The West Coast Road Trip – Part I

This is the first in the series of my West Coast Road Trip!

There’s something to be said about the anticipation of a family vacation. Part fear, part excitement, part adventure… We have never gone camping as a family — let alone a LONG road trip. We planned on spending 14 days to travel from Southern California to Canada and back down to the Mexican border. We traded 4 walls for tent poles and camped most of the time, only spending one night in a hotel and a few other nights hosted by friends and family.

We got ready for our trip in a harried fashion. I just got back from Omaha two days before our trip began. My mind was out of sorts and I threw together some meals and pretty much shoved a bunch of canned food in crates.

As we headed out of the driveway on the first morning, we knew we were going to make some memories on our great “West Coast Road Trip!” Armed with a  “Smash Book,” sketch pad, scissors, pencils and tape, I was ready to make some memories. If anything, it would force me to slow down and recap our day.

DAY 1 – 

Our goal for the first day was to get to Sequoia and find a campsite. My husband was enamored with the book, Blue Highways by William Least-Heat Moon. It’s a story that documents the places and people that the author encountered while traveling on the smaller roads indicated on the map by blue lines. So we did our best to take those “blue highways” (or rather in our CA map, a skinny black highway) to see what little towns we’d pass through. We went through an “oil town” conveniently named Oildale, the cute little town of Exeter, known for the “Best Citrus in the World,” and the beautiful, Three Rivers. A sense of Americana came over me knowing that these towns were established because people saw opportunity in what would normally be considered a dry desert.

Me and my girls

Once we entered Sequoia National Park, we purchased a National Parks Pass for $80 which proved to be useful for our trip (and subsequent travels). With my hasty research, I knew that we had only a few options to comfortably camp in Sequoia, one being Buckeye Flat which we had no problem finding a site. We were lucky since the sites seemed to fill up quickly soon after we arrived. Bears were a big concern. We shoved every “smelly thing” including food, toiletries and even a car seat (kid crumbs) in the bear locker at the site. We were warned that even crayons carry a scent and should be removed from the vehicle. Amazingly, a lot fit in the 4’x3’x2′ My 8-year-old’s drawing and my drawing underneath it.[/caption]

 PART II – Sequoia National Park >