Here it is, the beginning of a new road trip plan! The beginning is the most exciting part, before it devolves into fighting and broken dreams. It starts with a place, any sort of general place. Maybe there’s a place that sounds intriguing like the Outer Banks or maybe it’s a direction like Out West. This year, the word is Florida. Benjamin has never been to Florida, and Terry and I haven’t been there since 1991 on our first road trip. That time, it was all about the alligators. At least for me. I had never seen an alligator and wanted to pet them and love them.
I’ve seen many alligators now, and I still love them. Benjamin and I would like to plan some alligators into this trip. But one of the first things that came up, months ago, was the T-Rex Cafe near Orlando. That was Benjamin’s. I want to see what I didn’t see before when we were in Florida, the Keys. I want to go to Key West. I want to see those cats with the toes. All the stuff goes into the plan.
This year, I’m trying something new for the planning: Evernote. We’ll see how it goes. In the past I’ve tried making web pages for the plans with info on the places and links to the sites. I’ve tried blogging it, and I’ve tried the online planners. I’ve used Pinterest. I’ve even tried using an Excel spreadsheet.
Now this part of the planning is just for me to see. It’s the ugly guts of the planning that probably shouldn’t go public. So, the blog didn’t work. The web pages were clunky. The online planners aren’t flexible enough for me. I really don’t plan my trips like other people do. The spreadsheets got too technical, and Pinterest has been such a disappointment to me. It can’t pin half the pages I try to put on there. Evernote has the web clipper so I can clip the page and then add my own info to the note. I can tag them and sort them.
I’ll still use Google Maps of course. I’ll mark all the places we want to go using My Places. Google Maps is great. You can really see your route when you get done putting in all the places you want to go. And then you can route it and have your mileage and times. And I can also use this as my trip plan to show the world.
In the old days, I used the Rand McNally Road Atlas, and I still use it some. Mostly I have Benjamin looking it over now. It’s still fun, though, to crawl through the state maps, looking for the little red boxes that indicate attractions. And it’s still a good way to find them even with the Internet and all. You definitely want to take a good paper atlas with you on the trip. They’re very handy when the phone service drops out in the middle of nowhere.
I use Google Maps in a different way when I’m planning a trip, too. I’ll talk about that in my next post and also how I use geocaching.com in the planning.