If you have to bring the rig to the shop and they say “it’ll only take a few hours”… guys, it’s going to take ALL DAY. If you prepare yourself for a day out of your home, you will be much better off than assuming it’ll only take what they think it will. Here’s my basic game plan:
- Plan food for the day. We have a typical picnic lunch that I can put together pretty quickly. I grab more snacks than I think I’ll need. We make coffee before we drop it off. We typically plan to eat dinner out that night (this is after made the mistake in Zion of planning on the rig being back for dinner because the shop closed at 5:30. Joe made it back to camp at 6:30. I was RAVENOUS and the dinner plan that night was something that took 30 minutes which felt like FOREVER when I was ready to eat my arm). Keep in mind that if you’re in a hot place, you’ll need to keep the food in a cooler and in the shade to last for the day. Again, that’s the Zion experience talking.
- Other basic needs. If you’re going to be without a car, make sure you know where the bathhouse is. Make sure you know where shade is (we once put up a pop up tent and made our own shade). Make sure you know where a pavilion is in the case of rain. Best case, figure out in advance what you can walk or bike to (like the visitor center or a convenience store).
- Charging devices. Again, if you’re going to be without a car (i.e. without a car charger), think through how you will charge your phone if needed. Maybe the bathhouse has plugs. Maybe you can befriend your campsite neighbor or camp host and ask them to plug at their house. Don’t be shy – it’s important if the shop or your partner needs to contact you!
- Things to do – within walking distance. I try to keep our morning school routine as regular as possible, so I’ll pack our bare bones math supplies and a few read aloud options. At Zion, we rode the shuttle system to the visitor center for a ranger talk, we spent time checking out the bookstore and we hung out with our new best friends next door.
- Things to do – if you have a toad*. In Bainbridge, WA we checked out some of the Olympic Peninsula we would have other missed (Point-No-Point was awesome!). We had been towed after leaving our campground, so the kids and I went back there to play at the playground and visit the friends we had made that week. In Center Point, OR we spent the first day exploring the local attractions – and totally lucked out with a cheese artisan, a chocolatier, and a great rock museum.