Trip Goals and Preliminaries – Summer 2015

Google-Map-MKE-IAH-OR-MKEOur daughter, her husband and two grandkids live in Houston. They are far enough away that we typically only see them a few times a year, and then for only a few days at a time. We had met them for Mother’s Day several years ago on a shorter trip with our old fifth-wheel, and now that we had more time, we agreed we would meet them for Mother’s Day again this year.

We had also been contemplating travel destinations now that we were retired. One place high on our list that we had never been able to spend much time together in was the Oregon coast. It’s quite a hike from our home in the Midwest, and a vacation-length driving trip is mostly traveling there and back. With more time available now, the Oregon coast became our first (non-family) post-retirement destination.

The catch? Google says that the shortest round trip from Home – Texas – Oregon coast – Home is 6,000 miles. While we’ve done many heavy mileage days over the years, we (1) will be traveling with a dog and cat this time, (2) have never maintained that pace for more than a month, and (3) just don’t want to do that in retirement. The dog and cat travel pretty well, but repeated 8-12 hour travel days are just not an option with them. And we really like to stay in one location for several days (3-7 typically) whenever we can.

Doing an initial seat-of-the pants estimate using an average of 250 miles for travel days (5-6 hours of travel time including stops), an average of just three nights per stop (one travel day, two non-travel days), add an extra 1,000 miles (7,000 total) since we know we’re not going to travel the shortest possible distance between home and Texas and Oregon, and we have an estimated trip length of 3 x 7000 / 250 or 84 days. Call it three months. And that assumes we only have two “fun” days for every travel day. Add in laundry, shopping, cleaning, maintaining Annie and The Beast, and all the other necessities and chores that mostly go on hold for a two-week vacation but have to be accounted for when your trip is 3+ months, and all of a sudden our two simple goals – spend Mother’s Day in Texas and spend time on the Oregon coast – have turned into a relatively long and not-exactly-relaxing trip.

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