I know that we’ve been back for a couple months now and I already published the blog post about when we returned home, but I felt like our trip needed a “conclusion” post. So here it is….
Lance and I are so thankful that we were able to do this with our kids, we recognize that it was a huge gift and we feel so blessed that it all came together. I know that I have many great memories that I hope I always remember from this trip…..watching our kids play hide and seek among the giant redwood trees in northern California, watching the sun set through the eye of the needle on Needles highway in South Dakota, hiking with our extended family in gorgeous Colorado, being a witness to Sam having one of his best days ever when we rode on the swamp boat and held an alligator, watching all of our kids explore the tide pools along the coast of Maine and yelling “New State” every time we crossed into uncharted territory just to name a few! Our family grew closer together over this last year and there were lots of times that the only kids they had to play with were their brothers and sisters. They played games, built campfires, fought (sometimes it seemed like constantly), imagined together and explored this great country together. Don’t get me wrong….we also had plenty of times that we were completely sick of each other and just wanted a little (or A LOT of) space, but the close quarters were worth it and I’m so glad we got to go on this journey together.
I hope that when our kids are older they will have fun reminiscing with each other about this trip and help each other remember what they learned and how much fun they had. I know that I learned that this country is bigger and even more amazing than I had imagined it to be. I loved driving through the small towns and countryside….Lance would often get off the highway and take the back roads just so we could get a better feel for the area we were in and I really enjoyed that.
I asked each member of our family what their favorite state was and why….here are the results.
Lance—Colorado because of the nature we saw and the hiking we did and Florida because of the sunshine and beautiful weather we had
Lance and I in a beautiful meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Joe—Colorado because of the climbing (Mount Garfield with Uncle Ben in Grand Junction) and hiking we did
Joe with his Uncle Ben after making it to the top of Mount Garfield in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Abby—New York, specifically New York City because of the busyness of the city and our afternoon carriage ride after stopping for a treat at Sprinkles Cupcakes
Abby, Joe, Elise and me all ready for our carriage ride through Central Park in New York City.
Sam—Colorado because of the hiking and finding cool rocks with Uncle Ben and Arkansas because of the Crater of Diamonds State park where he loved looking for diamonds
Sam holding an alligator while on a swamp boat ride in Louisiana.
Elise—Kansas (yes, I even asked her “are you sure??”) because of the fun we had in Kansas City at the Hallmark Center and the fun musical fountains outside
Elise, Abby, Ben and Sam watching the musical fountains in Kansas City.
Ben and Rose couldn’t really give me an answer to my question, but I think I can answer for Ben–his favorite place would be anywhere that he could get down and RUN. Being in the stroller and seeing museums and big cities is definitely not his thing! Rose sure did love being on the beach whether that was in California or Florida. Both of those two will just need to look at the pictures in the years to come and take our word for it when we tell them “remember when we went (—-) in (—-)?”
A mischievous Ben while we were exploring Glacier National Park.
Rose and Joe enjoying the crystal clear water at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys.
And as for me….it was very hard for me to pick, but I think I can narrow it down to two. I loved our time in Washington. I had never been there before so it was completely new to me. I loved the thick, mossy rainforests, the snowcapped mountains and the gorgeous coastline. I also really loved Florida; I think I could live there! There’s no shortage of sunshine there (and being from Michigan that’s something you notice!) and I loved our time in the Keys…..I don’t think I could ever get tired of the beaches and aqua blue water.
Lance, Rose and me on our hike through the rain forest in Olympia National Park, Washington.
Now we are back home and it feels GREAT! We are finished with all of the unpacking and the camper is empty and cleaned. We are back to the land of home projects, playdates, sport and school activities, friends and family. It’s a good thing and we are excited to jump back in, but there are already days that I think back on our trip and fondly remember when it was just us on a fabulous adventure….on the road without the distractions of daily life and exploring America together.
Who knows…..maybe we will do it again someday…….