Crystal Cove packing list

The art of the schlep

August 23, 2021

Photo Credit: Carol Madigan

Everything for Crystal Cove weekend
It looks less than it is

   I asked Carol to take pictures of the prepacked piles of supplies she had staged throughout the house for our upcoming three-day getaway to Crystal Cove State Park. She refused, so I can’t show you how well prepared we were both for our getaway and maybe just one pile short for an assault on Mt. Everest.

   Now in her defense, Crystal Cove offers renovated 1930s style cottages at 2020s prices. There’s no working kitchen, which means if you want to eat in, you’ve got to schlep all the ingredients, plus a propane grill to cook it on. What continues to amaze me is what you have to carry in just to have hot dogs, hamburgers and maybe a pasta entree.

   Carol works from a packing list developed by a daughter who apparently derived it from James Madison’s notes on the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. (Had Madison drafted a Right to Ground Mustard, he would have matched Carol’s anticipation of all possible necessities for this three-day vacation.)

Lacking NASA’s expertise for packing a LEM for a moon landing, Carol’s pack out for Crystal Cove more resembled the Joad family, also once heading for a California destination like ours.

porch at Crystal Cove
And why so much to do so little

   Lacking NASA’s expertise for packing a LEM for a moon landing, Carol’s pack out for Crystal Cove more resembled the Joad family, also once heading for a California destination like ours. (It might be instructive here to remind readers of my one-time plan to pack everything I’d need for a solo train trip throughout Europe, including underwear, into a vest I’d wear around my torso like bulletproof gear.) My sympathies with the homeless rest squarely with what they have to daily haul under those blue tarps of theirs. (Should their economic situation ever reverse itself, I heartily recommend them to schlep a Crystal Cove respite. It’ll be a piece of cake for them, comparably speaking.)

breakfast on the beach
Bacon, eggs, English muffin and mimosas to start the day right

   The fact that there is a shuttle from the check in to the cottage does not mitigate the fact you have to unpack everything you’ve packed in your van into the shuttle, and then unpack it again when you’re arrived at your cottage. (By this time you will feel as if you’ve helped a set of triplets move into their college dorm.)

   All this is by way of saying there’s almost no way Carol (notice, significantly, my name missing from this section) had managed to forget any item of necessity. ( We’d packed two types of corkscrews, which demonstrates the level of attention given to critical item planning.)

Sunset at Crystal Cove
The whole reason for the schlep

   It was when Carol had completed making the guacamole ( Yes, she’d remembered the lime and cilantro) that she looked forlornly at me and said, “I forgot the saran wrap.”

   I was nonplussed. Forgetting to pack saran wrap to cover the guacamole on a coastal cottage adventure was tantamount to realizing you’ve forgotten to pack a backup oxygen tank in the middle of climbing K-2. (Or so it struck me, since I was already off the hook for any of the pre-packing responsibilities, having been told to find a baseball game to watch when Carol started pulling out the suitcases, plastic crates and coolers.)

   The object lesson to learn here is that if you’re planning a trip and your companion is Reid, there’s only one thing you can leave behind that won’t be missed.


In case you missed our last trip to Crystal Cove – check it out HERE!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.