Life on the road doesn’t always go as planned, but that’s okay. In fact, that’s part of the fun! Each year when we set out on our annual road trip, we spend months working on an itinerary that maps out our every stop. Each year we also deviate from that itinerary from time to time. We’ve learned that having the plan in place is important, but living in the moment is absolutely essential.
Our 2013 cross country road trip itinerary looked like this (all changes are in red):
Day 1: Indianapolis, IN to
Sioux City, IA Omaha, NE – We ended up in Omaha because we found the cheapest hotel room there. Oh, and because Justin Bieber was in town and we wanted to catch the show.
Sioux City, IA Omaha, NE to Badlands National Park
Day 3: Badlands National Park, SD to
Greybull, WY KOA Cody, WY – We couldn’t reach our pals at the Greybull KOA so we pressed on to Cody.
Greybull, WY KOA Cody, WY to Yellowstone National Park via Silver Gate, MT
Day 5: Yellowstone National Park, WY
Day 6: Yellowstone National Park, WY to
Antelope Island/Salt Lake City, UT Bear Lake, UT – We ran out of time as we were driving and couldn’t make it all the way to Antelope Island. Luckily, Bear Lake is a fun place and we had a ball camping there.
Antelope Island/Salt Lake City, UT Bear Lake, UT to Great Basin National Park, NV
Day 8: Great Basin National Park, NV to Yosemite National Park, CA
Day 9: Yosemite National Park, CA
Day 10: Yosemite National Park, CA to
Pinnacles National Park, CA Pismo Beach, CA – We decided it was a bit too hot to hike around Pinnacles so we got a hotel room and kicked back on the beach for the night.
Campsite at Morro Rock or Pismo beach Pismo Beach Hotel to San Onofre State Beach, CA via Pacific Coast HWY
Day 12: San Onofre State Beach, CA to San Diego, CA
Day 13: San Diego to
Joshua Tree National Park, CA to Phoenix, AZ Tucson, AZ – Again, the HEAT!!! Beside, our friend Brian lives in Tucson and we wanted to get there to hang out.
Phoenix, AZ Tucson, AZ and Saguaro National Park
Day 15: Tucson, AZ to White Sands National Monument, NM to Alamogordo, NM
Day 16: Alamogordo, NM to White Sands National Monument
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM to Pecos, TX – We skipped Guadalupe to spend more time at White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns. There weren’t many options for camping near the caverns so we kept moving to Pecos, TX.
Day 17: Pecos, TX to Balmorhea State Park Park, TX to Big Bend National Park
Day 18: Big Bend National Park to
Dallas, TX Big Bend National park was just too cool, we stayed an extra day to get our fill.
Day 19: Big Bend National Park to
Hot Springs National Park, AR to someplace closer to home… Memphis, TN We decided to skip Hot Springs so we could spend more time in Big Bend. Regrettable, but we think we made the right choice!
Day 20: ??? Memphis to HOME!
As always, things didn’t necessarily go exactly as planned but that’s life on the road. Chances are we’ll have to rearrange our itinerary next time too. The important thing is to anticipate little bumps in the road and take them in stride. Are you a strict planner or do you drive by the seat of your pants!?