Weekend Wanderer: A Holiday Travel List of a Different Sort

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Under normal circumstances, I need very little prep to go to our cabin. Long ago, I stocked the cabin with necessities, to minimize how much I need to pack.

A tour through the cabin will find the kitchen stocked with cookies, the bedroom hosting a romance novel, the bathroom supplied with concealer. ALl these are on my travel list.

Yes. I wear makeup at the cabin. I could skip it, I suppose. You don’t get visitors dropping by unannounced when your cabin is on a mountain, in the woods, in the middle of the state.

I wear makeup because going without is a complete capitulation to the wilds of the cabin. Forego the eye shadow and the cabin might as well be the island in Lord of the Flies.

But with our cabin Thanksgiving on, packing shifted to a different level. Living at the cabin longer than my usual weekend – and actually doing some cooking besides Bisquick pancakes – meant I had to up my planning.

During this packing chaos, every news outlet suggested tips and tricks for holiday travel.

The chief thing I noticed was the lack of snakes on these how-to holiday travel lists.

That’s a mistake.

Your primary concern when traveling to the cabin is snakes. Just ask the rattlesnake – with the decapitated rattle – that limped past my car a few weeks ago.

 What else were those lists failing to consider? Let’s take a look.

1. Air Travel

Last week, NPR published a rather alarming article on the problems with flying in a quasi-pandemic world.

Lucky for us, flying isn’t an option at the cabin.

There is an airport down the road from the cabin. It’s called Bendigo Airport. I’m pretty sure it’s a scam or it takes you to Jumanji. The airport doesn’t have a website, and when I plugged it into Travelocity, I was taken to Minnesota. So knowing you can’t fly, you’ll have to …

2. Plan Early

These next few suggestions came from The New York Times. I’m a planner, so I can get behind this recommendation. That being said, nothing prepares you for showering with weird bugs that look like black worms. Moving on.

3. Adaptability is Key

A few days at the cabin is an exercise in adaptability. For example, all food at the cabin is stored in the fridge so the mice can’t eat it. And leave the peanut butter alone. It’s for the mouse traps.

No trash pickup means you’ll have to bring your garbage home. I suggest going to the cabin with my father-in-law, who usually takes all the trash in his car. He’s quiet and low maintenance, a dream for traveling.

Unlike myself.

4. Expect Curbed Access to Services

Did you read the part about no trash pickup?

Also, the TV doesn’t get ABC. Spending a few days without Good Morning America hardly seems in line with the spirit of the holidays.

5. Keep It Chill

USA Today has a few suggestions on sundries for travel. First up are two items for keeping things fresh: a water bottle and a cooler.

Let’s talk about the water at the cabin a moment.

Tap water at the cabin comes from a well. It is iron-rich, totally potable, and not at all palatable.

Luckily, a stream runs near the cabin. We take old gallon jugs to the stream to gather this water for drinking.

When I say “we,” I mean my husband and father-in-law. I don’t get the water because of snakes. If it was up to me, we’d die of thirst.

Also, the coolers at the cabin probably held raw venison last week. If you want to stick your toaster waffles in there, be my guest.

6. Go Screen-Free

Pretty much a professional here. You haven’t lived until you’ve explained to a four-year-old that Netflix doesn’t work at the cabin. We keep a supply of board games, some of which my kids believe only exist at the cabin.

It’s just better that way.

7. Get Comfortable

USA Today recommends you travel with a neck pillow and warm blanket.

We’ve literally got you covered.

Our pillows are older than me and quite flat. The blankets – “borrowed” from the military in World War II – are stiff and scratchy.

And somehow, sleeping at the cabin is the deepest sleep you’ll ever have. It’s like you had a big meal, then a massage then got lucky. It’s that deep.

And just so we’re clear, I don’t get lucky at the cabin. There’s no way I’m putting my skin against anything at the cabin. I don’t even get fully undressed for a shower.

So now you know how to travel to the cabin for the holidays, with an appropriate travel list. I’m here. I’ll help you adjust.

But if we see a snake, you’re on your own.