Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Friday, September 19, 2014


If you plan to spend the summer living out of your car, you need to be well organized.

What Was in the Hatch:

The Gear Bag:

We have a large duffel bag that holds our hiking boots, socks, backpacks, backpacking stove, matches, a small pot, can opener, flashlights, rain jackets, bug spray, sunscreen, water shoes and a change of clothes.  This means that even if the weather changes or we change plans to a new activity we have everything we need.  It also keeps all of those items from rolling around in the back of the car.


On this trip, because we were in bear country most of the time, we kept all of the food in the car.  On other trips we've kept the storage containers with lunch, snack and breakfast food in the car since we wanted easy access.  We also always keep several cans of soup and crackers in case we need a quick supper when we're away from the camper.


We kept a sports bag with jump ropes, soccer ball, baseball and gloves.  The swim bag (with towels and swim suits) was within easy reach.  We packed the CD case with all of the CDs we could carry, and then listened to them in a the order they were in the case to get a variety of music in rotation.  We also kept a several audio books, a portable DVD player, and a few DVDs (more on this below).  


For the car:  jumper cables, extra oil, extra coolant, extra brake fluid, tire iron, air pressure gauge and a good jack - The Woodsman checked fluids and air pressure daily.  
For us:  a well stocked first aid kit, extra band-aids, and medicine for headaches, and other minor ailments.
For clean up:  Clorox wipes and paper towels - these really came in handy.

In the car:

For the adults:  A small shoulder bag with knitting, magazines and a current novel, a small blanket and pillow.  I also kept a folder for each section of the trip with maps, notes, brochures, and reservation confirmation print outs.  This was kept in the front seat where I could refer to it easily even if I was being both driver and navigator (when The Woodsman was taking his afternoon nap).
For the kids:  lots of books, MP3 players loaded with audio books (downloaded from the library before leaving), a craft bag, a bag of car games and activity books, a trash bag and a bag of summer school work.

Side note:

If it was a driving day (more than 2 hrs. in the car) the kids were expected to take care of school work and to read first.  They then could listen to their MP3 players or do other activities.  If we were going to be in the car for more than 5 hours we allowed them to get the DVD player out for the last 2 hours of the trip.  This kept the DVD player as something special, and was really helpful on those super long days. 

I also created a small box for each kid with little wrapped presents (books, games, crafts, snacks, etc.).   The kids were allowed to open one when they had been in the car for at least three hours and when they were done with their school work.  This really gave them something to anticipate, and helped motivate them to do their school work.

Everything had a place, and everyone knew to return items to their proper location.  This way we did not have to spend time digging to find what we wanted.  Also, the kids had to clean up and reorganize their backseat each day when we pulled into the campground.  

We all enjoy having a few audio books for shared family listening.  It's amazing how quickly the miles fly when you're all enjoying a good book.

Happy traveling!
Working on school work while heading through Missouri.  Stretching out is essential.

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