Long drives and road trips

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We’ve reached that point in the summer when suddenly there seems to be some sort of time vacuum happening. We text with friends to set up casual get-togethers and find that there are virtually no days left before school starts when we’ll all be in town (and we’re in a city where back-to-school doesn’t happen until after Labor Day). Although we’re doing fairly well with our summer bucket list, I started to panic a little last night.

We’ve been talking for months about the possibility of driving down to Charleston for a week. It’s worth noting that I first typed, “taking a road trip” and then edited it to read “driving down” because, having made that drive once before, I’m not sure that we do a very good job of making it feel like a road trip. It’s mostly about getting the 900 miles over with. I keep going back and forth on this one because the last time that we did it (roughly a year and a half ago) I vaguely remember us swearing that we’d never do it again. Normally I plan way ahead for trips: I craft a thoughtful packing list unique to the trip (for all five of us), I shop for things we’ll need far in advance, I’m jazzed and counting down the days. I haven’t planned a thing for this one, probably because I’ve threatened to call it off so many times.

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Last night I was in a funk about another 900-mile road trip on the docket (which I decided in the eleventh hour not to put myself or the kids through), and was panicking about summer speeding past, but I made the decision to commit to turning my attitude around for this Charleston trip. I want to be a road trip person. I want to look forward to the things we may encounter along the way. My parents just got back from an epic road trip from Oregon to Michigan in a 1983 VW Westfalia camper. The evening they returned we biked to their house and hung out in the camper in their driveway and drank wine while the kids climbed up and down from the loft. Then just today, when I needed another boost of inspiration, a blogger I adore posted about her family’s 2100-mile summer road-trip. If these folks can pull off feats like that and arrive smiling, so can we.

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So if anyone reading has brilliant suggestions for dialing up the joy and wonder on a long family road trip, please share them with me. Drawing from Kelle Hampton’s inspiration, today it occurred to me that maybe we should find an adorable Airbnb halfway, in some charming southern town with antique stores and cute cafes for a delicious breakfast. It didn’t take long to discover that planning two-days-out from a trip to find a gay-friendly place that fits our taste in Kentucky may be a very tall order.

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I’m struggling to picture this trip with as much magic as I normally would, probably because we’re talking about the south in July and I don’t enjoy heat or being in the sun. I’m obsessed with Charleston in early April. I love the beach, but only after 7:00 p.m. I love going to new (or old favorite) places with the kids that make beautiful settings for photos, but mostly I’m imagining harsh mid-day sun and lots of perspiration. That said, I really want to find the magic, so I’m diving in and hoping to pull off a planning and packing miracle at the very last minute and discovering a trip full of pleasant surprises that proves me wrong on all fronts.

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One of the items on the summer to-do list (if not the official bucket list) was a renovation of our mudroom. This road trip had me concerned because naturally it’s going to eat up some of what’s left of summer, and we seem to be running out of weeks to get this project completed (or started, for that matter). Fortunately, my dad (who is going to be doing a lot of the labor and advising) reassured me a week or so ago that we have plenty of time to make this happen, and today we finally started! The fact that we even have a mud room in this house is an absolute dream, but I’ve never liked the room and I think that its awful decor contributes to its role as our unofficial junk room. Today my dad tore out the maroon carpeting and took the chair rails off of the walls. The flooring comes in tomorrow, wallpaper has been ordered, we have a paint and wallpaper guy lined up (because after careful consideration K and I decided that we were probably out of our league on that one), so things are in motion. When it’s finished it’s going to be half mud room, half craft room. We still have some big decisions to make about furniture and lighting, but we’re digging into it all and we’re excited. I can’t wait to have a mud room that I love when the kids go back to school.

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Oh, and all of the photos in this post are from an unrelated trip to a lavender farm last weekend, but I like them and felt like sharing them, so please excuse the disconnect from everything else.

Naturally I’ll follow up and let you know how the trip pans out, and you can be sure that more details about the mud room are forthcoming as the project moves forward.

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2 thoughts on “Long drives and road trips

  1. Pingback: Charleston, SC summer road trip | Sushi Grass & Fireflies

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