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Posts from — September 2012

Break up a Long Road Trip with Local Activities

Break up your long trip with some short stops that are of local interest.  Checking out what the locals have to offer along the way is a great way to see the country.  It may sound silly, but be prepared to be spontaneous!  Making stops you haven’t planned lets you feel adventurous.

Once, we made a short stop for a potty break in Tupelo, MS and as luck would have it, we were less than a mile from the birthplace of Elvis, so of course we took a detour and had a look! There turned out to be a little playground nearby where we spent 15 minutes running around. On the trip home, we drove the Natches Trace parkway and stopped for 10 minutes to see some Indian ruins.  It’s amazing how many interesting things there are to see even out in rural areas of the country.

If you are fortunate enough to get some adult-only time to yourselves, I recommend touring a local vineyard where you are traveling, for example, www.benziger.com.  Take their tour and try some wines you may not have tried before like maybe the Sonoma Biodynamic Wine.  You may be surprised to know there are wineries all over the country, and not just in California,  where you can take short tours and see beautiful countryside.  I recently toured one in Kentucky!

Visiting the locals and finding out what they like to do is one of my favorite things to do when traveling on the road, because it gives so much flexibility.  Watch those road signs and be a little spontaneous!

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September 19, 2012   Comments Off

Have a Jolly Roger Good Time in the Car

September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  This is the perfect opportunity to brush up on your Pirate Speak for your next road trip where you can carry out your adventures with your own pirate personas.  Nothing beats traveling like a band of merry men aboard your road ship.  In my article “Pirates of the Caravana” you’ll find some great ideas on how to pass the time on the road while becoming thick as thieves. There you’ll also find a whole list of basic pirate terms that you can teach your crew, and if you’re lucky, they will love to follow orders!

One of my favorite pirate activities for the road is telling pirate jokes.  How much does it cost for a pirate to get his ears pierced? About a buck an ear! Arrrrrrrrr!!!

Another is to make pirate accessories out of aluminum foil while you’re on the road. It’s easy, cheap and fun and will keep your little buccaneers happy and busy while you’re out on the high seas!

 

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September 18, 2012   Comments Off

Fan Mail

I received a really nice letter from a reader who was visiting America from Australia for a road trip up and down the West Coast. She had such nice things to say about my website, that I just wanted to share!  Here is her letter:

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Hi Laurel,

My family recently returned to Australia from a trip to the US.  I madly planned and researched our trip before we left Australia because we had quite a bit of car time and I was looking for ideas to keep them entertained and to make it fun.   Your website was really helpful!

We drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the I5 then did the coast road down from San Francisco to San Diego then back to Los Angeles in our time there.  My husband is the only fan of long drives but some of the games you had on your website were a huge hit with us all, so I wanted to write and say thank you.  The number plate game was our favourite and we can proudly say we left the USA with only 6 to find.  There was much excitement when we found the ones we thought would be the hardest to find like Hawaii or New York!  I think we all looked at car trips in a different way after making it so much fun.

It was really interesting researching all the different blogs and sites for information on all our destinations.  My son has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair so we were keen to be as organized as possible because it always takes us longer to travel around because you can’t ‘just hop out of the car’!  The USA is so well geared to people with a disability it certainly makes it much easier.

Thank you again.  Kind regards,

Julie J.
Sydney, Australia
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Big thanks to Julie for her kind words and for taking the time to write to me.  It brings me so much joy to know that road trip travelers have found my website worthwhile and helpful to them.  Julie, I am so glad that you enjoyed your trip the the US!  –Laurel, Momsminivan.com

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September 10, 2012   Comments Off

Travel Books to Try

Recently I had a chance to  check out a great resource for parents who are hitting the highway to any of the U.S. and Canadian national parks. It’s a hardback book called “Adventures with Johnny: Road Trip to the Parks” by Michael A DiLorenzo and illustrated by Jenniffer Julich.

There is something for everyone in the family. The first part of this colorful and large book is for your kids. It tells a timeless story about Johnny and his family and their trip to a park.  Each page is like it’s own travel game including activities such as finding hidden items in the full color detailed illustrations. The story gives kids an idea of what to expect on their trip and can literally keep them busy for an hour if an adult reads through it with them.

The second part of the book is for the parents.  It includes details of individual parks, tons of travel tips, as well as park and camping tips for the family.

Finally, my favorite section is the one on the Awesome Animals of the National Parks. The delightful full color drawings are captivating, and there are details about all of the animals including what their footprints might look like!  Finally, you’ll find the answers to all of the activities at the back of the book in case you get stuck.  My kids loved this book and we give it two thumbs up!

The next book on my list is the Disneyland Encyclopedia by Chris Strodder. While I have written quite a lot of Disney Tips about my own experiences in Orlando, this is the first time I’ve posted anything about Disneyland — the original Disney park in California.  The last time I was at Disneyland, I was a child.  This book was a nostalgic trip for me since and is truly is an encyclopedia. Painstakingly detailed about every ride, attraction, shop, restaurant, and you name it.  It goes through the history of each attraction and how they’ve changed over the years, to what you can expect today. I recommend taking a look at this book well in advance of your trip in order to truly savor the moment at the park, having been well versed joy of what is to come. It’s also not a bad item to throw in your backpack and browse while you are in some of the lines at the park.  Happy travels!

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September 5, 2012   2 Comments