains of northern Cali, east of I5. They were very cool about having a kid. I had anticipated the possibility of having to trade off bath time with my hubby, but we ended up being able to spa simultaneously. Read more »
The peak of the peak of Lassen Peak
This weekend my family and I hiked 2.5 miles with 2,000 ft elevation gain in two hours (only one way, that is) up a volcano, half of which was in the snow, at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Phew. The last portion was most grueling with some iffy snowy ledges and very steep scree-covered switchbacks. Read more »
Anyone who travels knows that there is always one day/week/incident that serves to test your travel endurance, push you out of your comfort zone, and annoy you thoroughly. We have hit our wall. The truck needed to be fixed and a one day job has turned into three. Without a car, our camper parked outside a friend’s house on a busy street, and a gimpy dog who can’t walk very far or take Bart, we were forced into a Motel 6. Read more »