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I grew up taking road trips with my family every summer.  Sometimes it was just a state over to visit family while others it was weeks long visiting places we had never been.  In 1986 my grandparents took me from Yucca Valley (southern California) all the way to Seattle, WA for a Kiwanis convention.  That trip holds some of my favorite memories, the three of us in the front seat of a Datson pickup truck for days... we visited every train museum along the way plus went into Canada to visit the miniatures museum in Victoria.  I want the same memories for our kids.  For the next few days I will be sharing our road trip memories along with how to do it on a budget AND keep your kids entertained in a world of devices.  We actually went device free for 5 days camping PLUS a full day of driving.  

This trip came about before the kids got out of school and we planned to be gone about 2 weeks.  Our original plan was to drive I40 from Tennessee to my moms in Arizona.  About 2 weeks before we left, my daughter sat down and made a list of the things they wanted to see along the way.  The only requirement was that they were within an hour drive of the freeway.  Her list was long but I love that they worked together to come up with places they wanted to see.  The last time I took this drive it was simply to move to TN from CA so we didn't stop to see much of the country.  This time I wanted it to be fun AND memorable.  Her main memories of the last trip is losing the cat in Oklahoma City - yep, we moved with a cat and dog but on one morning as we were leaving the hotel for our final leg of the drive the cat went missing.  At the time, my husband was in Afghanistan and it's his cat.  We searched so long that I was contemplating the length of time we must look before we could call it a loss and leave.  Luckily we found the cat after a 2 hour exhaustive search of the area including 3 hotel grounds and the area in between the hotel and the highway... in the HOTEL room.  This trip was GOING to be different, I was sure of it.

On June 6 we set off for Arizona with a few goals in mind.  One of mine being to see my 97 year old grandmother that has been ailing.  I felt that it was urgent to see her quickly based on recent conversations with her.  My son was looking forward to meeting his cousins as many he hadn't met.  His adoption was 2 years ago and it would be the first time in Arizona - most of my family is there but don't travel this way.  My daughter was looking forward to seeing her favorite cousins, camping and just being away from home.  So armed with a car full of clothes, 2 kids, the dog and our list we set out on an adventure that would take us over 1200 miles out of our way and 15 days instead of the 13 I had planned for.

Day 1 plan was to make it to Oklahoma City ...