Commentary (Josh)

We have made it to Plainwell, MI where we will be staying with my cousin Shaunna for the Labor Day holiday weekend.  We have enjoyed our journey so far, but I am glad that we have parked the motor home for 5 days and we have the opportunity to be in one place for an extended time.  Last night Mel and I slept inside a house for the first time since we began our trip.  My Aunt Teri and Uncle Ron visited last night and we enjoyed a steak and potato dinner as a family.  So very refreshing to rest and relax after a very aggressive month of traveling.

In this post I would like to share some very general observations and thoughts about our trip so far.

Though we all are missing our friends, family and our old lifestyle back home, we are all doing very well and adjusting to the change.  I am glad to report that no one has had a nervous breakdown, gone AWOL, or has, in any way, completely regretted our decision to embark on our road trip.

We traveled over 4,000 miles in one month, driving through 8 states while visiting 9 national parks along the way. Wow!!!  Very fun, educational, awe inspiring, and exhausting.  Our goal this month was to visit the national parks along our route while making it to the East Coast at the beginning of the fall.  Mel has been really excited to travel around New England and the East Coast during the fall to see the “Fall Foliage Colors.”  To achieve this goal we needed to travel the mileage we did this month to get there in time.  Once we make it to the East Coast we plan on slowing down our driving significantly.  In planning our trip, I estimated we would travel 15,000 – 20,000 miles in 10 months or 1,500 – 2,000 ave. miles per month.  We have covered over twice as many miles as my estimated monthly average, so I am excited to think about spending less time behind the wheel and more time exploring on foot or relaxing in the parks.   I also hope that we will have more time and better internet access to post on the blog more consistently.

This last month has felt very much like summer vacation- Staying up late, no school, and no routine.  Now that the “school year” has begun I am hoping we will establish a much more regimented traveling life style.  Hopefully a consistent bedtime, a “school time” routine, and a more predictable daily lifestyle with less driving.  Traveling like this reminds me of my longing to have long periods of quiet time to myself to think, reflect, and write.  As a natural introvert, I seek time alone to recharge.  This last mouth I have had little of that and much less than I am normally accustomed to.  I did realize going into this trip that this would be one of my challenges to overcome.  I am sure I will continue to struggle with my desire for more alone time.  I will make an effort to keep you all informed with how well (or not) I am handling this desire.

Last month we only stayed with friends and family for 4 nights out of 31.  This was mostly because we have been aggressively covering ground and have not stayed in one place very long.  Also, because of our desire to see the national parks (13 nights in the parks out of 31), visiting with friends and relatives has not been a focus this month.  As we begin our travels down the East Coast we expect to spend more time with those we know.  I hope this will help us to feel more connected as we continue our journey.

As Mel and I planned our trip, we decided that visiting all the 48 lower states was NOT our top priority, and that driving past some states for the sake of traveling where we wanted to most, was of highest value.  In keeping with this priority, we have driven passed N. Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois without touching foot or wheel within these state’s borders.  We hope to visit as many states as we can, but again, this is not our top priority.


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