Marilyn, July 25:
We got a jump start on this year’s trip as we pulled out of the Missouri State Fairgrounds in June of 2015. Someone mentioned that camping spaces would be very limited for the 2016 Red Power Round Up, so upon our return to Roy Creek Ranch, I got online and booked reservations for one of the coveted campsites.
I love planning trips and I’ve never been one to wing it. It is inspiring, like putting together a multi-dimensional puzzle. Making dreams reality. I started by making list of places we might want to visit on the route from Roy Creek Ranch to Red Power Round Up in Union Grove Wisconsin and the adventure home. I used Google Maps to get the distances between points of interest, inviting restaurants and camping possibilities. Then we have an idea of how long it will take to get to the next stop and the possible route. This list helps to answer the question, “Are we there yet?” Yes, adults still ask this time-honored question.
The next step was to create a list of optional activities in the states we’d be driving through. I’d put out an inquiry on Facebook to get recommendations from friends for must-see attractions. An extensive Internet search followed, investigating possibilities along the route. I compiled a list of activities and points of interest. The list included Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Taliesin, House on the Rock, Pullman National Monument and more.
In the past, we used Jim’s well-loved 2004 Road Master Atlas to plan our trips on the Teardrop Trail, but this year, he got us a New National Geographic Road Atlas, Adventure Edition. We sat down with the with the new atlas and sticky notes to mark the points of interest along our route.
I revisited many of the check lists I found online to make sure that we had everything for this trip. On the trip to West Texas, someone had forgotten a pair of flip flops. Some of our other treks have taken us off the retail track, making replacing forgotten items a challenge if not impossible.
As the departure date approached, details came into focus and reservations were made for the first two legs of our trip, but this would be a different kind of excursion down the Teardrop Trail – one without a complete itinerary. Another travel blogger ascribed luck as an important aspect of the trip. After our stop in Kansas City, we would be planning as we traveled. Each stop at a visitors’ center or tourism office could bring a wealth of new maps, magazines and opportunities. It would now be plan-as-you-go with a dash of serendipity thrown in.