capuano family tour de USA

we are going on a road trip. not just any 8 hour, day long road trip... we are going across the great u. s. of. a. yes, our van has 160,000 miles on it. yes, we have many, many small children. yes, i only recently got my driver's license. yes, we are clinically insane. but, it's true. we are going to do it.

we are taking a month (well, a couple days shy of four weeks) and driving across the country with four kids. 6, 4, 2, and 6 months. we are in the early stages of planning, but we are leaving the day after our kids get out of school for the summer, and we will get back at the end of july. i am sure i will be blogging about this quite a bit as we make our plans, and am willing to commit to a certain number of blog entries during the trip for a small salary. or a large one. whatever.

so far, we are sure on the following details:

  1. we are camping in a tent. all six of us. in the same tent. all of us.
  2. we have a mad-tight budget. (and i mean is-it-wrong-to-make-the-kids-do-lemonade-stands-to-help-with-gas kinda tight.)
  3. we will stay mostly at free campgrounds, but will occasionally splurge on a campground that has shower/bathroom facilities. and about once a week we will stay in a cheap hotel or hostel to do laundry and shower. we will also be visiting friends, family and the occasional friend of a friend along the way. we are open to ideas about free accommodations if you have any. (in other words, does your aunt in utah have a finished basement?)
  4. we will have to bring a lot of crap. (we will have to use a car-top carrier, which is so obnoxious and embarrassing. my husband says they look like a big mac or whopper or something like that. it's funnier when he says it, or if you actually know the right hamburger reference.) i have a notepad that lists all the things we need to bring. it has a table of contents because there is so much crap you need when you traveling with one kid, let alone four. really, london is the one who is overpacking at this point. babies are so high-maintanence sometimes.
  5. we are seriously out of our minds.

at this point we are just trying to make sense of the route, the gear we need, the budget, the timing, and all the "what-ifs." (my what-if's include... what if we get a flat? what if we gets lots of flats? what if our van kicks the bucket mid-trip? what if tom really does make us drive to astoria, washington to see the museum that makes a brief cameo in the goonies? what if our kids cry incessantly the entire trip? what if a bear starts to eat me or one of my family members? what if we have to turn around after a few days because instead of instilling a sense of adventure and appreciation for nature, our kids develop an aversion to traveling and all things outdoors? what if tom continues to see this as an opportunity to purchase and use a tazer?)

the kids have been very involved in the preparations. we have been making lists of the gear we need, and marlie (4) reports that above all else we will need to bring "a computer to check the weather... or a window." harper (2) said that for our trip (or "chip" as he says) we will need a restaurant. annalee (6) is a little more pragmatic in her request for a tent.

hearing their idea of the essentials suggests to me that they really have no idea what we are about to do. and the reality is, we don't really either. i know that, along with all my worries, i have really high hopes for what we will experience as a family, what we will learn, and how we will grow. in the meantime, i am open to any advice about to prevent bear attacks.