Roadtrip + Camping 2020
Itinerary: Los Angeles, CA to Chicago, IL
Tuesday early AM-
LA > Arches National Park, Moab, Utah (11 hours)
*We skipped through Las Vegas, Zion and Bryce National Parks having done those in 2017.
Camping at Canyon Wren, Arches
Arches > Denver, CO (6 hours)
Was a super cute 1 hour long train ride through the mountains, dating back to the 1880’s.
Dinner at Brooklyn Kosher Pizza, Denver, CO
Denver, CO > Rocky Mountains National Park (2 hours)
Rocky Mountains > Omaha, NE (8.5 hours)
Omaha > Chicago (7 hours)
Crossed bridge from Nebraska into Iowa!
Lunch @ Maccabi Deli in Des Moines, IA.
FINAL DEST: CHICAGO!!
So what did we eat?
We loaded up a cooler, following this graph, and ate beautifully.
* Milk freezes beautifully and quite solid, it doubles as ice for the rest of the cooler and stays frozen for the longest.
Here are some helpful affiliate links on key items we brought with us:
Our sweet Osmo phone stand and video stabilizer took all these family photos. In Covid times, it's funny to ask people to take our photo. This stand stood on our car, and in sand piles... anything for a photo! https://amzn.to/3k6Q2eB
Always test it before your trip!
Don't forget a lighter, pot/pan, utensils, pam.
Bring a box, somehow the few I bring is never enough.
Loads of water- we keep a few 2.5 gal spout waters in the car for drinking and hand washing.
Dramamine Motion Sickness Relief-veryyy important to keep the car smelling nice!
KIND breakfast bars, variety pack. My kids loved these, filling, small and easy.
More things to pack: Off, sunscreen, sweaters, bandaids, medicine bag (arnica, tylenol...) garbage bags, paper plates, cutlery, coffee cups, a huge stash of shopping bags in the glove compartment to keep swapping out the garbage at gas stops, overnight bags with clothes and pj's divided by day.
The million dollar question I got was
How do you do this trip with kids?
And it's a great question, because it can be so pleasant or downright miserable depending on your mood, and their moods.
So here a few points.
1- Keep your (the adults) mood calm and positive, keep well fed, and comfortable.
2- Prepare yourself and kids about the time spent in the car. You really need to wrap your head around that idea and prepare mentally for a roadtrip.
3- Stop often!! A little bathroom and stretch-your-legs stop for 10 minutes goes a long way!
4-Music. Take turns being DJ + dance partyyyy.
5- Each kid packed a backpack with 1 book, 2 bare books, coloring supplies and 1 toy to keep busy.
These https://amzn.to/30xH2Hn, my sister in law is a genius! If the kids are old enough, it can be used to journal the trip, youngers color and draw... Target also carries them sometimes in the dollar section.
6- When all else fails, the Amazon fire tablet saves us. I love the kids feature, that it is totally password protected and locks after my set amount of time.
First! Choose a camping spot.
We booked our Arches campsite - Canyan Wren - at recreation.gov.
We've also had great luck in the past with hipcamp.com/i/chayas the airbnb for campsites. Some of the coolest, most hip campsites are listed there. If you use my code, we each earn $10.
Create your camping crate in one of these https://amzn.to/2DDSzfA 27 Gal bins. Stores all your gear, airtight, waterproof and clean, and that it is so easy to grab and go when you decide to head camping.
In it you should store
-your tent (there's quick and easy pop-up tents, and the classic ones that take longer and more effort to set up- but is a really fun activity for the kids.
-Rubber mallot https://amzn.to/3ks5z94 to get the pegs in securely.
-Hard plastic pegs for desert land camping (the metal pegs won't do the job.)
-Cooler, propane cylinder, camping burner and lighter for hot food. https://amzn.to/33qCyUT
-light: headlamps are a game changer! https://amzn.to/2DOypiL
-Classic flashlights for the kids, and a lantern for the top of the tent https://amzn.to/3fyoqeM
-Sleeping bags, 1 per person + yoga mat/camping sleeping pad or blowup mattresses + foot pumps https://amzn.to/3gD2K2B .
-camping chairs - 1 per camper- unless you know there will be a picnic table
https://amzn.to/2DmozoJ these Coleman ones are great, but Walmart has them for super cheap.
-Extra toilet paper, wipes and water are always useful.
~Get to your site a good hour or 2 before sunset. You want to be fully set up before dark.
~We love it!! We love the limited cell service, star gazing, smores (tho in Arches we couldnt light a camp fire 😂) so cold smores! The freshest air...
~KEYS get a carabiner clip or something to that effect to attach your car keys to you or to your tent. We locked our keys in the car the first time we went camping... It's a great story to tell the grandkids one day, but super stressful.
~Bathrooms: Know what you and your family can handle in regards to bathrooms, each campsite is different, some have proper toilets and running water, some are porta-potties, or a hole in the ground... :)
Return Trip: Chicago > LA
There was a slight change of plans, so our return trip had a lot of driving crammed in. (not so recommended, but well worth it!)
(with kids, if you want to cover a lot of ground, night driving + a lot of caffeine is the way to go!)
Chicago, IL to Mt Rushmore, South Dakota
via Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Sioux Falls, SD.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Custer State Park - Needles Highway
Then on to Yellowstone National Park
From Yellowstone through Grand Teton National Park
Jackson, WY - beautiful and super cute city.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Las Vegas, and home to Los Angeles!
Happy and Safe Travels!!