Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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By Sandra Elzie


Summer is here, complete with plenty of sunshine, kids playing in the neighborhood versus being at school, and vacations.

Last week my dear hubby announced he’d like to “hit the road for a week or two,” which in hubby-talk means “I’m ready to enjoy being outside for a change and want new scenery.”

I suggested Colorado to see our elderly sister-in-law with a side trip on up to Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore on our way home.  Within minutes, it was decided we’d drive versus flying…all the better to see the country…and we’d go in the Jeep versus towing the 5th wheel trailer.  For anyone who missed our eventful vacation to Florida, click on Too Much Adventure  .

Great.  I don’t know how things are delegated at your home, but at our house, it means that hubby gets the oil changed, checks the tire’s air pressure and he’s good to go.

Being organized, I immediately reached for a pad of paper and started two lists:

What we need to take and what “other” things need to be done before we leave.

Let’s see…clothes for two or so weeks, cameras, binoculars, etc.  Soon I’d filled the page.  It kind of reminded me of the good ole days when going for a visit with the baby meant having to pack up and take half of the house with us.

Now, since we’re not taking the trailer, it means that our resident feline, Jack, will be staying home.  Note to self:  Must find a cat-sitter…or maybe a house sitter.

Now here comes the fun part.  Hotel Reservations.  I hate this part…with a passion.  It took me most of a day!  Right in the middle of booking into the lodge at Yellowstone, it hits me…Note to Self:  Be sure to send in a notice to stop the mail delivery.

I have since typed up a basic list of things that need to go with us…medicines, cameras, phone cords, camera battery charger, etc and with a few clicks to cut and paste, I now have Master lists on the computer.  One is for Hubby and myself if we’re going away separately and another for when we travel together.  Also, there’s a list of those pesky little details that need to be taken care of before leaving home for a week or two.

Actually, packing for this two-week trip is good practice for our upcoming two-week cruise…except the bears in Yellowstone don’t require us to formally dress for dinner.

So, do you have any suggestions?  Things that most people forget to do before they leave on vacation?  Have you ever forgotten something when packing …something that you couldn’t live without so you had to buy a new one on the trip?  Come on, confess…we promise not to tell anyone. (g)



Carol Burnside - July 5, 2012 - 5:01 am

If we’re going away for a significant length of time without a house sitter, we’ll clean out the fridge (give away good stuff or freeze and pitch anything that won’t keep).

Because we know someone who came home to a flooded house in perfectly decent weather, we generally turn off the water to the washer/dryer and utilize all inside shut-off’s under sinks, etc. Also, I make sure my houseplants have sufficient water for the duration and arrange pet care.

In the current heat wave, I’d definitely have to hire someone to come and water landscaping and garden regularly.

Trips are fun, but they’re a lot of work, too. Once you’re on the road, relax and enjoy!

Maxine Davis - July 5, 2012 - 8:47 am

Great post Sandy. I’m with Carol. Turn off water! We find a pet setter and she usually gets in the mail and after sitting on the deck and reading the paper she usually waters my plants. When we went to Dallas for a wedding, we flew, but forgot the GPS to get around town so, yes, we bought another one.

Marilyn Baron - July 5, 2012 - 9:50 am

Sounds like a great vacation. We are actually in Colorado now on vacation. We flew in to Denver yesterday and drove to aspen with a quick stop for lunch at Vail. aspen is amazing. Friday we’re going to Boulder to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday and are looking forward to that. Have fun.

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 10:30 am

Hi Carol,
Yes, our plants are covered w/ the house/pet sitter we’ve hired, but you’re right about the landscaping. In our case, it’s on a timer, so not to worry, but the inside plants will be watered regularly.

I’d forgotten about cleaning out the refrigerator…guess it’s because Charise is coming to stay, so she’ll use the milk, etc. I’ll just be sure not to have any left-overs cluttering the shelves. (g)

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 10:34 am

Hi Brenda,
Yes, yes, yes……when someone isn’t going to be at the house, we not only turn off the water, we also turn the water heater down as low as it’ll go. Then we unplug all the electronics. We have too many thunder storms here to risk leaving these things plugged in.

Oh, I know what you mean about not having a GPS to navigate. How did we find anything before they were invented?!!?

We forgot hubby’s electric shaver once & had to buy another one. That’s the biggest thing. I also forgot my hair brush once.

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 10:37 am

Hi Marilyn,
Hope you’re having a great time. Much smoke from the fires down near Colorado Springs?

I love Aspen & Vail. It’s so beautiful. Vail is especially beautiful in the winter when it’s covered in snow. Skiing there is awesome, but expensive. Well, it’s not the skiing that’s so expensive, but the hotels. Anyway, hope you enjoy the visit.

Pam Asberry - July 5, 2012 - 2:57 pm

Sandy, I’ve gotten good at packing. I took just a carryon and my laptop bag on my 10-day trip to French Polynesia and I still had more than I needed. Generally, I remind myself that there isn’t much of anything I might forget that I can’t pick up from Wal-Mart (although there are no Wal-Marts in French Polynesia). Beyond that, I make sure my dog is taken care of and the house is securely locked. I choose not to worry about the rest. Have fun on your vacation!

