Camp site maps are starting to churn out of my printer. It's the six month countdown to the summer camping season and we take the process of choosing prime spots for pitching our tent very, very seriously (picture various colours of highlighters).
In our first months together, my husband and I discovered a mutual love for road trips. Our honeymoon was a cross-country car trip to the East Coast; instead of lingerie and bikinis, I packed a tent and bug spray.
Luckily, our kids have inherited the same passion for the open road. They are fantastic car travelers (though do remind me to tell you the story of being on an airplane with our toddler sometime; the word "love" will not appear in that title).
There's always a high level of energy and excitement as we include the kids in mapping out the route. Packing is usually underway weeks before we actually leave and there are always fits of giggles (and some under-the-breath muttering from the adults) during the Tetris-like cramming of the minivan.
- a GPS (we prefer to listen to the sound of each other's voices and we also enjoy the challenge of re-folding accordion style maps)
- a drop-down TV screen (we used to subject the kids to audio books, which they still enjoy, but the older ones are now allowed to bring small handheld gaming devices)
- a cooler of food (no need to take the fun out of stopping at random convenience stores and coffee shops for road trip worthy snacks)
We aren't one of those families that play games of "I Spy" and "Guess where that license plate comes from", but we do chat and we are guilty of shouting "COWS" whenever we zoom past a pasture full of them. Mostly, we ride in a state of quiet observation; each of us dwelling on our own thoughts and anticipating where the journey will take us.
Although we are all fans of diner breakfasts and hotel pools, the camping portion is always the highlight of the trip. My kids love to live on the earth and electronics are instantly forgotten. Tent dwelling, outdoor eating, and nighttime campfires are all part of the magic.