Road Trip Essentials

Road Trip Lifesavers

Our family recently took a road trip from Rhode Island, USA to Maine, USA and to New Brunswick, Canada in our 2018 Airstream Classic 30′ Travel Trailer. Our tow vehicle (Ford F-150).

This was our very first long road trip (over two weeks), with our 2 year old toddler and 3 year old dog. It took a lot of patience, planning, and negotiation.

In the end it was very rewarding and extremely educational for our family. We learned a lot about our Airstream, our family, our limits, and how we truly appreciate some of the things we had with us during our journey.

THE LIST

Let me start off by saying that this list is not EVERYTHING we packed. It’s just most, if not all, of the items we found to be extremely useful along our road trip.

This is not a go-to packing list but a resource for inspiration if you’re planning on taking a long drive with your toddler, or with your dog.

For Kai

Our Fire HD8 tablet for Kai helped a lot; and we especially love the case we purchased for it. This was our third case, and it’s by far my favorite! We even have it in bright blue, so it really stands out! It was such a breeze to put onto the Fire Tablet too.

Kai especially loves the puzzle games and just watching movies/tv shows. We do only resort to the tablet when we are driving long distances, or when we go out to eat. We used it when we went out to lunch in Freeport.

Other clutch item for our travels? The OXO 2-in-1 travel potty🙂 You can stand it up so he can sit independently sit on it or use it on a regular toilet seat so toddler doesn’t feel like he’s falling in.

It was perfect for Kai, since he prefers to take his time to poop. We mostly use it as the stand-up option. And, the OXO bags are great because they have an absorption pad so it helps with excessive pee. I have also used a regular plastic shopping bag (make sure there are no holes in it). I add some paper towels for absorption. We also find the splash guard on this potty to be such a nice feature (since he is a boy, and he still pees sitting down). He hasn’t really gotten the whole aiming thing down yet 😉

While the above sippy cups by Munchkin have mixed reviews, we have been using them for Kai since he started drinking cows milk at 12 months old.



At first, I did find it hard to clean, but one I got the hang of it, it was a breeze. I love my OXO On the Go bottle cleaning set. I just use them along with these Dr. Brown pipe cleaners to clean the straws out.

For travel, I ended up purchasing a few of these Dapple dish detergent bottles. They’re awesome!

Kai was an early walker. At 10 months old he took his first step, and by 11 months he was close to running! Before he was mobile, we used the Baby Bjorn carrier (black). Prior to this trip, we simply used the stroller for long walks. But, we had planned to do some long hikes, so we decided to invest in some sort of carrier. Initially we were torn on getting a hiking carrier, but it was going to be over $200 and we were just concerned we weren’t going to get too much use out of it. I ended up finding this teal BabySteps carrier (weight max capacity 44lbs) on Amazon.com that we purchased. It worked perfectly for us and it was a fraction of the cost of a hiking carrier.

RushMyPassport.com

For Us

These collapsible food storage containers were perfect for us. We purchased these when we bought our first RV, and they have been so amazing.

Also, this collapsible mixing bowl is very convenient when you have a large salad to serve , popcorn for a movie, or brownies to bake and need a large bowl. This one is a little pricey, but it’s a lot sturdier than the food storage containers.

I also swear by this collapsible sink colander. It’s such a space-saver in the RV:) and I love the fact that it has the expandable legs. It fits in our 2018 Airstream Classic 30′ sink perfectly! We also used it in our sink in the 2018 Springdale Mini 1750RD by Keystone, and it fit nicely (without us having to use the legs).

Water shoes were so helpful when we went to Fundy National Park and we were exploring the rocky ocean floor during low tide. Those rocks are very hard and wearing protective footwear was important for me. I bought myself these sock-like water shoes and purchased my husband a pair of Speedos.

For Our Dog

Collapsible dog food and water bowls came in very handy while on the road. When we stopped so that Kai could use the potty, we also took Stanley out to pee. When Kai stretched his legs and ran around, so did Stanley. Then he got thirsty. So, we pulled out our bowl for him and always gave him our drinking water. We just didn’t trust the water at the rest stops or at the campgrounds (for drinking, at least).

No, we didn’t need these “EXTRA LARGE” ones for our 20 lb Cairn Terrier, but you get the idea 🙂

Another important item to have on hand when camping at sites is a sturdy and reliable tie out. We used this every time we had to set up our site and when we were outside eating, so Stanley could hang out with us.

