A new Toyota mini van + 2 tents + 2 parents + 2 kids = 2 weeks of fun!
We’ve had some wonderful adventures since we began traveling in our fifth wheel nine years ago but our first cross country journey when our kids were 14 and 10 will always be one of my favorites.
Way back in 1985, over twenty years before we bought our fifth wheel, we packed up our new mini van and and set out on a trip from Georgia to the Grand Canyon South Rim, about 2600 miles each way. We had been taking our kids camping around Georgia and Florida many times but this was the first time we ventured west.
Our plan was to drive as far as we could each day and stay in motels until we got to the Grand Canyon. Loaded down with two tents, coolers, and all the camping gear we owned, we were ready for anything.
Our longest driving day of the trip was on our way to the Grand Canyon when we drove 694 miles across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Once we reached Arizona we slowed down to take the scenic drive through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks.
Of course the highlight of the trip was at the Grand Canyon South Rim. After setting up camp we went exploring and planned a hike on the Bright Angel Trail for the next morning. Keep in mind we were there the first week of July and it was HOT! With backpacks filled with water, trail mix and other snacks we set off down the trail early in the day. Going down into the canyon was fairly easy. The temperature kept rising as we got deeper into the canyon and my daughter and I decided to return to the rim while Henry and our son continued on to Plateau Point (about 5 miles from the rim) where there is an overlook into the canyon and a view of the Colorado River.
Going up was hard. There were few places to sit and rest and almost no shade. When my daughter and I got back to camp we went in the tents and collapsed on the cots hoping to cool off. After a short rest we were no cooler so we went to the snack bar for air conditioning and ice cream. We were well rested when the guys got back.
On our return trip to Georgia we stopped at Carlsbad Caverns before driving all across Texas, this time on I-10 instead of I-40. We spent a night in New Orleans and visited the Tabasco Factory before stopping at a beach front hotel in Ft. Walton Beach. We all enjoyed the huge swimming pool and finally felt cool!
I recently came across a log I kept of our trip. We drove a total of about 5200 miles and spent a whopping $321 on gas!
We travel much differently these days. We have the luxury of being able to take our time and rarely travel more than 300 miles in a day. We set up our fifth wheel and usually stay 2 or 3 nights in each location. And we can turn on the air conditioner and go inside to cool off without leaving our campsite!