I wish I had taken more pictures about how we organized our trip. I thought of it, but still didn't do it. I can share some verbally though in case it helps anyone planning a trip like this.
One of the things I did was to pack bags for each stop. We were going to be sleeping in 7 different locations over the span of 2 weeks. We were taking a lot of clothes in order not to have to do a lot of laundry while travelling. In order not to have to take in many bags at each stop, I packed this way.
*An overnight bag - this contained pajamas and toiletries.
*A trip bag. For example, we had one large duffel bag for Mammoth Caves. This included jeans & sweatshirts for inside the caves. Also 2 changes of clothes (including socks and underwear) since we would be there 2 days.
I made tags with our destination in large print, laminated it and tied it to each bag. I like this method of travelling as it requires carrying in fewer things and we just have what we need for that stop. I also made a "dirty" tag to attach to the bag that held dirty clothes. We did do laundry at Roger's sister's house in the middle of the trip too.
I also made a folder with cards for the kids. This idea could use some tweaking. Parts of it worked well. I'll share those. I had a "meal choice" and several "movie choice" cards for each child. We typically ate one meal out while travelling and the other was a picnic. To help stave off arguments, each child had a turn to choose a restaurant. This worked really well and let to no arguing. The one time we struggled was when there was not a child picking and people all wanted a different stop. Lesson learned. Same scenario with the movies. It was great practice at taking turns and nobody minded as they knew they would have a turn coming soon.
We left Blowing Rock on the morning on July 4th heading to Mammoth Caves. Unfortunately, we wandered around the mountains for at least an hour and a half before heading in the right direction. *sigh* It definitely made for a long day.
We were able to make last minute plans to meet up with a friend for lunch. Our plans were not set in stone which made meeting people on the trip a challenge. This was the one opportunity we had and it was a sweet one. I've known Melissa on-line for about 4 years now. We've corresponded about various things and it was so much fun to actually meet her and her kids in person!
You can see our large white van in the background. Can't see how it is packed to the gills with so many things. LOL I should have taken a picture inside too. I rode in the back row most of the trip. It was a good place to be able to talk with the kids and play games and read aloud books. It was a fun spot. :-)
All in all, this was a wonderful trip. One I'd recommend and one I hope we'll be able to do again one day. Many sweet memories.
We continued our drive and gained an hour too. We arrived at Mammoth Caves and found our room. It was set apart from the main hotel. Rows of rooms. There was a table and chairs and an open area beside our room. It was perfect for our picnic supper.
We had a visitor at our dinner too.
We arrived in time to attend one of the evening ranger programs. The program was on bees. I've been to many bee programs over the years and this one was excellent. Great use of visuals and lots of humor too. A fun ending to our day. More tomorrow on the caves! Did I mention that I LOVE caves?!!! This place is one of my all-time favorite places. Really excited to have this on our trip.