We have dreamed, talked and planned for nearly 17 years for an RV trip out west! My husband is the adventurer, I am the cautious planner. Since we began homeschooling 7 years ago, we hoped to have the flexibility to travel more. Life gets in the way sometimes. Providing for a family, running 3 small businesses, and other commitments and schedules seem to take precedence over adventure.
We are walking through several changes in our family and business.
My husband became a pastor.
Our oldest will go back into public high school in August.
We hired a fabulous office manager, who takes over the business, scheduling and other duties so that my husband can take a break! We are immensely thankful that the Lord provided her!
Over the winter, when we made the decision for our oldest to re-enter public school, we decided to take the trip!
Say “Yes” to the adventure!
Go for it!
We began to look at our options! Our dream had been to travel across the country in an RV.
We don’t own an RV!
We decided to pursue purchasing one, though. We explored our options, looked at different models of campers and RV’s. After weighing the possibilities, we came to the conclusion that we simply do not have the time to use a camper or RV on a regular basis. Definitely not enough to justify the cost.
The next option we considered was to drive in our van and stay in hotels and lodges.
Somehow, this just doesn’t seem like as much of an adventure for us. I looked into cost and functionality for this option. We have 6 people in our family, so lugging the necessities for a long road trip in a Honda Odyssey didn’t seem like the best option.
Another problem, my husband wanted to camp. Who goes to the National parks and doesn’t camp?
Truth be told, I don’t love camping. I camp because my family loves to camp. Camping with 6 people for 2 weeks out of a mini van wasn’t working for me!
The last option was to rent an RV. We didn’t know of anyone that had taken this option. I did a search of rental RV outlets and found one closest to us. The one we found was Cruise America.
I had calculated the cost of staying in hotels and lodges.
We had ruled out purchasing our own RV.
This rental option was the last hope…for me anyway! This was the compromise we needed, because my husband was set on camping. I was determined not to camp out of a minivan!
We booked a 30 foot RV, which would sleep 7 and began planning the trip!
It’s not easy planning a road trip to places you know nothing about!
Booking campgrounds not knowing if their bath house was acceptable.
I mapped out the trip!
Our older boys wanted to visit the Four Corners Monument. So, we planned to stop there first.
The second stop would be the Grand Canyon.
Then, we would visit Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, the Young Living Lavender farm in Mona, Utah (my treat for the trip), Arches National Park and, finally, Canyonlands National Park.
I booked campgrounds for each of the main stays on our trip, leaving the traveling days open. We had no idea how far we would travel each day, so booking a campground for travel days was impossible.
We left for our adventure on Monday morning, May 22. We left Georgia, drove through Alabama, Mississippi into Tennessee and Arkansas.
My navigational skills are bad! Just really bad! I struggle navigating even with GPS. So, late…late Monday night, we decided to stop in Oklahoma at a KOA in Checotah.
Using my phone, I navigated us right into downtown Checotah (the home of Carrie Underwood). It’s a cute town.
My husband is the map reading, navigational expert of the family and decided I was leading us astray. The almost 15 year old agreed. We were on the wrong exit.
We turned around, heading back for the interstate. As we approached a low-lit gas station, we see blue lights behind us.
The nice officer pulled us over to inform us that we had no tail lights.
He never asked for license or insurance.
He simply suggested we ride with flashers on until we could remedy the problem and let us continue.
The teenager navigated us to the Checotah KOA.
We settled in around 10:30 pm. This KOA was near the interstate but remote and quiet.
KOA’s are a fantastic option for traveling. Most even have small cabins available for rent for those traveling without a camper. The bath houses, probably the most important part of a camping trip for me, are almost always clean and well-kept!
The next morning, we got on the road bright and early. Our next stop would be the KOA in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. I would love to visit Albuquerque again. It is a beautiful town.
The third day of our trip, we would visit the Four Corners Monument and arrive at the Grand Canyon. This drive, from Albuquerque, was extremely remote. I couldn’t help but think what it would be like to live in this area of our beautiful country, so far from an actual town. Many houses are far from even the closest neighbor.
We finally made it to the Four Corners.
Native Americans sell items like necklaces, magnets, dream catchers and t shirts around the monument.
Of course, the boys had to plank in four states at once.
Our next stop, the Grand Canyon. This is our third day of driving and close to 1600 miles.
We arrived near sunset at the Grand Canyon, South Rim.
These young elk were grazing very near the entrance gate.
We purchased a one-year pass to the National Parks for $80. The cost just to enter the Grand Canyon would have been $30. The pass is a great value, considering that we were visiting 6 National Parks on this trip.
Normally, the ranger should have asked for an identification with the purchase, but she was distracted by a man exiting his car just ahead of us to take a selfie with the elk.
We continued on to the first view point. Sunset was an amazing time to be introduced to these views!!
After a time of amazement and awe at God’s beautiful, spectacular creation, we continued on to the campground inside the park.
We arrived at approximately 10:30 pm. The lady at check-in asked for photo identification, aka drivers license, from my husband to verify the reservation.
He came back to the RV, where we were waiting patiently.
He didn’t have his drivers license.
Not in his wallet.
Not in his pocket.
We scoured the RV, suitcases, everywhere!
Was it stolen?
Did he leave it at another campground or at a gas station?
None of those seemed to be the answer.
Who drives across the country without a drivers license? I had prayed a lot over this trip, for safety, that no one would fall off a cliff, that we would have safe travels, that no one would get sick, the normal “mom” things to pray. Now, I was praying for my husband to be able to drive us around Utah and back to Georgia without his drivers license.
No one had asked for his identification, not even the nice officer in Checotah, Oklahoma a few days before!
This was the end of our third day!
The next day, day four, we explore the Grand Canyon and move on to Zion National Park.