Van Life: Our Journey To Michigan In Our 1999 Ford Van

The preparation for our two week journey started with a trip to AAA. With all the technology that we are afforded with, Anita and I still like to have paper maps with us when we travel. It is also a great opportunity to open those maps up and show the kids the route that we are going to take. If you didn’t know, a yearly membership with AAA allows you to visit one of their many stores to grab all the maps and travel info that you want. Free of charge.

We also took a trip to the local library to grab some books on Michigan and all the wonderful things that the state has to offer. I think people get so hung up on purchasing new things that they forget that there are a lot of resources out there that can save you money.

After returning home we grabbed a cup of coffee and spread the maps and books across our bed. The research and the planning is one of the best parts of traveling. The anticipation and excitement of planning and mapping out a trip is all part of the experience and we love to get our kids involved in the action. It took us several weeks to really map out all of our stops, our lodging (campgrounds), and all the activities that we wanted to try and do. A piece of advice for everyone would be to book your campground early. Campgrounds tend to book almost a year in advance in certain spots. There were actually several places that we had to take our second choice because they were all filled up.

Our trip was set to take us up the west coast of Michigan. We had originally planned to cruise all the way to the Upper Peninsula but we didn’t want to be rushed. We are also taking our newly acquired 1999 Ford E-150 conversion van on the trip. We have taken her on several local test runs to prepare for this trip but with a 20 year old vehicle you just never know. We have made some upgrades to include: a roof rack with basket, new spare tire, pulled out an extra seat to make more room, cup holders (that actually hold cups), and a portable A/C unit.

So after a few weeks of planning our trip was taking us from Ohio to: Grand Haven, Petoskey, Traverse City, and then back to Grand Haven. Obviously with lots of adventures in between.

I think packing for 2 adults, 3 children, and a dog for two weeks in a van and tent is probably the most difficult part of the trip. There is only so much room but that can wait for the next post.

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