Destination: RV life in America!
Date: July & August 2014
Activities: Too many to list!
Well we are coming to a close of our six week RV trip across the Pacific Northwest! As I write this we are forty two miles from San Antonio. Of course this closure brings very mixed emotions. Am I excited to get out of the RV and back into my own bed? Sure that sounds great. Am I ready to leave behind these memories we’ve made and the camaraderie we’ve created? Not so much.
This truly has been a glorious summer. It started off with sending my oldest Colton on a mission to Ecuador in June. That was hard but something we’ve prepared for his whole life so ultimately it was very sweet to say goodbye to him as we dropped him off to the Mexico City Missionary Training Center on June 18th 2014. Then two days later I gave birth to my seventh child, Collins Matilda. And so the adventure began….
Three weeks later we were packed, baby Collins was found healthy and ready for travel so we took off the morning of July 12! We were all excited to “get this party started”. With six kids in tow, the RV was packed with kids, clothes, food, bikes, scooters, fishing poles, and more. The only thing we lacked was a vehicle to use at stops along the way. This would be remedied by picking up our Excursion we had been storing up in Utah. The only problem we had was that since it was a 4×4 we had to put it up on a trailer and pull that behind our already large RV. Once we had it loaded on a flatbed our entire rig was 68 feet long! This made for some pretty tight stops at RV parks up and down the western states. We learned quickly we should have traded our vehicle in for a smaller one that didn’t need a flatbed so we could more easily manage the small RV parks especially along the California coast.
I’ve learned a lot during this trip. For one my kids can be really hard workers. Yep I didn’t realize that RV life could teach them how to work. With eight of us living in such tight quarters that I refer to as living like a rubix cube we always had to clean. The RV gathers a lot of dust with three AC units blowing so often. So no matter where we were we took on a lot of dust. Add a drop of melted ice to the ground and soon that became a muddy spot. So with every stop we all had chores. Clay would run out and help Dad set up the sewer and water lines, Leah went straight to the bathroom to wipe it down, Bailey took the dog on a walk and took out the garbage, Lexi began sweeping and I usually started the next meal. It was hard at first, but soon became a rhythm that we all grew accustomed to during our six weeks on the road.
Another great bonus was the camaraderie we cultivated. Its not like we didn’t have good relationships before, but with only each other as friends we began hanging out more, talking more, and playing together more. No longer were we forced together because we soon really started to enjoy being together. Then of course there were the friendships we established along the way. Since we were always moving we decided to visit as many friends and family as we could on our way. The kids would meet a new friend and beg to stay another couple days only to get on the road and make another great friend.
I learned that people in RV parks can be fascinating. We met a lot of great people while on our adventure. Not many traveled with kids or at least as many kids as we had, but they all had interesting stories and it was fun to visit. For the most part many were friendly, helpful and made us feel at home where ever we decided to park for the night.
I can honestly say this has been one of my favorite trips I’ve taken with the kids. I think Trent agrees as well. Traveling is one of our passions. I like to write about the places we’ve been not to brag, but to show that it is possible, even with seven kids, traveling locally or abroad is important. We’ve loved seeing the world and all of the many glorious creations that God has made for us. Going on this RV trip gave us the opportunity to travel and strengthen relationships. It was so fun to visit my Aunts wheat farm I hadn’t been to since I was seven-years-old. It was great to see one of Trent’s childhood friends he hadn’t seen in almost twenty years. It was fun to make this trip about others and not just about what we could see or do.
I’m excited for our next RV adventure. This one wasn’t without its set backs, we had the trailer hitch bend and almost lost our flat bed on bumpy I-40 outside of Gallup New Mexico. Which made us get stuck there for 24 hours as we solved our problem with a local welder. But even that taught us patience and making the most out of a bad situation. It also made us give thanks to our Father in Heaven for protecting us from what could have been a very bad accident for ourselves or others. Yes, this RV trip has taught us plenty and I’m excited to see where it takes us the next time the kids get a break from school!!!
Safe and Happy Travels!