We had hoped to leave the house before noon and get well into Iowa for our first night away but we are notorious for getting behind schedule. In this instance we set a new lateness record for ourselves - 7 hours.
While Shawn is quick to point out that seven hours isn't really too bad considering we'll be gone for three months (true, that) it still bugs me that we could've gotten out only five hours late had our packing gone better.
I like to blame it on our car. In many ways it is a great little car, but it is ... little. We have five vehicles from which we could choose for this trip. Yes, having a fleet of five vehicles seems like a totally flagrant act of flagrance, but rather than an unconscionable demonstration of prosperity we like to think of the fleet's positive aspects: essentially employing a lot of people making spare parts, and helping the environment by reducing the demand on our landfills and keeping a few hazardous wastes somewhat contained.
We decided, after a brief (and rare) excursion into the realm of "common sense" (we're not taking the Fiat, or the "Red Racer," or the 15mpg Explorer on a cross-country trek) and some advice from Fred, to drive the 1993 Civic.
Fred is our mechanic and he knows all our cars intimately. He's seen all of them naked and he's honest enough to admit that he'd rather not have to see some them naked ever again. So, while either the '97 Accord or the '96 Explorer would've had ample room to make the trip quite comfortable, Fred said the little Black Beater would be our best bet. And so we sacrificed comfort and expedience for reliability and economy.
The comfort and expedience factors have more to do with the volume of stuff we're taking with us than anything else. Packing the little Beater is a challenge that rivals solving the Rubik's Cube and getting everything to fit requires pretty much an air-tight packing job. There is a specific sequence to follow so that everything fits just right. Forget one step, or make any deviation and POOF! ... we need a trailer.
So, here we are. We look a little like the Clampetts.
Except we don't have Granny strapped on the roof.