September 30, 2012

American Adventure

This is a guest post from Abby Du Plessis written in conjunction with

Soon after my family and I arrived on the Western shores of the United States of America so that my husband could start working for the company which had relocated us there, we decided to take a road trip. Never having travelled in the States before the only experience I had to draw from was the many Hollywood films that have been made on this subject. Picturing Robert Downey Junior in the movie ‘Due Date’ struggling across America with his accident prone side kick Zach Galifianakis , left me feeling somewhat dubious about what to expect from our big adventure. Nonetheless, I was still keen to explore a small part of this huge and glorious country and the best and most cost effective way to do so was by car.

We hired a car for the trip because although we had use of another privately owned car we didn’t want to add too much mileage to it and also wanted to travel in a more comfortable, newer car than our own. It was easy enough to find cheap car hire online, but we were cautious in making sure we planned exactly how much it would cost before we chose a vehicle. You need to be really careful when it comes to things like hidden extras, fuel consumption and whether or not you have unlimited mileage.

 The children also enjoyed the novelty of being in a different vehicle to the one they were used to as it had pop out cup holders and other “amazing” features. The small things make a big difference to little kids and as you spend so much time in your car on a road trip it is nice to have a few luxuries.

So, with all of our luggage and both of our children safely packed up, we headed out East, from our house in the San Francisco Bay Area, to the desert playground that is Las Vegas. We planned our trip to include the magnificent Yosemite National Park, with a couple of nights there to take in the sights before driving through Death Valley towards Vegas. The first part of our journey passed without a hitch and we spent a couple of nights marvelling in the splendour of the beautiful mountain range, which even impressed our surly 5 year old. Apart from the inability to find healthy places to eat, the trip couldn’t have gone better. Then came the unseasonal snow.

Taking advice from the manager of the hotel we were staying in, we decided to take a longer route out of the park as the snow would make the shortest way impassable, and set off blissfully unaware of what awaited us. After driving for a couple of hours on the alternative route, we had yet to see any snow and were beginning to think the predictions of the meteorologists were over cautious. That is until we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a blizzard, on a very windy road half way up a mountain. Luckily we were driving behind a big truck, which slightly cleared the road in front of us, and we managed to get back down the mountain safely.

After all the drama of that had settled we decided that we should write off the idea of Vegas, saving it for another time when we could go without the kids, turned around and headed towards Carmel. We had a wonderful couple of days in the beautiful town by the sea, and reflected on how flexible and spontaneous you can be on a road trip, even when there are kids involved.

The preceding was guest post from Abby Du Plessis written in conjunction with See my full disclosure.

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