Saturday, July 12, 2008

our amazing trip day 22

Last night we met up with Alex and Kathleen in Phoenix, Arizona. Seeing them on the last leg of our journey was wonderful. They had a birthday party for Henry ...

And they gave us the chance to have a nice quiet breakfast alone while they took the children swimming in the hotel pool where we all stayed.

When you consider a year ago, Alex was struggling for life after taking a terrible fall in Costa Rica, it is nothing short of a miracle that a year later - he is the Gold Medal winner for the 50 yard free style, and has just landed a spot on the National Senior Olympic team. That we should all be as healthy and full of life at 80-years old!

It was so good to see them both.

Three weeks ago we left on this whirlwind cross-country trip and today 6,772 miles later, as we are making our way home on I-8, I'm reflecting on our adventure.

We have covered a lot of ground in 21 days. We have taken a lot of pictures, watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, studied a lot of maps and filled up at a lot of gas stations.

We have sung "God Bless America" countless times and said at least as many times how cool it is to be doing this drive with our children.

We have had deep discussions over how the drivers in Nebraska are the most polite in the country, how many apples we've consumed in our lifetime, how many Starbucks there are, and thoughts on immigration.

We have determined that traveling gives you a whole new respect for the world and mankind. It seems that day to day life has a way of making you forget that there is a much greater world, beyond your neighborhood.

We have thought about what brought people to this country and to the location where they live.

We have thought about the mail routes that are in remote locations and how $0.42 for a stamp is the best deal around.

We have marveled at how many fences there are ...

And the labor that takes to build and maintain them.

We have drove from a point below mean sea level to a point 12,000 feet above mean sea level...

...and crossed the Continental Divide twice.

We have pondered the construction involved in creating the stone walls of New England...

And speculated how old some of them really are.

We have been amazed by how the Colorado River travels such a great distance, covers such a vast amount of land, and yet is a primary component of the drinking water infrastructure for the Southwestern United States.

We have gained a deep respect for the early pioneers and settlers that made their way across this country...

The farmers that grow and harvest crops ...

The people that maintain the thousands of miles of medians on our highways ...

And for the engineers and workers that have designed and constructed roads...

... tunnels...

... tunnels ...

... and tunnels...

... bridges...

... railroads...

... and tapped in to various forms of energy ...

... to sustain civilization.

We have been amazed at the trains that crisscross the country...

And how trucks ...

... and trains are critical for distributing goods everywhere.

We have marveled at the changing landscape.

The green forests of the east...

... and the beautiful deserts of the west.

We have considered how life can find a way to survive...

Despite the most extreme conditions.

We have eaten a lot of continental breakfasts ...

... a lot of (messy) snacks ...

... swam in a lot of pools ...

... slept in a lot of beds ...

... cozy sleeping bags ...

... and car seats.

We have checked e-mail and had conference calls from the road ...

We have seen beautiful cumulus clouds ...

... and had our toenails painted.

But mostly, we have had the opportunity to see the country as a family, spend some time away from the "real world", and connect as a couple.

This trip was everything we thought it would be.

... and more.


  1. You have an amazing outlook on this trip. Thanks for sharing all the nitty, gritty details and letting us live vicariously through you.

    How many states did you guys wind up driving in?

  2. Karen in Buffalo7/12/08, 8:29 PM

    Bravo to you all for doing this and for sharing it with us! I hope you have arrived safely home.
    Love the photo of William and Henry holding hands in the car seats!
    Sleep well tonight!

  3. Thanks for taking us on the trip with you! You are certainly an inspiration to anyone thinking about just picking up and going!

  4. Thanks for sharing your amazing trip! What next?!?

  5. Gosh, Jen. After reading this beautiful adventure, I'm considering begging you to rear my children. Well, just child so far but you know...

    William and Henry holding hands melted my heart.

  6. Oh man, for some reason this brought tears to my eyes. Now I want to tour the whole country! And to think, you did all of this on a whim.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful trip with us. Simply delightful.

  7. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing. It sounded amazing, and is inspiration for anyone thinking about travelling with kids on any scale.
    Is there an easy way to show those of us on the other side of the world exactly what your route was, to give us a better idea of just where you went??

  8. What a trip! You guys are so brave!

  9. Beautiful pictures! I'm glad that the trip went so well for all of you. Thank you for documenting it all for us. I loved every minute of "our" crosscountry road trip!

  10. YEAH! Glad your almost home.

    You've inspired Reiner!!!!

    He and I just read your journey...
    (he's still hooked on Henry) ;-)

    Enjoy your beds! Love, Marg.

  11. OK... Now upload your blog into and make a book out of your amazing journey!

  12. That was a truly amazing post, from a truly amazing trip! You are so gifted with such a unique (especially in today's world) perspective on life, family, our world, etc. I love hearing it. Keep writing...thanks for sharing your family with us. Glad you back...

  13. I'm so happy you did this trip. We live in such a great country. This was so much fun and thank you for taking us with you.

  14. What a wonderful post Jen. It was so sweet, romantic, enchanting and inspiring.

  15. Welcome home---there really is no place like home. Great family memories.

  16. what a beautiful post! and what an amazing trip....i'm feeling inspired to do one myself with my 2 kids! enjoy the 'newness' of being home!

  17. What an amazing trip indeed and thank you so much for sharing it! I also wanted to say how thankful I was to see William getting his toenails painted, Chase gets his painted all the time and I was getting a little worried! Also, the picture of William holding Henry's hand in their carseats was precious! Welcome back home, get some rest. :o)

  18. Okay, I can no longer complain about our trans Atlantic 6 city US tour in a week and a half with 2 toddlers!!! You guys are amazing!!! Can I please, please, please travel with you next time? LOL! It makes me miss home! It's amazing living in a foreign country, but as Dorothy said, "There's no place like home!" Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

  19. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I could have never done such a thing. I am really in awe! :O

    I still want my commune in the middle of some of that farm land - totally self-sufficient, and totally withdrawn from this world.

    ~Cindy! :D