Going Solo: Crap. I Forgot to Pack Socks

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JDM drives crying into the abyssal sun
By quapan, Creative Commons license

You might think that the major difficulties in undertaking a weekend adventure travel trip with the family have to do with:

  1. fitting all of your important stuff with their useless stuff
  2. keeping peaceful sanity among the 3 to 7 blood-related souls who are going to share 25 square feet of space for the next 72 smelly hours

Put that in your reality TV pipe and smoke it.

Then again, sheez, if it sounds so horrendous, why do it at all? There's an explanation somewhere. I assume I'll find it one day.

The Things I Learned While Packing for My Solo Trip

1. The hardest part about putting together a family adventure trip is aligning everyone's schedules.

Two or three weeks ago, I received an invite via text for a two-nighter dirt road cruise of the Mojave Road with a number of other families. As much as I'd like to be telling you different, I'm going solo. Going solo has its merits, no doubt. Let's hit the ones that go right over the plate: I won't hear one complaint for three days; I won't have to make a meal for a small child and see it go uneaten; I won't have to bark about taking shoes off before getting into the tent; I have a high-capacity bladder; Lunch stops won't have to be at McDonald's.

Good stuff indeed. But you already know what's going to happen about 20 minutes into my ride, don't you? I'm going to miss the potty breaks, and squeaky demands from the backseat like, "I WANT JUICE. I WANT ICE CREAM. I WANT TO PLAY."

Anyway, my wife has a couple of commitments, one being a hair appointment for herself in which she wanted to take our daughter Chloe; then Ania (our foreign exchange student) has a trip to Tucson. That left me all alone if I wanted to go. Hell yes - me, my camera, the desert.

Joshua Tree at Sunset
By sandman, Creative Commons license

2. Everything my daughter says and does melts me

Yesterday as I drove home from work with Chloe in the backseat, I told her about my trip. "I'm going camping, Chloe, all by myself."

She cried. Seriously. The real thing with tears and the pouty lips. "I wanna go!"

"Well, mama has plans for you and her to get hair cuts. How about you help me pack tonight?"

"Mmm-hmm.  I wanna help.  I wanna go with you, too."

"Yeah?  We should do a trip just the two of us.  Where should we go?"

"Ummmm.  We should go to Mexico because Mexico is the beach."

At home, I handed her an empty plastic bin that I like to use for packing dry food, the stuff that doesn't need to be refrigerated. "Chloe, will you take this to the kitchen for me?"

"YEAH!" She ran inside.  Then I heard her say, "Ummm, Papa? I'm going to put some stuff in it for you, okay?"


Guess what she was sending me off with? Her pink backpack that contained her mittens, two toy cars, and a stuffed lamb. Then her collection of finger puppets. And then her jump rope. Her Fisher Price digital camera. And then a baby doll with blankey. And then a little stuffed bear she calls Eenie. And a stuffed Hello Kitty.

I KNOW! It's so cute you want to gag, don't you?

3. Shit. I forgot to pack socks.

It hit me like a freight train as I drove down the highway this morning. I don't care. I have a camera, a tripod, and a case of beer.


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# Roger 2011-02-20 11:48
Perfect...I need one of those solo adventures.
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Nathan Woods
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# Nathan Woods 2011-02-23 18:35
This article desperately needs a follow-up....
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Neatus Ruiz
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# Neatus Ruiz 2011-02-26 12:14
Camping and adventuring with the family is wonderful even with all the extra work it creates. With the work comes a treasure chest of memories. That being said, being able to jet with a pack and a cooler in tow and being able to say "no worries" to only having one pair of socks is therapeutic.

Did you sleep with a finger puppet in each digit?
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