Two Weeks on the Road With Aden — Part 1 the Getting There

Last Friday, we pulled back into Chandler, AZ from our road trip in a rented RV. We hurried back into life; I had a flight to Kansas City on Sunday (barely 36 hours after the return) and Aden had to get ready for a camp.

This is not about a Dad’s sacrifice of time with his son to earn enough to have any time with his son https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8R_Pp6EcM4. Rather this is a celebration of the time we had.

Back in the summer of 2020 [Remember that one. COVD and riots and all kinds of other divisive stuff?] Aden asked me if we could take an RV trip for his birthday next year. He turns 10 in about 6–weeks.

I told him I would think about it. Really I was trying to figure out if I could afford it [having just gotten past my first quarter in business on my own and not knowing how much revenue I could plan to rastle]. I asked him where he wanted to go? He said Glacier. We had spent a few days in Glacier National Park, which was not even close to enough, in 2019. He was then 7 and still pretty young to tackle many of the hikes and did not quite have the long-term memory development he has now. I was surprised by the pick. But really happy. I had wanted to return also.

I went to work. I priced out RV rentals, RV spaces, and the other costs. Was totally shocked at the cost. So I tempered his expectations a little. When this past winter rolled around I knew I had to start finalizing the plan. I really wanted to do two weeks knowing that we would need around 4 to 5 days of just pure drive time. Two weeks would give us the time to actually enjoy it and not just be driving non-stop. The RV rental gods and my business income worked it out to make the primary mode of transportation and sleeping manageable.

Doing what I do, not only did I think we could hit Glacier in Montana, but thought we can do it by way of North Cascade National Park in Washington. This added some extra days of driving, many other sightseeing opportunities, and many new opportunities to miss a lot of stuff by packing too much into the trip. That sounds like the best approach because I can just push the driving and control the itinerary. So I made that plan that we would have saw large swaths of the Columbia River in Oregon, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainer, North Cascade National Park, Glacier National Park (with a small stretch of Canada), Yellowstone………WOW!!!! Sounds amazing. By the time we got to early July 2021 undoable.

We had our 2-weeks. But the weeks getting there were treacherous with life and projects going haywire and having packed in too many other activities.

Getting the RV proved a chore given some issues with the vendor. So I asked Aden. Do you want to focus on Montana or try and fit in the Pacific Northwest also? He advised Montana. So I replanned a few days before departure. The cutting room floor of the trip planning bunker featured a lot of cool stuff, but it was the right approach. Next time maybe we get to Mt. St. Helens.

After much shuffling, we were set. I got back to the Phoenix area on July 8th with full expectation of hitting the gravel the next day. I even got lucky enough to work in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on my immediate return to PHX [literally I landed, and I and Aden took off for the arena]. Wow! How awesome.

Not so fast. After 2-weeks of trying to confirm if the RV was ready on July 9, the vendor replied back there was an oil leak. I was offered an “upgrade”. A 25-footer with a bunch of other features. AWESOME!!!!!!! Picked it up and figured out the AC did not work [we would eventually be driving through Vegas and St. George, UT], it had been used as a smoking section for 6-months and it would be a real pain in the ass to navigate around in. Set back. The vendor did take care of it though and got us the RV we had originally booked (19 feet and able to be parked in a normal car size spot).

After we cleaned it up and packed it and rolled out early on July 11.

Dad. Doer.

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Chad Wakefield

Chad Wakefield

Dad. Doer.

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