Sunday, July 20, 2008

Twelve weeks of maternity leave + new baby = Two Week Road Trip

When else would we have this kind of time?

I suppose the crunchy thing to do would be to teleconference so that relatives could see the baby "live", but as we're not crunchy around these here parts, we are gassing up and taking our brand new crossover from our location in the DFW area to five destinations in the midwest and northeast.

This isn't our first large road trip. We've done a 4-day weekend one with just my husband and I up to St. Louis, MO, with a one-day side trip to a town right across the river from Louisville, KY. Then, my husband, stepdaughter and I "toured" the midwest in about 9 days - that same town near KY, then north to South Bend, west to Wisconsin, then back to Indiana for a show by one of our favorite bands and back home again. My '97 Corolla was our trusty steed for both of those.

Then last year, as we'd promised the kid that we'd take her to Disneyworld (she was 12 at the time), we hit the road this time with my brother in law along for the ride as well. This trip took us a week. And though the ride was 17 hours both ways, we did it both times in a straight shot with just bathroom/drink/meal stops along the way. The 2006 Corolla did us proud, though the kid and my BIL could have stood to have more room in the backseat.

Now, with baby and the kid in tow, we will be hitting a town outside of Nashville, that same town in southern Indiana, a suburb of Chicago and then on to NY and CT. We will be showing off the baby, obviously. This trip will take us 12-13 days, and we will need to meet the kid's mother at the end of it in Kentucky for the family road trip that she planned with the kid's aunt and grandmother.

Our crossover has real room for seven people, but since there will only be four of us, the third row will be folded to accomodate our trip supplies as well as clockworks for the grandfather clock my dad gave me that we'll be picking up in Illinois, and an Exersaucer that my best friend in Connecticut picked up for free for the baby.

We're already exhausted at the prospect of being on the road for that long. But, how do you pack lightly while still preparing for every eventuality with the baby?

Here are some sites that I consulted so that we can fit it all in:

Travelite FAQ
The Four Hour Workweek's Guide to Traveling the World in 10lbs or Less

I covet the Eagle Creek Pack-it Folders, and the the MSR Packtowel, but I have yet to actually purchase any. Perhaps for that European tour I've always wanted to go on. Incidentally, that would include England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece. Someday, I will have two months to set aside to do such a thing.

For road tripping with a baby, I found these helpful articles from:

Just Mommies
the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

For the Smidget, I have already packed clothes, and will be using the large diaper bag for her toiletries, and her toys. A smaller diaper bag will be with me always in the large tote which I purchased from Old Navy that will be doubling as my purse. Hopefully, that is all we'll need for her.

I've got the packing list, and we leave on Tuesday July 22, and will return on Sunday August 3 or Monday August 4. A post-mortem and an update from the Smidget's 6-week and 2-month doctor's appointments will come soon thereafter.