Poor, poor suckers.
Step One: Begin by going south instead of north. This will add approximately 2-3 extra hours of travel time to your day. Oh joy.
Step Two: Observe that your hard-shell cargo carrier appears to be break dancing on the roof. Pull over. Everything is tight. Continue driving at a snail's pace (still going south) to avoid losing all your camping gear along I-17. Stop at Auto Zone. Buy tie-downs. Breathe a sigh of relief. Roll back onto the freeway only to discover that the tie-down straps have an amazing musical ability when traveling at freeway speeds.* Decide sanity is optional. Pull over again. Wrap towels around the frickin' frackin' straps, and drive like the ghetto minivan family that you are. Bath towels wrapped around tie-downs, wrapped around a cargo carrier. It's gettin' real, folks.
Step Three: Disbelieve the toddler who vehemently swears she "really has to go". I don't even know why I have to explain this.**
Step Four: Well past the time you should have arrived at your first campsite, instead find yourself handing the nice State Trooper your license and registration and thanking him for the fix-it ticket.***
Step Five: Upon finally arriving at the campsite, throw the tent up in the dead of night, not bothering to stake it because you are operating on sheer mental fumes at this point. Logic and reason went to sleep hours ago. Obviously. But don't worry. After a few hours you'll be rested enough to realize your tent is blowing away and your children think they're halfway to the Land of Oz.
Step Six: Learn from your first night. Always stake the tent, but decide that the weather is beautiful. With nary a cloud in sight who needs a rainfly? Only people who don't appreciate drying off with bug-encrusted towels that have traveled 900 miles wrapped around screeching tie-downs.
To be continued...
*And by "musical" I mean something akin to a chorus of dying walruses with a screech owl thrown in the soprano section. Special.
**Toddler: 3 Pants: 0
***One look into our half-crazed, bloodshot eyes should have been cause enough to haul out the breathalyzer. If that didn't do it, the disgruntled tween who glared unblinkingly (think Children of the Corn, people) at him for shining a light in the backseat, or the other stupefied children in various stages of discombobulation oughtta been cause for at least a call for back-up. Jesus obviously cloaked our true appearance from him.