The equation for our recent road trip went like this:
2 adults (one of whom thinks a plastic grocery bag filled with multiple full-sized containers of shaving cream, toothpaste and mouthwash is a "toiletries case")
+ apparel enough to cover both very hot and potentially chilly weather
+ a cooler, snack sacks, hotel supplies bag, and bed pillows
+ 2 Corgis with their beds, food, treats, and pen
+ a certain male's fishing pole and tackle box
1 fully loaded CRV.
After two decades of road-tripping, despite all evidence from past experience, I still approach each new
Before we get out of the driveway, I realize I've deluded myself yet again. My mental image of how everything would neatly fit into our car evaporates as I attempt to stow tote bags and bundles into the available space. I scowl at the sudden appearance of boxes (to be delivered to offspring) G forgot to mention were going with us. My sweet nature dissolves into streams of sweat as I push/shove/relocate items so everything will fit. When the panicking pooches are loaded in and we're finally ready to roll, my attitude needs some definitive readjusting.
It may be unnecessary to point out that G doesn't share my dream of traveling lightly. He thrives on the benefits of traveling by personal vehicle, which allow room for things from the four main packing groups: Must-Have, Might-Want, Just-in-Case, and Here's-an-Empty-Corner-Stash-It-In. Yet I can't quite give up my fantasy of being light-packing, efficient road travelers who can see out all the car windows and unload/reload within five minutes at any destination. In the meantime, I follow a few survival tips for dealing with our travel-reality:
1. Do not load the car wearing the same clothes I will travel in. They will feel clammy and grungy (much like my mood.) Changing into clean travel clothes just before leaving feels better, and helps shift my mood back into vacation mode.
2. Chant while loading and unloading: No one cares what the inside of our car looks like. No one cares how long it takes me to load/unload. Repeat for as long as needed.
3. Have a humorous self-deprecating comment ready for those awkward moments when our gear fills up the elevator at the hotel or is being unloaded at a friend's home: We can't help ourselves; we travel like the Beverly Hillbillies.
4. Celebrate the last leg of travel. The car will never, ever repack the same way twice. But on the last day of travel, I won't care! I'll just throw it all in, hope it's anchored enough that nothing will topple on the dogs, and look forward to the final unloading.