We officially left today – to Oregon! We’ve talked about this road trip forever and we’re so excited that it’s finally here! We’ll be driving the 30+ hour trip, camping in South Dakota and Wyoming en route to reach my family in Oregon. It’s been almost a year since we saw my mother, father, sister, niece, and nephews. (We usually plan a summer trip, but of course that didn’t happen due to COVID!) I’m really excited to finally see you and also for our adventure along the way! (With that in mind, this could be viewed as a kind of “unsubscribe” as I probably won’t be posting much until we return on September 15th as I try to be as present as possible during that time, but don’t worry, it will give a lot of action over on Instagram!)
I’ve honestly never been on a road trip (I think the longest time I’ve ever been in a car is 8 hours) so I’m a little nervous about spending so much time in the car. “But we will definitely be prepared, so I feel good about it!
Many of you have told me that you are preparing for road trips as well. I thought it would be helpful to share what we’re packing to make driving as easy as possible! (Note, if you need help with the camping part, I’ve updated my camping packing list blog post here to include the most important information we’ve packed for this trip!)
Our itinerary: Chicago to the Badlands to the Black Hills to the Tetons
I will definitely do a great summary of the trip as soon as we get home, but here is a snapshot of our itinerary!
We leave TODAY and drive the first leg from Chicago to Sioux Falls, SD. I’m packing us a picnic lunch and we plan to stop halfway and do a little hike when we arrive Great River Bluffs State Park break open the drive.
Day 2 and 3:
Arrival in the Badlands, where we will camp for two nights. More on that later!
Day 3 and 4:
Drive to the Black Hills and Custer State Park. We’re going to be glamping here (and have access to a proper bed and shower, haha!) I’ll tell more about where we’re staying etc. after our trip.
Day 4 and 5:
Drive from South Dakota to Teton National Park and camp at one of the campsites there! (They’re all first come first served, so not sure which one yet!)
Day 6 +:
We drove from the Tetons to meet my family in Oregon, stay with my mother for two days, and then we rented a lake house with my sister and father for the next 5 days. (We rent the lake house my family owned when I was growing up – we found it on VRBO! So amazing!)
Road trip snacks and food ideas:
When it comes to the “road trip”, I am of course always very happy about the meal. I tried to prepack most of our meals because A. you get tired of fast food REALLY quickly and B. I’ve heard that mask regulations in neighboring countries are VERY sloppy, so we will avoid public places as much as possible possible.
For road trip lunches:
Ham on baguette:
I love a good French ham sandwich, and it’s a great road trip sandwich because it travels well. If you want to whip up a few make-ahead sandwiches, a bread like baguette (or something that’s a bit sturdier) is a good choice compared to some sandwich breads that get slightly damp.
Get good quality ham, spread both sizes of bread with good quality salted butter and layer on top of good cheese like Gruyere, and you get a simple, no-fuss sandwich! Plan to prepare these for our picnic lunch today and serve them with fries and fruit.
Asian Chicken Salad:
I plan to make this coleslaw out of it What is Gabby Cooking? For lunch we drive from Sioux Falls to the Badlands. I assume by the end of this trip I’ll be sick of the sandwiches so I wanted to toss a salad in it so we don’t burn out on sandwiches too quickly!
If you feel the same way and you want to wrap up some salads, choose tougher vegetables like cabbage, chopped broccoli, carrots etc instead of regular lettuce as these will look good and you can prepare the mixture in advance and it will last you a few days! Just make the dressing on the side and store any meat / protein that you want to use separately and assemble that day before you hit the road!
Chicken salad with crackers:
Whatever your favorite chicken salad recipe, go ahead and put it in a container in your cooler. It’s super easy to pull out and scoop to eat with crackers on the go! Make a meal with some fruit, like grapes or apple slices on the side, along with fries or nuts!
White Bean Salad:
Do you remember that white bean salad? This is totally road trip friendly as it doesn’t really require much cooling. (Granted, if you don’t eat it the same day, keep it in the refrigerator!)
