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Monday, May 9, 2022

Road Trip

I was on the road all last week. I tried to keep up with my blog, but after a couple of days I just didn't have time. My family of 6 drove to Arizona to see my stepmom (my kids' grandma). Four of us took 3 days to drive there then 3 days back, while my son and daughter-in-law made the drive down in 2 days then 2 days back. Neither my husband nor I can see well enough for night driving on highways without streetlights, hence the 3 days each way. It was a good trip.

We did what we could to keep our costs down. For example, we chose to drive instead of fly. I booked places to stay that had free breakfasts plus a microwave and fridge in the room. In addition, we packed food for the rest of our meals on all traveling days. I brought bread, tortillas, crackers, pretzels, peanut butter, cheese, nuts, raisins, prunes, dried apples, dried cherries, canned vegetables, homemade refried beans, frozen hotdogs and buns, carrot sticks, sliced cabbage and slaw dressing, cookies, muffins, applesauce, juice, and instant coffee. There was a lot of repetition in our meals -- peanut butter sandwiches on either bread or crackers just about every day for lunch. Our dinners were only slightly more varied. one night we microwaved hotdogs to have with applesauce, Cole slaw, and canned green beans. Another night I made bean and cheese burritos in the microwave, served with carrot sticks, canned green beans, and dried fruit. And on yet another night, we used the last of the tortillas and some cheese to make quesadillas to serve with canned carrots, applesauce, and nuts. The final night we set out all of the remaining foods for us all to help ourselves to a snacky dinner. Whatever works, right? This trip was planned at the last minute, so I didn't have time to put together a more complex road trip menu. 

Every morning, before hitting the road, I made a large thermos of coffee and a smaller thermos of decaf. In addition, I handed out a 64-oz repurposed plastic juice bottle (the kind apple juice is packaged in) to each of the 4 of us filled with water. These became our personal water supply bottles for the drives. We each filled our own in the mornings before driving. 

As a result of packing so much food and drinks, we didn't need to buy any meals on the drive down or the drive back. We did buy a few candy items to share here and there when stopping for gas, spending about $15 total on candy. These small purchases perked us up when we needed it. By not spending much on food for the drives, we were able to splurge on a couple of meals with my stepmom. I guess that's how our frugality tends to work. We are careful in some areas so we can splurge in others.

We got home Sunday afternoon. I immediately started in on the laundry then grabbed a couple of items from the freezer to throw together a simple dinner -- a bean and canned tomato soup topped with cheese and homemade bread with butter. We were all so tried that this easy meal was all we really wanted before hitting the sack.

Being away from the vegetable garden for a week took its toll on some of my plants. I lost a couple, but am hopeful that the rest will recover. This morning I had to make up for lost gardening time. I leveled and raked the new pumpkin, corn, bean, and pepper patch. It's now ready and waiting for our weather to warm.  I pulled out the tail end of last fall's kale, plucking off the edible leaves to use in Monday's dinner, readying a spot for new seeds -- more kale, lettuce, and beets. My garden did have a happy surprise for me -- the carrot seeds sprouted while I was away.

Like I said, it was a good trip. But I'm happy to be home, sleeping in my own bed, and getting back to the work I have here on the old homestead.


  1. I am so glad that your family got to make this trip! That is wonderful! I certainly hope that your stepmom is doing well. We, too, pack most of our food when we are traveling. Partly for saving money but just as much because we just don't feel well eating from restaurants very much. We can get a more balanced and less processed meal/snack that way. However, some of the things you packed were not items I have thought to take along. But, I will be remembering them for future travels. Many thanks for the ideas and sharing your experience with us.

    1. Thank you, Linda. We're very glad we went. My stepmom was diagnosed with advanced cancer in March. She has decided not to do treatment. So this trip was especially important for our family. We continue to pray for her. And we hope to make another trip to AZ in the near future.

      Oh, yes. I agree on eating foods that we're used to as opposed to restaurant meals while traveling. My digestion doesn't do well with lots of restaurant meals.

      I brought a pocket knife with a can opener on it, along with some small, ceramic microwaveable dishes for heating foods like the canned veggies. My thought had been that if we ran out of our brought-from-home foods, we could always buy canned soup for dinner and heat in the hotel room microwave. So many hotels now have microwaves and fridges in the rooms. We used a picnic cooler to keep refrigerated stuff cold enough while driving from one town to the next, then popped it all into the hotel fridge once there.

      One of the side benefits to driving to a destination (as opposed to flying) is you can pack lots and lots of stuff.

      Have a great day, Linda.

    2. Your stepmother and your whole family are now on my prayer list. Each visit is so precious! If you mentioned this previously, I apologize for missing it!

    3. Thank you, Linda.


  2. I thought this was probably a trip to see your step-mom. A difficult one, I'm sure, but important for all concerned. You have a very good point about being able to take more stuff when you go by car instead of by plane. However, when we fly into somewhere, one of the first things we do is hit the local grocery store for peanut butter, bread, and fruit.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Yes, the trip was meaningful for all of us, my stepmom included.

      When we don't have a car and we're flying, we will usually try to find a store within walking distance. I know that lots of folks get grocery store delivery to hotels now, too. So that's another option for stocking up on lunch fixings, snacks, water, whatever, when flying.

  3. I'm sure the trip was a good one, even though this is a challenging time for all of you. Your stepmother undoubtedly appreciated having you there.

    My husband dislikes flying so we always drive. It has the benefit of not having to rent a vehicle as well as being able to bring food along. We operate similarly to you. We mostly eat our own food but occasionally splurge on a meal out. We also treat the kids and me to ice cream treats to make the drive have a bright spot.

    Praying for you and your family in this time.

    1. Thank you for your prayers, Kris.

      I like the idea of an ice treat for a bright spot in a long drive! Our occasional candy treat to share got us through some moments. There are some really desolate spots in central Nevada. Chocolate to the rescue!

    2. ^^that's me -- Lili^^

  4. This is wonderful, that your entire family could break from their busy schedule and go on a special trip to see your stepmom, and grandmother to your children. Communicating caring love and support this way must have meant a lot to her and hopefully will create miracles of healing energy.

    Making your own meals on the go is fun. It's like camping, but with better amenities. You mentioned often that it was a good trip, so nice to hear you say that!!

    I send you my hope and prayers too.

    1. Thank you, Laura.
      I think you're right about making meals like this -- there was an element of fun or challenge that I always enjoy.
      Have a great day!


  5. Lili, how wonderful that your entire family could make the trek to AZ. I'm sure that meant so much to your stepmom, you and your family. That is a great point that your frugality with the
    food you took enabled you to treat your stepmom and family to meals out once you arrived. That is how we function as well-save in some areas to splurge in others. Continued prayers for your stepmother and family during such a difficult time.


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