Webelos Scout Traveler Badge

Webelos Traveler Badge

Webelos Traveler Badge

If you have a boy, and he is in the Webelos, planning and taking a road trip can get him the Webelos Traveler Badge. You have to do five of the requirements to get the badge.

Number three is using a map on the Internet to plan a trip. At some point in our planning of 2012’s road trip (near the end, I guess), we’ll do a Google Map of the trip plan. That will take care of number three.

Number four is taking the trip. Benjamin will make a scrapbook when we get back with photos and postcards and brochures and such and take that to scouts to show.

Number five is to find the cost for gas for the trip. At least, I guess that’s what it means. It says to find the “cost per mile” for the trip, like you find the total cost and divide it by the miles. Why would you do that? I guess we can though. We’ll be figuring mileage and the costs for everything anyway.

Number six says to draw the route on a highway map. I always include the Rand McNally Road Atlas in our trip planning. Benjamin uses a highlighter to mark the route, and he looks for the little red boxed points of interest. I can’t read the tiny print in the atlas anymore, so he has to do all of that now.

Number seven is packing for the trip. I’ve always packed for Benjamin on all the past road trips, but I guess it’s time to teach him how to roll his clothes and organize things well enough to be able to take pretty much everything he owns.

So, that’s five, and that’s enough for the Traveler Badge. Benjamin’s already done a couple of other ones, too, and I think I need… I mean, he needs to get that geography belt loop, too.

While you’re out there tripping around, keep in mind that most of the national and state parks have scout programs. But on an extreme road trip, it can be difficult to find the time to do these and the park ranger programs.

Traveler Badge Requirements

Early Reconnaissance Missions

Route 66

The Route 66 thing in Tucumcari that Terry whipped by in 1996 that I finally got him to stop for in 2000 -- he even turned around and drove back by for me.

I used to refer to all of our road trips as reconnaissance missions. Mostly to lessen disappointments I had suffered on the trip. Weird statues that Terry wouldn’t stop for to let me get a picture. Famous city intersection signs that Terry wouldn’t stop for to let me get a picture. My sad face in the window as some one-of-a-kind roadside oddity whipped by. That kind of disappointment. I had to tell myself, this is just a reconnaissance mission. We’re just here to see what there is to see. Now that I know that statue is right there, I’ll be able to get a picture of it the next time we come through here.

And I’m glad I did that. It worked. It turned out to be real.

New York City

I still haven't spent the night in New York City, but maybe New York requires more than one recon visit.

So, my point is that I don’t call them recon missions anymore. They aren’t anymore, I guess. We’re going out west for the sixth time this summer. Of course, there are places that Benjamin hasn’t gone, that I want him to see, like the Great Salt Desert. And he doesn’t even remember going to Death Valley in 2005, so we have to go back there. Besides, we didn’t see the moving rocks when we were there before, the Racetrack. I’ve been wanting to go back for that anyway.

Death Valley

What Death Valley Looks Like

I also want to go back through the Petrified Forest National Park. The petrified trees aren’t all that spectacular, but the hills of the Painted Desert’s Chinle Formation are incredible. I have a couple of photos I took with a so-so camera back in 1997, and I have to get more pictures of that.

Crescent City Sea Lions

I also want to take Benjamin down to the docks in Crescent City to see the sea lions.


Forced Planning

So, tonight I guilted Benjamin into helping me plan this summer’s road trip. I wish I had someone who enjoyed playing maps like I do. That’s what I call it — “Playing Maps”. I used to play maps even before there was the Web. I tell Benjamin how I used to plan road trips before Google Maps — or even Alta Vista — existed. I used the big printed Rand McNally United States Road Atlas, and I wrote down the miles between each marker along the highways, those tiny, red numbers, and I added them all together to find the distances between places, and I did it barefoot through the snow, uphill both ways. I had columns of numbers written in a notebook that I added up to find the mileage for the trip. I used a highlighter, too.

Benjamin and Darla Kay at the Grand Canyon

We park, Benjamin jumps out and runs up to the edge of the Grand Canyon and says, Mom, you're gonna want a picture of this!

Then, I remind him of the Webelos Traveler’s Badge; he loves the badges. And then I say, if he doesn’t want to plan it, he must not want to go. Finally, he settles down, and we delve back in. And then he usually starts to enjoy it. The first thing we did was to find all the places we want to go. I use the word “all” loosely. We constantly find more places to go. Now, I guess the really first thing was to choose a direction. We chose west. We want to see our California relatives. It’s been a while.

So I Google “Utah dinosaur museum”, “California dinosaur museum”, “Arizona dinosaur museum”…… You get the picture. We also Google science centers, 1800s farms, ligers, and the Redwoods. Terry likes the old farms, and Benjamin has recently become enthralled with ligers. We found a zoo in Reno, Nevada that has a liger, so we put that on our map. We look at the web pages for the museums, zoos, and science centers. Benjamin mainly wants to see their gift shop pages.

We put all the places on a Google Map as we find them. There will be some that we won’t be able to make it to. That part is always hard on us, Benjamin and me. Terry doesn’t really care.

The next step is to find the mileage between them and, if it’s too much, find a place in between where we can stop. We’ll use the total miles to get an idea of what we’ll be spending in gas and also to see if the trip as planned is even feasible. This is the part we’re working on now for RoadTrip 2012. We’re almost back home.

RoadTripping: Second Grand Opening!

Terry and Benjamin at the Edge of the Pacific

Terry and Benjamin at the Edge of the Pacific

I was kind of throwing this blog together over at WordPress.com. Some of the older posts are pretty… dry. Some might not even make sense. I was using the blog to plan road trips, but they were really just for me. Now, I want to really do this. I love playing maps and planning road trips and looking at pictures from road trips… Sometimes I wonder if I enjoy these things more than the trips themselves. I bore my family to death with this stuff. They like the trips, and I think they appreciate my planning them. Benjamin, my nine-year-old, is helping me plan this year’s trip to help earn his Webelos Traveler’s Badge. So, I will tell you all about the planning of our next trip — out west — and give you some roadtripping travel tips that I’ve picked up in the last twenty years of driving (and some flying) around the United States. There are still some states I haven’t been to and several that I haven’t put on my geocaching map yet so I still have a lot of planning and traveling to do.

We used to include airplanes in our travels, but in recent years, what with all the regulations and searches and getting radiated so they can see through your underwear at the airport, it’s just not worth it. When I heard that I couldn’t take a bottle of water with me onto a plane anymore or my fingernail clippers, I knew that was the end for me. And it’s too bad. I actually love flying. I like to sit by the window and see the tiny people and tiny cars after take-off and before landing and the shadow of the airplane on the clouds. I do love that stuff. But, I have come to see that the road trip rules. And the obsessive compulsive behavior comes in here. Traveling is difficult for me. I imagine it is for a lot of OCD people. Traveling on a plane is even harder. Getting on an airplane and knowing that if I forgot something, the pilot will not turn around and go back for me makes me just about have a panic attack. I can’t haul as much of my stuff with me on a plane, and I have to worry about them losing what I do bring. And then there’s this: I know it’s not logical, but it comforts me to think, if I drove here and something happens, I can always walk home if I have to. You can’t walk home after you get off of a plane. That’s just the way my mind works.

So, I’ll tell you some stories from the road. I have many. Some are funny. I might throw in some stories where I cry. I always cry at least once on every trip. The stress just gets to me after a while. I’ll tell you the bad stories so you know what to look out for, and I’ll tell you the good stories so you know the best places to go. I’ll try to help you to not forget anything and tell you the best way to pack. Yeah, OK, that’s my way. So, join me here for a roadtripping good time!