Thanks for reading all this post, everyone. Happy travels, happy camping, and live riveted!

Full-Time Mommy in Training, Present!

If you’re interested in reading about the details of our trip, click here.

The Road. The Drive. The Accident.

2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA
Day 8: Wednesday, 7/18

Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada

I was a bit nervous the night before heading to Fundy National Park. In the back of my mind, I was worried there just wouldn’t be enough to do to keep Kai occupied. This, of course, was also due to the fact we were just at Yogi Bear’s campground:)

The Road. The Drive. The Accident.

There’s really nothing but farm on the way to Fundy National Park. We hit Sussex, NB and there was a Walmart we were able to pull into. We made it there just five minutes too late. Kai really needed to pee and told us. Unfortunately, we were unable to pull over with the the truck and the Airstream. There just wasn’t enough room on the side of the road, and we didn’t want to pull into someone’s driveway.

Throughout his whole trip he was been so good! No accidents. Until now.  I felt so bad he had to sit in his own pee until we parked.

Check-In

Upon arrival, we checked into the Headquarters campground, where we booked a total of five nights. We got to our pull through site and set up while Kai was still napping.

Observation: lots of mosquitos! There were so many, and we got bit a lot. Thank goodness we all brought bug spray with us.

We were almost finished setting up when Kai woke up.

That evening we decided to stay in and cook dinner.

Story Time at the Amphitheater

There was story time at the amphitheater at 7pm. It was awfully foggy that evening, and it took us little while to find the location. We thought we were going to be late, but the Fundy ranger started the stories about 10 minutes after 7pm.

There were many small kids with blankets and stuffed animals.

Kai was overtired.

Randomly, he asked us to take his shoes and socks off. Then, as he was playing above a sewer-type thing, he started peeing! Yes, in front of everyone. All the adults definitely got a kick out of our little character. One adult said, “I guess that’s why he asked for us to remove his shoes. He knew something was coming.”

Oh, this kid.

We didn’t yell at him. When we got back to our camper, we simply reminded him to let us know before he needs to pee.

Full-Time Mommy in Training, Present!

Interested in reading more? Here are our posts on our first day of travel: summer road trip 2018, and our experience at Headquarters Campground at Fundy National Park!

Headquarters Campground at FUNdy National Park

2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA
Days 8 – 13 : Wednesday, 7/18 – Monday, 7/23

Headquarters Campground at Fundy National Park

We booked a full hookup campsite at the Headquarters Campground for a week in the summer.

At the Headquarters Campground at Fundy National Park, there were no individual fire pits. They had community fire pits spread throughout the campground.

Kai absolutely loved the playground. It was very unique! Downside: the playground and pool were pretty far. We definitely needed to drive or ride our bikes.

Dogs

Canadian National Parks are so amazing with their rules about allowing dogs on their hiking trails. That was one of main reasons we were looking forward to bringing Stanley, our Cairn terrier.

Stanley had such an amazing time on our hikes and getting some fresh air!

Bike Riding

We enjoyed riding our bikes to the playground, but the saltwater pool was too far and far too hilly for us to ride. Since Kai cannot ride a bike of his own just yet, we love our bike trailer. Michael pulls him with it, and it’s perfect!

Dark Sky Preserve

One major shocker at the campground: they advertise there’s a dark sky preserve at the park, which I totally believe. However, at our campground, they had these large and bright street lights. It was safe because we could see clearly at night, but it was not helpful to see the stars at night.

Water

The water here had a rusty taste to it. Of course, I didn’t use it for drinking. I just got a bad taste when I used it to brush my teeth and when I was bathing. The rust (to me) was very overwhelming. Michael said he didn’t notice it.

Laundry

it was $3 a load here! Double the price of laundry compared to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Woodstock, Canada. And, the machines here were very old and not has efficient. I also noticed the washer was all rusty inside. My suspicions = rust in the water = proving my theory.

It caught my off guard, in a good way.

We thoroughly enjoyed our week-long camping trip to Fundy National Park. Prior to our trip, I was very nervous we weren’t going to have enough activities to keep our two-year old occupied. Soon after we arrived, we realized FUNdy is such a family-oriented Canadian national park.

Full-Time Mommy in Training, Present!

