In fact, the packing started two weeks ago. I have this thing about having my daily pills readily accessible. Snack sized zip lock bags are key. One bag, morning pills. One bag, bedtime pills. Quart bag, all morning or all evening pills, and marked AM or PM. Then more snack bags hold a daily ration of instant coffee with sugarless cocoa mix, tucked into another quart bag. Just add water, take with morning pills, and I'm ready for the road.
Well, clothes and shower - not in that order - help too.
I pack my pill packs for a few extra days. Then I can pack all the bottles into a 2-gallon zip lock bag a couple days ahead of time. This way I don't obsessively stay awake at night mentally making sure I didn't forget them. And if something delays us, there are still enough pill packs to meet the unexpected need. If they aren't needed, I just use them the first couple days home while we're busy dealing with the chaos of unpacking, getting mail, unpacking, starting gas, unpacking, doing laundry, unpacking.
Hey, I did say chaos. I hate chaos. I've found I'm happier if I can anticipate and deal with problems before they arise. That way there's energy left to deal with the mundane, as well as the stuff nobody can anticipate. So: the pills are packed already.
Then, being me, there are the lists. Even after camping, crossing the country or whatever so many times, there are still the lists. The to-do list is getting checked off, piece by piece. Day before yesterday it was all about wrapping the pictures we left on the walls on previous trips due to lack of room in the hatchback and higher priority items going. Two months ago (!) I bought two rolls of brown paper with the idea of wrapping and combining pictures into packages of two or even three if the frames nested, so all frames at least have a good chance of arriving unscratched. I've been staring at the two rolls sitting in the living room, but finally got around to the wrapping on Monday.
A separate line item was putting all those pictures in the back of the hatch. Paul obliged last night, hot and sticky-sweaty as it was. Yes, he's quite the son, earning every bite of the chocolate ice cream we're leaving behind uneaten.
The ice cream never made the packing list. There is plenty of food on it, all staples so we don't need a cooler. And yes, portioned and bagged. What those don't cover, McDonalds will. Or Wendy's with its great salads. Or....
Another set of items on the to-do list was visiting those folks up here in Minnesota that we mostly won't see for 9 months unless they manage to find the cold so repulsive and their budget so flexible that they can come down and visit us in Arizona. These involved two trips and two bonfires in the back yard. Done, done, done, and done. Oh, and taking one person 50 miles to her see her Minneapolis surgeon because she is not allowed to put any kind of load on one foot and thus can't drive. It's a great time for conversation.
Then there was the shopping, the cleaning including laundry, the putting away so Paul get's his house back the way it was before we arrived, We even cleaned out the inside of the RV so we have our camping gear in the basement and he can get rid of the RV and gain another parking spot on the driveway. A couple last fishing trips got onto the list, but scratched when Steve got a really nasty cold. (Of course he breathed on me, so I'm anticipating my own about the day we start the trip and need to cover 600 miles. Whee.)
Ellie got groomed so she doesn't have heatstroke on returning to Arizona. A side benefit is she's so much more cuddly when shorn, combining body heat to cope with the AC. Once it grows out half an inch, I'll have to hunt around to locate her.
Some things need to wait until just before to be done and/or packed. Electronics needs to be first charged, then packed. Chargers made the list separately. We discovered years ago that this was necessary. Once this posting is done and the charging light on the laptop says green, off it goes into the suitcase. I backed it up last night. Check. Cameras are ready to go. Cells and Kindles are either charged or near enough to take us into the car where the cigarette lighter sports a charger with the proper fitting. Well, except Steve's cell has a weird one and needs to be charged in the motels.
Speaking of, those reservations were made a couple weeks ago. Then changed for one night after we found a better route, shorter and more scenic both, but refunds are easy in advance. Motel 6, we love/hate you. Love for the price, decent accessibility, ubiquity, and tolerance of dogs. Hate for sometimes noisy rooms, small beds, and poor climate control. We don't even try to have breakfast in, even when they claim they offer one, but there is always an Egg McMuffin nearby.
All the little packages and boxes got put in the car last night. Water bottles and plants too. Yes, it's a whole day ahead of leaving. But now all that's needed is that last carry-on - or is it carry-in for motels? - with clothing and toiletries. I knew that I, at least, would want a whole day to rest my knees as much as possible before tackling that first/worst day of driving. There will be a plethora of stops to "exercise" the dogs, all of which involve somebody hanging onto leashes, keeping them from peeing on each other if possible, and always in the farthest corner of the rest area away from the people facilities.
Hey, we love being spoiled by having a fenced back yard at both ends of our snowbirding travels.
Now, we actually find ourselves thinking about - heresy! - a time in the future when there will be no dogs to travel with. It seems like a perfect time to drive up into Alaska on our trip between "home" states.
But right now it's time to finish packing everything and load the car so there's time to relax. I plan to fall into the car hassle-free by 7AM. And have a worry-free night's sleep.