I’ve been taking a spring break for as long as I can remember, it’s something I’m pretty sure I’ll never give up. March is always the most stir crazy moth for us; it’s when it SHOULD be warm but it isn’t. Skipping spring break just isn’t an option. Some of our favorite places to camp with our kids in March are: Anza-Borrego, Mojave National Preserve, Superstition Mountains and Parashant National Monument. This year, because it was 1/2 way between me and my sister (and her husband and two boys) we settled on another long time favorite, the Death Valley area. We didn’t have much of a plan beyond meeting up in the Alabama Hills (west of Lone Pine, CA), we just too things day by day.
Here’s the visual description of our trip.
And the physical description.
Day 1: Spend all day packing. Drive from Reno, NV to Lone Pine, CA at night while the kids are asleep (a good call in every respect aside from the fact that we drove past Mono Lake in the dark, so I’ve still never seen it). Listen to the audio version of Animal Farm. Find our campground/meeting spot. Sleep in the van.
Day 2: Have a slow morning. Play in the dirt. If your Isaac, grab a cactus. Pick out a climbing route. Eat. Get in some climbing. Look for monsters. Explore dinosaurs caves. Find dinosaurs bones. Start the campfire early. Put up the tent. Fix a big dinner. Sit around the campfire. Put the kids to bed. Sit around the campfire some more.
Day 3: Another slow morning. Pack up camp. Drive to Bishop CA. Take the kids to a train museum. Lure kids away from the train museum. Make lunch in a parking lot. Load up at Schat’s Bakery. Shower. Find a dirt road with a suitable campsite. Make a fire. Eat. Kids to bed. Sit around the fire. Spend a really cold night in the van.
Day 4: Stay in our sleeping bags until the sun hits camp. Break camp. Stay warm. Take a nice drive into Death Valley NP. Tackle some washboards on our drive to Eureka Dunes. Catch lizards. Climb a sand dune. Catch bugs. If you Isaac, drag your Dad up and down and up and down and up and down the dunes. Play with diggers. Run down the sand dune. Eat. Find a backcountry campsite with lots of poofy dirt. Build a fire. Make the best fajitas ever. Run around with glow sticks. Go to bed exhausted.
Day 5: Cook a big breakfast. Make mud pies. Drive to Scotty’s Castle. Get muddy in the creek. Offend everyone on the tour with the smell of sweat and campfire. Say by to traveling companions. Find a dirt road. Unload the plastic tub with cooking items. Warm water on the stove. Cook dinner. Pour water in empty tub. Bathe kids. Drive home while the clean kids are sleeping.
On day 5 when Ari found out we were going home he cried, and I’ll admit I kind-of felt the same way. It’s amazing how happy we all are on the road. Particularly if that road is dirt…
Long live spring break.