Interested in reading more? Here are our posts for our road trip across all fifty statesRVing at Jellystone Park in Woodstock; and hiking the Maliseet Trail.

Halloween in July

2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA

Days 2 – 4
Thursday, 7/12 – Sunday, 7/15

After our action-packed first day and our first time boondocking at the Cabela’s in Maine, we drove up north to Medway, where we had booked three nights at Katahdin Shadows Campground.

The last ten minutes of the ride, Kai was not having it:( hence the crying toddler pictured above.

What made it worse was that Michael had to check into the campground and get all of our paperwork. So Kai wanted to see Daddy. Poor kid.

I did turn on an episode of Dino Dana on our Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet and that helped a lot! Kai loves watching Dino Dana. That and Curious George are two shows that definitely keep him entertained.

Initially, we had planned this route because Michael and his guy friends were planning on hiking Mt. Katahdin on Saturday. His friends were supposed to drive up on Friday, camp that night and get an early start on the hike on Saturday, camp that night and leave Sunday.

I had found a family-friendly campground. They were having a Halloween-themed weekend, so I could bond with Kai and Stanley while Michael was away.

The week before our trip, his friends all backed out from hiking.

Guess that meant more family time! As you can imagine, Michael was overjoyed to spend HALLOWEEN weekend with us in JULY!

Katahdin Shadows Campground

Staff was very friendly!

Prior to our stay, we were fortunate enough to get a call back from the campground a few days before we arrived. We were on a waitlist for a 50 amp, pull-thru site with a sewer hookup. We ended up getting it. That was such wonderful news.

I did read a review about the check in area being fairly steep for a big rig to pull into. We had no problems. But it was nice to have a idea beforehand.

The sites were all fairly close together at this campground. The playground is such a wonderful area and since it was Halloween weekend, the campground was fully booked. That meant a lot of kids!

I would definitely recommend this campground to families with young kids with an RV. It gets loud, but it adds to the community and excitement of it all.

It surely isn’t for the older couple look for a nice relaxing and quite environment or the young couple looking for nature hiking and biking; unless you are simply going to Baxter State Park for the day.

One thing to note about Baxter State Park is that it is not dog-friendly.

The staff and people here were super friendly! There are a lot of seasonal campers here and what’s great is there are also cabin rentals and just regular tent sites. Those are more private and tucked away. So, if you are someone who doesn’t have an RV and enjoy tent camping, this campground offers a very different environment, away from the noise.

Getting settled

That first evening, we decided to get some essentials: food. We asked the staff and they informed us of a local market at the gas station right down the road from the campground. It was called the Big Apple Store. They had the essentials. So, we were very happy.

We decided to take the bikes with us! Before we had Kai, we had Stanley, our cairn terrier. When we got bicycles for us, we also invested in one of these InStep bicycle trailers so that our little pup, Stanley could ride with us:)

Now that we have Kai, he can ride in it while my husband pulls him. It’s so perfect when we have sort of a long distance to go but would rather take our bikes to get there a bit faster.

In this case, we needed to purchase a gallon of milk, drinkable water and some other groceries! And we just didn’t feel like driving because that’s all we had been doing for two whole days.

The bike trailer is able to seat two kids, so it was just enough space to fit Kai and all the groceries we purchased:)

Local summer festival

On Friday, we found out there was a little festival in town, not far from the campground. It was the East Millinocket Summerfest 2018.

It was definitely a small town festival, but it was nice to participate in a local community event.  There was live music, and Kai had fun at the bounce houses!

Stanley gets to rest in the Airstream while we go out:)

That weekend was fun. On Friday evening, we did a hayride with Kai around the campground. He loved being pulled by a large tractor. He loved playing with the kids at the playground!

Then on Saturday morning we brought Kai to an exercise trail about a half an hour south of the campground. It was in Lincoln, ME. We chose that particular trail due to its close proximity to Walmart. We had pre-ordered these truck mirror attachments, because Michael informed me that each state has different laws about having towing mirrors while we towed our trailer. Kai had fun on the trail.

We then went to a park with a playground and a beach at Mattanawcook Lake. Kai wanted to play with the older girls who were swinging, so we brought our lunch there and had a picnic.

That afternoon, we took Kai trick-or-treating on the campground after his nap. Michael and I took turns taking Kai and giving out candy.

