Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pick a Parallel

On hot summer days, we try to stay indoors in the long afternoons. Toys, books, and the "usual" activities can become boring for children on these days. And summer or winter, the days can become quite repetitive for me with laundry and dishes, laundry and dishes, more laundry, ever more laundry, and never-ending laundry.

Sometimes it is fun to spontaneously take off on a trip. In the summertime, it is tempting to run off to the mountains or the beach, or to try somewhere we have never been before. To point the car in a direction and go a thousand miles to places that we'll just "end up" would be quite an adventure. An expensive one!

What we really need is something to spice up the everyday routines. To have something "going on" that makes the ordinary days not so ordinary.

So, yesterday we decided to take a trip, and follow the 44th parallel. We are going in a large, custom R.V. that has plenty of room, a full kitchen, and even a washer and dryer so I will not fall behind on the laundry. The children can take everything they own with them. The ride is so smooth we hardly notice that we are going.

While I am doing laundry, and the children are busy with their usual activities, we are actually covering many miles.  The younger children can pretend "trip" until they are tired of driving the couch, and the older ones can every so often count mileage and time, and pick out places on the map that are interesting. We decided that we will not drive all night, but stop wherever we ended up. We are following the 44th parallel as closely as we can, but taking major roads, which sometimes deviate from it a ways.

The Internet provides some realism to the journey, as we can check the weather wherever we are at the moment (when we stopped in Twin Falls last night, it was 71 degrees with a chance of thunderstorms). Photos of the area are readily available too, if anyone is curious as to the scenery. If anyone has a question about the place, we can look it up.

We departed from the Pacific Coast yesterday, and ended up in Twin Falls, Idaho. We figure that we will cover 500 miles a day, and end up in Maine. From there, we can decide where we want to go next. We can pick another parallel and go back across the U.S. another way, or continue on the 44th parallel across the Atlantic (we can put our R.V. on a ship) and then drive through the south of France. Maybe the trip will become even more educational then, but we are keeping it non-schoolwork now so as not to scare anyone off ;)

Mealtimes have a little extra excitement that they did not have last week. When we stop for meals, the children ask, "Where are we now?"

Here is a favorite "Special day" deli sandwich recipe, which can be adapted for a travel lunch:

  • Hoagie Rolls or Kaiser Rolls from the Bakery
  • Hot chicken strips from the deli, sliced into 1/4 slices (It is cheaper to buy a bag of frozen chicken strips at Wal-mart, and they taste just as good, but when you are on a trip, you may not be able to bake them, unless you have an R.V.)
  • Sliced veggies (you can slice these ahead of time and keep them in a cooler), such as cucumber, lettuce, sprouts, tomato, avocado, bell peppers, and if you are a broccoli fan try thin sliced broccoli or cauliflower for a nice crunch
  • Mayonnaise 

If you are traveling by car (one of those spontaneous trips, perhaps), and did not bring a cooler, and have no way of slicing veggies or storing mayonnaise, try this: buy an everything-included bag of salad in the produce section, that includes a packet of salad dressing in it. You have some veggies already chopped up (mostly lettuce, though some throw in a few carrot shreds. One I found had sun-dried tomatoes), and the dressing can be a deliciously different substitute for mayonnaise.
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