Sia Huff - July 5, 2012 - 3:52 pm

Betweem Carol & Maxine, they pretty much have it covered. I also have a master list of everything that needs to be packed. Since I’ve taken a step back from instructing the children, usually one of them leaves something. But otherwise how will they learn?
Hope you and hubby have a wonderful trip. Be careful of the bears.

Marilyn Baron - July 5, 2012 - 5:38 pm

No smoke in Aspen. Right now there are no fireworks allowed. We are really having a great time.

Linsey Lanier - July 5, 2012 - 6:14 pm

Ah a Listmaker. We’re so misunderstood by our husbands, but how would they get on without us, right?

Sounds like you’ll be well prepared, Sandy. I only have one thing to add. If you’re going to Yelowstone, don’t forget the bear spray, LOL. Yogi and Booboo can be vicious.

Trudy T - July 5, 2012 - 6:36 pm

My husband will complain that I pack for any weather, any emergency, etc. We took a weekend trip to Little Grass Valley Lake where there was no cell service. The next morning he thought it would be fun to take the back road to Quincy,CA. I hadn’t been across that road in over 30 years and remember it was a dirt road and took a really long time. Hubby had asked about the road and was told it was paved now. It was however, very narrow and almost straight down. The breaks on the motor home overheated. While we were sitting as far off the road as we could, with the logging trucks racing by, his cell phone rang. It was the alarm service, the front door signal had gone off. My husband asked me “Did I lock the front door?” It did turn out to be a false alarm.
Have a great vacation, take your neighbor’s phone number.

Bruce Johnson-friend of Sandra's - July 5, 2012 - 6:37 pm

Aw, as my wife and daughters have repeatedly pointed out, (and I now do), stop all the OCD stuff, just grab the usual and go. If you find out along the way that you need something, heck, there are more Wally World’s out there than there are trees, so just whip in and get what ya need. Now that’s adventure…Have a wonderful and a flat free trip this time.

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 7:14 pm

Hi Pam,
Of course you packed light for the French Polynesian trip….all you needed were a couple of swimsuits…right? (g) I always pack too much, and each trip I try to pack less. Hubby just rolls his eyes.

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 7:15 pm

Thanks for commenting. My son leaves packing to his wife, but my daughter is an organized person and learned from her mother how to pack. (chip off the ole block?)

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 7:17 pm

Hi Linsey,
My hubby teases me about the lists sometimes, but he appreciates that at least one of us is organized and that he has what he needs when we go on vacation. I leave the tool stuff to him & he leaves food & clothes to me. It works for us.

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 7:21 pm

Hi Trudy,
Gosh, your trip sounds scary. Logging trucks barrel down roads that they think belong to them. Glad you made it back alive and well.

One evening hubs walked in & asked if I wanted to go camping for the weekend. We were on the road in less than an hour. I ran around grabbing stuff like a crazy woman. We were going to pitch a tent & I hate doing that in the dark, so we had to hurry. Surprisingly, we didn’t leave anything important.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 7:24 pm

Hi Bruce,
Did you know that Wal-Mart sells an atlas that lists all their stores? It’s great to have with you on a trip…then you know if the next town has a super store or regular (food or just junk) AND you know if it’s w/i two miles of the freeway. Then you just pop the address into GPS & you’re there!

Glad you dropped by and left a message. Tell Cheri hi & hope you guys can “hit the road” soon to enjoy some summer traveling fun.

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 7:26 pm

I forgot to mention that I love your comment about Yogi & BooBoo. I used to watch that cartoon and loved it? Loved how he was always after the pic-a-nic baskets. (g)

Donald Young - July 5, 2012 - 8:36 pm

When I am taking a driving vacation, I always take along an ice chest with plenty of bottled water and tea. Some tupperware for sandwich makings, cut up fruit, etc. A lot of travel in the southwest is wide open with facilities far between. IF a breakdown occurs we have food and beverages to get us by. Once we got stranded for 7 hours just outside Barstow, CA because of an accident and resultant fire (not us) and the traffic just parked on the northbound two lanes. My wife and I had my daughter, her husband and Noah, our grandson, with us.
I ALWAYS have an umbrella in the car and the truck. Good for sun as well as rain. The wife needs to be reminded to grab a hat and her sunglasses.
I am the list maker in this household. Just the same, as soon as we get a couple of miles from the house my wife starts in with: Did you lock the door?; Did she turn off the stove?; Are the windows all closed?; etc.
Have an enjoyable trip, looking forward to hearing about your adventures.

Sandra Elzie - July 5, 2012 - 9:41 pm

Hi Don,
You’re right about certain parts of the US being miles & miles of open land without a lot between. We also take a cooler w/ drinks & food…especially fruit versus salty snacks. (or calorie laden ones like candy since we’ll be so inactive for so many hours.)

That’s a good suggestion about the umbrella. We keep extras in the car (and truck) and, of course, flares & a blanket. Never know when we might happen upon a wreck or someone broken down and want to help.

Thanks for taking time to drop by and leave a note…it’s always good to hear from you.

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