On Sunday morning, we just ate pop-tarts, packed up, and were off to our next stop.

Interested in reading more about our first RV experience? Here are our posts for our first ever family RVing experience with our very first travel trailer and our first day of travel.

A Rookie’s Ride

2018 ROAD TRIP TO MAINE & CANADA

Day 1: Wednesday, July 11th

This was our very first real road trip with our brand-spanking new 2018 30′ Classic Airstream.

That morning we picked up a few last minute items from Walmart, ate lunch, and packed up the truck + RV for our 2.5 hour drive to Cabela’s in Scarborough, Maine. We had planned to boondock our first night out.

Camping Resource

RV Parky is just a great website resource to use to search for places to park your RV. We love using the app on our smartphones too. That’s how we discovered free overnight parking at Cabela’s! I did call the store beforehand, just to confirm before we got there. The store associate told me that the store doesn’t manage the parking but there are a lot of trailers and trucks that park there overnight and don’t get bothered. So, basically, they don’t want to be liable for anything = totally understandable!

After we got Kai and Stanley loaded into the truck, Kai was already NOT feeling it. He must have either been over-tired. The days leading up to the trip were fairly routine. Michael had lots of work to wrap up the week before and during the trip. So, I spent a great deal of time with Kai and Stanley. We got to bond a lot!

Michael was home on Friday morning, and Kai just wanted to spend all of his time bonding with daddy. It was hard for Michael to ‘get stuff done’. It just felt like it took forever to “get going”.

It had already been a long day.

To top it off, I get pre-departure jitters/anxiety. So the night before, I couldn’t get to bed. I think I stayed up until 2:30am.

Connection Problems

Yes, we were experienced at RVing, but this was a whole new beast!

Something was bound to GO WRONG. We just didn’t expect it to be so soon. The problem started before we even left.

After Michael hooked up the Airstream, we were trying to get our lights to connect so we could drive safely. The connection to our rearview camera was not working. And, we had preordered trailer cameras to be picked up while we were in Maine. So, we didn’t have those either.

We made a call to Pete’s RV in Plainville, MA. I explained to them that our lights weren’t hooking up properly and that we had just purchased the Airstream from Pete’s RV in Vermont. They said we could bring it on by. THANK GOD! They did inform us that their service department technicians leave at 4pm. At this point it was just after 2pm. So we got there around 2:45pm.

The wire was damaged. Most likely from the way it was sitting up against the sway bars/hitch. So, the connection wires were cut.

Thankfully, on our drive there, Kai fell asleep. Much needed nap indeed! We didn’t anticipate them taking a long time to fix because they just needed to replace the wire and hookup. They said they would only charge us for the wire and no labor, which was super nice!

It was 4pm, and Kai woke up. We still had about fifteen minutes before they packed up.

Unfortunately, the fixed wire didn’t resolve our connection issue. One of the other technicians came out and discovered our Ford F-150 had a blown fuse! We called the closest Ford dealership in Foxboro, MA. They didn’t carry it. The only place in the state of MA that had one in stock was located in Quincy, MA.

Michael ended up just taking another fuse from a different part of the truck and replacing that, temporarily. So we didn’t have power in our center console. It was definitely more important we fix the trailer rearview lights. They also control the running lights for the trailer. So we wouldn’t be able to drive safely at night without them on.

Phew, it was already 5pm. Now we were hungry again!  And, we had only made it to Foxboro, MA, from our home in Rhode Island!

Michael wanted to stop along the highway, but I just suggested we head to Olive Garden at Patriots Place, which was literally down the road. When I get over hungry, I get hANGRY.

Dinner hit the spot.

We left Foxboro, MA around 6:30pm, which was perfect because there was less traffic vs. during rush hour. Michael just kept on driving. We can cruise at 60mph comfortably while towing. We made a stop along the way so Kai could use the restroom. And, we have to find a parking lot large enough to accommodate the truck and travel trailer duo.

Arrival time: 9pm. Yay, we made it. And, it was time for bed. No shower for us that night. We had planned on it. Just had enough freshwater to brush our teeth, wash some hands, faces, and use the bathroom.

To be continued…

Interested in reading more about our first RV experience? Here are our posts for our first ever family RVing experience with our very first travel trailer, a 2018 Springdale Mini 1750RD by Keystone.