Monday, April 7, 2008

Death Valley or Bust

We got an early start on our trip to California, in hopes of making it all the way to Death Valley in one long day, so we'd have less days of travel and more days of play. We got started even before sun sun rose. We had packed the car the night before.
I'm sure you'd stare if you saw our car go by on the highway. My husband has devised a way for us to travel in a small, economical car, and still take everything we need for camping. We look like modern Hillbillies or something. The trash can contains all our sleeping bags. The ice chest is snugged in the back seat with the kids. The blue roll is three layers of egg crate foam wrapped up in our ground cloth so it will stay dry, and mama will sleep comfortably. The black boxes contain sleeping pads for the kids, food, kettles, cooking equipment, and other odd things that need a place to go. In the trunk there is clothes, extra shoes, more food, the camp stove, tool box, the tent, and winter coats. The 2 gallon water jug is setting outside between the black boxes and the trunk. Tooth brushes and hair brushes and flashlights are in the pocket in Mama's car door. Non-perishable food for the day is on the floor in the car under the ice chest. Water bottles are on the floor under my son's feet. Pillows are tucked under and around people. Storybooks, laptop computer, camera, drawing supplies, journal, maps, etc. are in a bag by mama's feet. Good thing she has little feet. Dad doesn't fit in there as well when he wants to trade off driving.

The big antenna by the right turn signal is for my husband's ham radio. There's a little two meter ham antenna on the roof of the car.

All of the stuff on the back of the car sets on a metal rack, slipped into the hole you would put a trailer hitch in. It works good if you don't have it too heavy on the back, but you have to be careful, because the extra weight can cause you to wear out tires faster.

Packing out car like this made our trip really quite affordable. We averaged about 33 mpg, and spent only about $240 on gasoline on the whole 2,400 mile trip. We didn't stay in a single hotel. Camping fees averaged $10 - $12 a night. In San Diego we stayed with friends. We didn't go out to eat one single meal. We planned our meals and brought along delicious food to eat along the way using our campstove, or simple foods to eat in the car while driving. I'm not sure how much I spent on food for the 10 day trip, but I'm thinking it was just a little more then we usually spend on food. We had purchased a National Parks Pass last June, so that got us into the five National Parks we visited. We have more then covered the cost of the pass now.

We only bought about $14 of souvenir type items, some postcards and a guide book to the critters of the desert and a couple small ones about the wildflowers of the desert.

The place where we spent way too much money was on Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. It cost more to visit these two places together, then it cost for all of our gas on the whole trip. $320! (I'll give you more of my thoughts on these two places on another day.)

All in all, it turned out to be a great trip, and one that we could afford. I don't think any of us felt deprived in away way, because I did my best to make sure everyone had what they needed to be comfortable on the trip. We had lots of fun family time together. And stories either read by me or on mp3 made the miles go faster.
We left our house thinking of warm weather and sunny skies in southern California. We were surprised to find snow on the road just one hour from town. Hope we don't need tire chains. We didn't even think of putting them in.Breakfast featured one ripe mango per person, in a baggy, all ready to eat.

The rest area sure was cold.

Nevada was still cold too, but the moutains and skies were beautiful!

At a rest area Forest Zoo found me the first wildflowers of the trip. I have never seen anything like them before. Do you know what they are. They were pretty tiny.

2 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

Theresa said...

Your daughter has beautiful hair! :o) The picture in Nevada was beautiful. I had in mind that you went on I-5 and sailed right past me, did you take an eastern route. I would love to hear what you think about the Wildlife Park in SD as we have considered doing that some time with the kids before we move back to WA, God willing. I have heard it's expensive.

La Tea Dah said...

I love your car! It's packed perfectly! Love those ham antennas!