How do Boy Scouts ever travel?

So, okay, I know their motto is to always “be prepared”, but someone explain to me what happens when they have to take a long trip.

Heading into my final weekend before the big road trip to D.C. and back (with stops at points in between) I’m growing closer to the actual process of packing for the trip.  In this, I am a bit challenged as never before on any trip.

It’s not like I’m a rookie traveler.  I’ve taken numerous trips for my last job and plenty of vacations (including overseas).  Some of the vacations have been extended (over a week), others just overnighters.  Yet I find myself somewhat stymied in deciding just what and how much to take.

Foremost in the challenge is the fact that there will be stops at different locations and different climates.  My previous trips tended to be to a singular end point.  Some visits will be from a motel, others will be as a house guest.  I’ll be starting in the south and ending up the Eastern Seaboard.

I have committed everyone to causal dress.  Even those that I plan on treating to nice meals have assured me casual dress will be acceptable.  That certainly simplifies things.  An added bonus is that the final leg of the trip puts me in a place where there will be access to a laundry room.  The addition of a small container of detergent should be offset by the easing of the quantity of clothes needed.

Further complicating the packing choices is the fact that this is a road trip, but at that same last leg mentioned above, I won’t have nearby parking, thus anything I do pack I should try to consolidate to avoid cab or bus rides to a distant parking garage.

And my final challenge is my own Boy Scoutian (look Ma, a new word!) nature, which climbs onto my shoulder and persistently whispers to “take that too” for some rare possibility I might need it.  I think this is an offshoot of my “prepare eight types of food at my BBQ, to make sure there’s something for everyone”.

Plotting out the road trip food should be simple enough.  One of those soft cooler bags with a couple sodas, some chocolate (chocolate is excellent for road trips) and maybe some nuts or chips.  And maybe a piece of fruit.  Maybe some cut carrots wouldn’t be bad either.  Perhaps a water or two in case the soda gets too sweet.  And…uh…look, there I go.

So now picture that with clothes and sundries.  How many pairs of jeans?  Sneakers or casuals?  Bring a towel?  Bring my pillow?  What about at night?  What if it’s rainy?  What if it’s colder than expected?  What if it’s warmer?  Should I bring some shorts?  Short sleeves or long?  Both?  All?

It’s only a 10 day trip, so I figure it will take me three days to decide what to take.  Then it will take about 20 minutes to pack because, naturally, I’ll end up taking about what I always take, which won’t be all that much.

I still can’t figure out how a boy scout can ever get ready in time.

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