An Ode to the US Government

There are a lot of reasons to be cynical about the US government right now (and we’re definitely cynical about it!) This post is not about that. Our travels across the country have given us a greater appreciation for many of the things the government is doing right. Here’s a list of the some government institutions we now love even more.

The Road and Highway System

We’ve been able to travel almost 30,000 miles in 9 months to some incredible places. It literally would not have been possible without the roads and highways. Thanks to all of the construction workers, civil engineers, and city planners than work hard to make sure we can all get around.

The National Park Service

Human beings don’t have a great history of thinking long-term about the environment. The National Park System is not one of those instances. The foresight of people like John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Marjory Stoneman Douglass, and so many others is something we can still learn from today. We have so many awe-inspiring places in this country with countless people working hard to “preserve and protect” the natural wonders of this world. Visiting the National Parks with children has given us an even greater appreciation for these parks – the Junior Ranger programs, visitor centers, and ranger classes have taught our entire family so much about the natural world and the importance of preserving it for generations to come.

State, County, and Army Corps of Engineers Parks

There are lots of awesome government-run campgrounds all across the country (plus tons of public land with free dispersed camping). We’ve been especially pleased with the affordability of the Army Corps of Engineers parks. While not quite as “glamorous” as the National Parks, these parks provide great opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature, have a barbecue with family or friends, or spend an evening camping under the stars.

The Affordable Care Act

We were a bit nervous about health insurance when we decided to quit our jobs and travel the country. It turns out the ACA is amazing! We were able to get quality, affordable health insurance in a process that’s way more convenient and easy to understand than it used to be. (Although our great experience with the ER in Canada reminded us that the US still has a long ways to go!)

The United States Postal Service

Did you know you can receive an email every day with scanned images of the pieces of mail that will be coming that day? We didn’t! Kimberlee’s mother has been kind enough to check our mail for us while on the road, and this feature has been great for helping us keep an eye out for important pieces of mail. Not to mention that there’s a post office practically everywhere that makes it easy and affordable to send and receive mail.

Public Libraries
In addition to checking out ebooks and audiobooks with the click of a button, libraries have also been a great place to do some work while on the road (free wifi!) Every time we’ve been amazed at how many people are using the libraries – they’ve been packed! Of course we’ve seen lots of people checking out books, but we’ve also seen students studying or working on group projects, people of all ages using the computers (including using them to look for and apply to jobs), and some incredible librarians who seem like they’re working multiple jobs at once as teacher, researcher, social worker, IT support person, customer service rep, oh and librarian as well.

Our country still has a long ways to go to achieve the ideals upon which it was founded. However, these institutions give us hope, help temper our cynicism a bit, make us glad to pay taxes, and motivate us as we strive to form a more perfect union.

February, March, and April on the Road

Wow. It’s hard to believe we’ve now been on the road for a little over 6 months! Here’s a few numbers and a bunch of photos to capture some of our adventures from the past 3 months.

The Numbers

  • 8,913 miles traveled
  • 13 National parks/monuments visited
  • 25 friends/family members seen
  • 3 oil changes and 1 new transmission

The Photos

February began with a quick trip into Mexico – the pastries were a big hit!

Checking out the sights at Big Bend National Park.

These two did an awesome job on a 4-mile hike with a significant incline! (Perhaps bribed by candy every 5 minutes…)

Working on their Junior Ranger books at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Hiking at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Quintin turned 5 in February! He wanted a robot cake!

We also surprised him with a Lightning McQueen piñata we picked up while in Mexico (and had to hide in the truck for 2 weeks)

Hot springs!

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument

Sledding down the dunes at White Sands National Monument.

What happens when it gets too cold to camp? HOTEL TIME!

Salvation Mountain – what a crazy, incredible, WEIRD work of art!

“East Jesus” – it’s like a Mad Max film crossed with an art gallery.

What happens when all of the campgrounds are full at Joshua Tree National Park? You get to camp here.

Climbing around on the rocks at Joshua Tree National Park.

Taking the Junior Ranger oath.

Death Valley National Park.


Sequoia National Park.



We’ve visited LOTS of children’s museums on the trip. Somehow a pit of sand is always more interesting than any of the fancy exhibits.

San Diego Zoo.


Easter Sunday at one of the many churches we’ve been visiting along the journey. The child-to-egg ratio here was Quintin and Eliza approved.

Nemo and Dory.

DISNEYLAND!!!


This is what 3 days at Disneyland did to these two.

After Southern California, we started making our way up the coast. We camped not too far from this spot!


Pinnacles National Park – working on another Junior Ranger book.

An elephant seal rookery. SO MANY SEALS!

Hiking to a waterfall at Limekiln State Park along the Big Sur coastline in California. Beautiful place.

Photos from our January Journey

In January  we set off on the western section of our adventure! Here’s some photos from our January Journey!

Fun in the snow!

Thankfully we didn’t have to do TOO much digging out of the trailer

Reading stories with Papa was a favorite activity – especially “The Book with No Pictures”

Eliza loves the animals wherever we go!

The road south

It was too cold to camp until we got to Texas, so we spent a few days in hotels (also recovering from the stomach flu!)

Eliza got some awesome new thrift store boots in Oklahoma!

A REALLY COOL children’s museum in Oklahoma!

We had a wonderful visit with Kimberlee’s aunt and uncle in Texas!

A visit to see real dinosaur footprints

Keeping an eye out for more footprints

#strongwomen

A visit to the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, TX!

The kids had a great time with their (second) cousins!

A visit to NASA was INCREDIBLE!

The best waffles we’ve ever eaten!

Chocolate and vanilla ice cream will make any waffles delicious!

Cousins checking out the fish

Taking a hike on a Texas ranch

One Month on the Road – An Infographic

We just passed the one-month mark of our adventure! That means it’s time for an infographic! (with a written update following the infographic)

It was a pretty hectic start to our adventure as we tried to move everything out of our house and prepare our new “houses wheels” for the journey ahead.

Since the actual house was FINALLY set to close (and we were feeling pretty confident about it), we decided to sign all of the paperwork early and hit the road a little over a week before the close. Silly us. Just three days before the closing, we got news that our buyers’ house sale fell through.

After several days of stress, we decided to continue on our adventure at least through Christmas as planned rather than coming back to an empty house. Unfortunately, this meant that free evenings had to be spent doing a bunch more web design work to pay the mortgage rather than writing new blog posts 🙂

A couple weeks later, our buyers were able to find a new buyer for their home! We’re now set to hopefully close (for real) at the end of December so we can continue our journey in the new year.

While the updates here will continue to be sparse over the next month, Kimberlee’s been slightly more successful keeping our Instagram account updated. Until next time – happy holidays!

It’s actually happening!!!

Woohoo!!!! It’s almost time for our departure!! After a bunch of unexpected setbacks, we’ve finally reached the official launch date for our adventure! On Tuesday, October 24, we will set off on this crazy trip of a lifetime!

The truck has been fixed, the house is set to close (fingers crossed!), and we’re now cleaning out the final remnants of the house while trying to pack everything we think we might need without over-packing too many things we won’t.

Since we want to finish our travels in time for Quintin to start kindergarten next fall, we’ve modified the route and will now be on the road for 9 months instead of the original year (Maine – I won’t be seeing you this time, but I’m still coming for you one of these autumns!)

We’ve updated the travel plan on the website and will be marking our progress as we go, as well as posting blog posts and instagram photos more regularly once we hit the road. Don’t forget to let us know if you want to see us along the way!

One last campfire at our house before we depart!