Grumpy about the vacation: unpacking

We’re home! That means we have to unpack three weeks’ worth of gear, which we packed to cover beach camping, beach house, and mountain camping.

This part of traveling sucks.

How much stuff do you think we can pack into an Outback and Yakima cargo box?

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Here’s almost the answer:

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Here’s another angle on all that shit:

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This collection doesn’t include our camping food (all scraps of which we threw away yesterday as we left our campsite) or whatever fell out of the passenger space, i.e., a bag of books, a box of learning stuff (untouched, I’m pleased to say), a box of art supplies, 3 iPads, 2 portable DVD players, a large carrier of DVDs, Nick’s 7 stuffed animals, a bag of dragons, a box of kleenex, and 420 pounds of human. Also the travel accordion folder, which contained important itinerary information and the laminated diagrams (drawn by me 2 years ago) of exactly how all this shit will fit in the car.

I can’t exaggerate how critical these diagrams are. Two summers ago, when we went on our first month-long camping trip, I spent about 3 days figuring out how everything would fit. There is no wiggle room, right down to which way to orient the camp chairs in the cargo box (fat end to the front or back?). So I drew pictures to remember. I have to rely on them every time I pack the car.

There’s always the open question of whether we could fit a little more stuff in the air space at the back:

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But we haven’t figured out yet how to get the hatch down before whatever is sitting there falls down. Maybe we could rig up some kind of webbing. Tempting.

There’s also the question of whether we could fit some more stuff right behind and over the kids’ heads:

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But since bags sometimes fall on their heads already, we haven’t gone there. Also I wonder if there’s some safety regulation we’d be violating and then someone might call child protective services on us for endangering Nick and Jesse. Never mind that we’re en route from taking them on terrifying hikes where not much of a mis-step would have sent them plummeting to their deaths.

But they didn’t plummet. They thrived and grew up a bit, as they do on all of these trips. It almost makes the unpacking worth it.

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