Open Road

Open Road

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Seriously? We're actually going on this trip? OR Cue Willie Nelson

# of times being asked "Are we there yet" = 7
# of times Katie lost her Kindle = 4

After a year of planning, worrying and preparing, we are officially underway!

The last minute preparations are done.  Harvey is packed to the gills.  Toad is still in one piece.  Duct tape is packed just in case. Thankful for all of that! Of course we had high expectations for an early departure, as in 7 am, Monday morning, but alas, that was not to be.  For those of you that know us well, you're totally not surprised by this.  We were blessed with so many friends and family stopping by to wish us well.  Seriously overwhelmed by all the love and support.

So, finally, we hit the road at 10:30 and realized we hadn't stopped at the ATM.  Picture our excited little family, in Harvey, pulling Toad which is piled high with bikes rather precariously, pulling into the bank.  A little jingle in our pocket and we're off.

Everybody's happy.  Kids are reading.  Jason's driving.  I'm napping in the front seat.  Life is good.

No trip would be complete without a stop for lunch at Redamak's in New Buffalo, MI.  Known for their burgers, Jack still insisted on reviewing the menu.  Seriously, Jack?  Always the funny one, he also decided to crawl inside a little firetruck designed to hold a 3-year-old.  Got stuck.  Will post the hilarious pictures once I find them!

A quick surprise stop in Chicago to visit my baby sister and her family.  We called her from the road asking if she was home - then told her we were five minutes away.  Surprise!  Can't imagine what her neighbors thought when we pulled in!

Our first night was just outside of Milwaukee, and a beautiful State Forest campground.  It used to be the largest prairie east of the Mississippi River until development began.  Private, beautiful, quiet.  Just what we like.  Of course then we started playing Apples to Apples and were laughing so hard we probably scared everyone away!  We're loud people.  Can't help it.

Before setting out on Tuesday morning, Katie and Jason went for a quick jog and watched a bee collect pollen on a flower.  Now, that was something that would NEVER have happened at home.  Later, Katie told Jack that the two of them should "unplug" for a while.  Mom and Dad SCORE!

And since this is a family trip, we had to make our first real trip stop at a brewery.  Nice, huh?  Jack kept complaining that this was NOT appropriate, but hey, we learned a few things and had some samples at the end.  All good!

Minneapolis was our destination last night and were so happy to see our dear friends, the Britts.  Their cul-de-sac is serving as our campground!  You know those friends that you don't see for a few years but still pick up right where you left off when you reconnect?  Yes, those are the Britts.  So blessed to spend time with them.

The big job for today is buying a new bike rack.  The one currently on Toad just isn't going to survive 12,000 miles.  Jason and our friend David are off looking for one that bolts to the bumper of the motorhome.  I see an afternoon of laughs in our future watching these two put it on.  Someone is going to lose a finger.

Finally, a big welcome to those of you new to our blog.  You're in for a wild ride.  There is nothing boring about our family, our trip, or our adventures.  Would love your feedback on places to go, things to do and advice on how to survive 10 weeks in a tin can.  A big shout out to the Grand Rapids Press for the amazing article Justin Hicks wrote about our family.  And, another shout out to the ABC show The Chew.  They taped a segment yesterday about all this craziness and it is scheduled to air on July 1st.  We had no idea that this adventure would get this kind of attention.  I guess we better make this trip memorable and inspirational for all of you out there.  Expectations are high! Also, a big hello to Mrs. Fleckenstein's class.  We hope you have fun learning about all the wonderful places our country has to offer.  Please comment any time.  We'd love to hear from you.

The kids are begging to use the MacBook now that we have Wi-Fi, so I'll sign off.  They may start posting here also.  Sure to be hilarious.  Hope they aren't keeping track of how many times I complain.


  1. Love the updates! Keep 'em coming. How cool that you guys are becoming celebrities because of this. You'll probably end up sharing way more than you ever intended, and that should be interesting.

    Where are you headed next?

    Still haven't seen a picture of Toad btw....

  2. Enjoying your trip vicariously!! Be safe, stay healthy, and just have a good time!!!