Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm an Obsessive Planner. There, I Said it.

So yesterday I wrote about how accomplished I feel, fulfilling my weekly resolutions and checking everything off my to-do lists. Today I'm writing about my current obsession, which is becoming detrimental to my daily to-do list. Uh-oh.

The problem is that I am obsessively (yet also sort of tentatively) planning our summer trip. Just this week, it's suddenly looking more and more like it is going to become a reality. Now that I've been talking to the kids about it and getting their input, I'm sort of on a forward momentum that won't stop. And it's really a huge undertaking, so I want to get it right. Driving over 2000 miles with 4 kids is going to require quite a bit of forethought. I want it to be fun and memorable; not just a painfully long, car-sickness invoking blur.

Right now I'm thinking about taking different routes on the way there and the way back, so that we can see a wider variety of scenery and landmarks. I've been immersing myself in information about National Parks and Laura Ingalls Wilder sites. In fact, I am pretty sure I'm getting in a teensy bit over my head. The more I research, the more stops I want to make. And, well, there is a limit to how long I can stretch this trip. I'm probably going to have to make some hard choices. But at the same time, I'd really like to make frequent stops so the kids don't go completely bonkers in the car. We'll see what I can figure out.

Some states we will likely be driving through (including both the route to get there and the route home), in no particular order:
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Idaho
  • Washington
  • Michigan (including the U.P.)
And here are some of the places I'd like to stop:
  • 2-3 Laura Ingalls Wilder/Little House on the Prairie museums/historical spots (Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota)
  • Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
  • Mount Rushmore (South Dakota)
  • Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming
  • Glacier National Park (Montana)
  • Various stops along the Dino Trail in Montana
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
  • Mall of America (Minnesota)
I'd like to definitely plan at least one stop in each state, so the kids (and I, who am I kidding??) can actually say they've been to each state, not just driven through. I know, I know, weird obsessiveness but whatevs. And let's be real here; some of these states are huge. Planning to NOT stop would be kind of a death wish. Death by whining. My list so far covers most of the states we'll be traveling through, with the exception of Wisconsin and Michigan. We'll be driving through a lot of Michigan, including parts of the U.P. that I've never been through. So even though it's my home state, I'll still want to plan a couple cool stops. We'll be visiting family and friends in Idaho and Washington. I'm sure we'll see lots while we're there, but the purpose of the trip is the visiting, so for now I'll leave those two states alone. Like a scab begging to be picked, I'm quite sure I won't be able to refrain from researching must-see attractions in these states too, but I'll wait at least until I'm done writing this blog post.

If you've been to, or through, any of the states I listed above, and you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Also, if you've visited any of the places I listed, I'd love your input. Specifically, how much time do I really need at these places? For example, am I nuts to think we could possibly visit Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore on the same day?

Okay, I feel much better now that I can go cross "write blog post" off my to-do list.

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