Road trip snacks::
Beef dried meat:
Jerky is one of the few snacks that actually goes a long way in staving off my hunger like a meal would. Once my Hangry levels hit the point of no return, it’s one of the few things that can bring me back to life. (It’s also my first gas station 😂) We’ll be sure to have a couple of bags within reach to accomplish this trip!
Skinny Pop and Chips:
I love the little mini-bags of cheddar skinny pop that you can buy in the store, so I have some of these and of course all the chips you love!
Self-explanatory. Flavor of blasted cheddar, obvi.
Apples and bananas travel very well on their own, so they are good choices. Another favorite is to dice a melon like canteloupe or watermelon and toss it in a container to take away. It lasts a few days (chilled) and is so much more interesting and delicious to eat than bananas every day! Great for breakfast too!
Road Trip Sausage Snack Box:
I love making small takeaway snack trays! Anything you usually put on a cheese board at home is fair game. I love to dice or slice some cheeses (cream cheese works great because it’s so easy), put it in a container with some salami, pickled vegetables (I love pickled green beans or asparagus), some grapes, some Throwing nuts. Pop the top off, grab some crackers, and you have a whole meal!
Chopped vegetables and dip:
Put your favorite vegetables together in a to-go container – I love carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers, and peas. Dip them in your favorite dip like ranch or hummus (it’s easiest to put some in a small container for the perfect serving tip – make sure there is plenty of room on top of the container so you don’t risk spilling) .
Further important information for road trips:
We have that big Coleman cooler (Which we also need for camping, otherwise we probably wouldn’t need a cooler that big! But hey, it never hurts to have lots of snack options, right?) It supposedly keeps things cold for five days! It’s also cheap if you don’t fancy a yeti!
We also have one on the back Yeti backpack cooler that we love. It keeps things super cold for a long time, and it’s really nice to be able to carry as a backpack – no more hassle of lugging around a super heavy, awkward cooler! (By the way, that would be a great gift too!)
I love this water bottle so much! I’ve had one for years but got another one with a sports top during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (it’s sold out but you can find the same one on Amazon!) I take my hydroflask with me everywhere, especially on the go! It doesn’t fit in the cup holder, which is a slight nuisance, but since it’s leak proof I just put it on the seat next to me and then free up space to use the cup holders for coffee, etc.!
We have this big old power converter for the car so we can easily plug in laptops, charge my camera, phones, etc. It plugs into your cigarette lighter! So brilliant!
Sometimes we are not in the car (e.g. camping). This is how we charge our phones, smartwatches, etc.
Podcasts + audio books:
I have yet to find out which books Neal and I can listen to, but I wish I had compiled that list by now. “We’ll start with Nice white parents Mini-series podcast (I heard it, he didn’t, so I’ll listen to it again) and Become by Michelle Obama (again I’ve heard / read it, but I know he’ll like it too, and I don’t think I can ever get enough Michelle!) is another of our favorite podcasts My father wrote a porno– Get ready to drive off the road, almost laughing. For more podcast reccos, check out this post for quite a few!
Okay, listen, other car sick people. These will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. They are motion sickness bands that basically only exert pressure on a pressure point to prevent nausea. You are a game changer. I get deadly car sickness and these have actually saved my life more times than I can count.
There’s nothing really to explain here. 😂
This is another pretty obvious one, but comfort is the be-all and end-all in 2020 and that’s no exception when it comes to long journeys! I plan to wear a lot of bike shorts with flowing linen tops so that I feel comfortable while riding. I’ll bring mine for bike shorts Lululemon Camo pair (turns out small!) and my alo couple (runs TTS!) For linen tops – you know, the same ones I always live in –the Outerknown button I have two colors!
I guess that’s all for now! I hope that was helpful and will follow our journey with us on Instagram!
PS Would you like more camping tips? Go to this post to read my beginner camping guide!
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