The Art of Preparation

Sometimes the adventure is not the activity itself, but the preparation that goes into getting ready for it.

Before my kids left the nest, my wife and I had a family of six to get ready for any kind of trip. Our fondest memories include boating trips and beach camping at Lake Powell, which involved coordination with several other boating families. We often cross-checked our packing lists to find out who was taking what so that nothing was ever left behind. Our own family checklist was ever-expanding, and we usually spent three days carefully packing everything into our boat and truck.

This was no easy feat, as we all had our favorite water toys: tubes, skis, or wakeboards. The real art of preparation cranked up as we got to camp, and this involved setting up three tents, two sun canopies, one full-size blowup mattress (the queen—ahem, my lovely wife—needed her comfort) and a popup kitchen. Oh, and we couldn’t forget that all important porta-potty. Then came the challenge of hauling three massive coolers carefully packed for at least three days of fun in the sun. One was for food, one for adult beverages, and the other for the kids, plus two large water containers for complete hydration. We always took three gas cans along, too, because who wanted to pay the gas prices at Powell?

Once we arrived at Powell, it usually took a half day to set up the White House West Wing but the camp was perfect when finished. Then, once the trips were over, camp clean-up was just as intense as the initial construction. We had a rule that the campsite was always left cleaner than when we arrived. I am happy to say that rule has stuck with our kids because on occasion I will hear one of them reference it even on a fun afternoon outing.

With the kids now all grown up, our trips are simpler. Today we are headed out for an afternoon ATV trip. Our preparation involves making sure the gas tanks are full and the cooler is packed with just a quick picnic lunch.

Your choices of adventure can be endless, but the preparation is half the fun.