Rachel Denning of Discover Share Inspire writes around the world as she travels with her husband and five children. They are currently driving from Alaska to Argentina in a veggie powered truck. Please enjoy this week-the-life of this huge family as they travel in Utah and California.
This post was originally published in 2011. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and formatting.
Day One: Thursday
8:00 am – My hubby is up before I am. We stayed the night at family’s house last night in Sandy, Utah, and I was up late finishing a website design for a client.
He’s already gone out to collect veggie (the fuel our vehicle runs on) by the time I’m out of bed, and now he’s repacking our truck so we can get back on the road.
10:00 am – I’ve cooked up some pancakes for our kids, their bellies are full, and now we’ve finally loaded up in the truck.
11:00 am – We stop at a park where we’ve arranged to meet a family that contacted us from our website. They live in Mexico with their three children and just drove back up to the States to visit family.
We spend an hour or two chatting together while our children play at the splash park. It’s great to share ideas with like minded individuals. We discuss travel, humanitarian work, global awareness, border crossings, and sites to see in Mexico.
1:00 p.m. – Too soon it’s time to load up once more. We’ve made arrangements to stay with a family in Santa Cruz, California, and we’ve got a long way to drive.
But first we stop for lunch at the local grocery store. We buy pre-made salads from the deli, fresh produce, some oatmeal and cereal for breakfast and the ingredients for chicken salad sandwiches for dinner.
4:00 p.m. – The kids are snoozing in the car, so we don’t want to stop, but we need to put more veggie in our tank before we drive into the sparsely populated Nevada desert.
We locate some at a Mexican restaurant, but when we try to use our veggie pump, the motor burns out.
7:00 p.m. – We’ve spent three hours in the small town of Delta, Utah, trying to fix our veggie pump. Finally we collect veggie the ‘old-fashioned’ way – with a scoop and a bucket. We’ll have to get our pump fixed in California.
9:00 p.m. – Stopping on the side of the road in the middle of Nevada somewhere for a potty break, we also fix up our chicken salad sandwiches for dinner.
Back in the truck, the kids get out their blankets and pillows for bedtime. I get out my computer and write a post for my blog, then my hubby and I work on editing a guide we’re writing for traveling in Mexico and Central America with kids.
1:00 a.m. – We’re trying to make up for ‘lost time’, but my hubby and I are finally too tired to keep our eyes open anymore.
We find a side road in the desert, flip open our roof top tent, and go to sleep. Ahhh, it’s so nice to have a comfortable place to snooze instead of attempting to sleep squashed in a seat.
Day Two: Friday
5:30 a.m. – The desert night is cold and we’re awake. Might as well get driving again.
We flop the roof top tent closed, and we’re on our way.
7:30 a.m. – I’m snoozing in the front seat, still too tired to stay awake.
9:30 a.m. – I edit photos from our trip to use on our blog. We cross the California/Nevada border, then stop at a park to boil water to make oatmeal for breakfast.
11:30 a.m. – We stop for veggie at a little diner in a small town.
12:30 p.m. – Waiting in line at the fee station for Yosemite National Park. Driving through this beautiful national treasure, we have a family council to decide if we’re going to stop and hike now, or head straight to the beach and come back next week when we’re going East again. The nearly unanimous vote is to head to the beach.
3:00 p.m. – The life drained out of us by the scorching sun that beats down mercilessly on our non-air-conditioned truck, we’re searching for a town where we can stop for some veggie and some food.
4:00 p.m. – Feeling a little more refreshed with full bellies and some time spent in the A/C, we fill up with veggie at the local BK, then get back on the road. We still have at least two hours until we reach our destination.
6:00 p.m. – We’re stuck in California traffic, melting in the hot sun. I keep checking the GPS, as if that will help us to get closer to our destination. Will this moment ever end?
7:30 p.m. – FINALLY we arrive in Santa Cruz at the home of our hosts. The air is cool, almost chilly and so refreshing.
The kids play at the beach for awhile, we enjoy a simple meal with our new friends, then put the kids in bed on mattresses on the floor in the guest room, while the grown-ups chat.
12:00 a.m. – Dog-tired, I crawl into a nice soft bed.
Day Three: Saturday
7:00 a.m. – I cuddle with a still tired but wiggly baby in bed, while Greg does a little bit of work on the computer.
8:00 a.m. – I take a much needed shower after two days of hot, wind-blown and sweaty travel. The kids’ baths will wait until after beach playtime, which will occur directly after breakfast, I am sure.
9:30 a.m. – I make it to the beach after the baby’s nap. The boys have dug a HUGE hole in the sand, and Greg is in heaven playing sand volleyball.
12:00 noon – We go back to our hosts’ house for lunch on the deck in the sunshine – tortellini with garlic olive oil imported from Spain, and toasted sesames.
2:30 p.m. – Back at the beach, baby takes a nap on the towel and I read from The Snow Leopard.
5:00 p.m. – We clean up sandy bodies, do quick showers, dinner prep, and then meal time – a delicious home made chicken soup. After eating and some play time, the kids get ready for bed, and we read bed time stories. They’re asleep by 8:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m. – The adults enjoy great conversation in the living room, but a fussy baby takes me into the bedroom where I accidentally crash for the night.
Day Four: Sunday
7:00 a.m. – Greg and I are up and preparing for church. We wake the kids, fix hair, feed them breakfast, then get them in the truck by 8 a.m.
8:30 a.m. – We stop for veggie, and while Greg fills the tank I dress the kids in their church clothes.
12:30 p.m. – We’re back at our hosts’ home where we have lunch before walking through Santa Cruz to a local park that has 10 slides for kids and impromptu bands of fiddles, guitars, banjos, and basses.
2:30 p.m. – Daddy and the kids go to the beach while I help prepare dinner.
5:30 p.m. – After the evening meal, the kids play contentedly with wooden toys, puzzles, and dolls. The adults converse more about travel, education, American culture, and other topics.
7:30 p.m. – We have a bedtime snack, then start the bedtime routine – teeth, pajamas, and then stories. They’re in bed by 9:30 p.m.
9:30 p.m. – The adults share some more great conversation about home education, adoption, traveling, and personal development. Finally at midnight we all go to bed.
Day Five: Monday
7:30 a.m. – Greg is already up when I finally get out of bed (he doesn’t get up with a baby at night though 🙂 I do some writing, posting on my blog, checking emails, responding to comments, etc.
10:00 a.m. – We have a late breakfast – coconut crepes with fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, yogurt and maple syrup.
11:00 a.m. – The kids are back at the beach, I shower, then load up and put away our belongings in the truck.
1:30 p.m. – We say goodbye to our hosts and new friends, and we’re back on the road, headed out to do some errands, and then visit the Apple flagship store in Cupertino, CA.
6:00 p.m. – After paying our homage and more errands, we arrive at the home of a family who traveled around the world and then wrote a book about it. They have a super fun house with rock-climbing walls, secret passages in the walls and attic, a zip line and monkey bars.
The kids have a blast and are entertained for hours while we discuss all sorts of fun topics with the adults.
12:00 midnight – I do some reading of the book written by our hosts before baby’s cry calls me to bed.
Day Six: Tuesday
7:30 a.m. – Greg and I are up doing some work in the quiet morning.
9:30 a.m. – The kids are up and Greg gets them some food while I work on some projects for our website, and some web designs for clients.
1:00 p.m. – The kids are entertained for hours with the funnest house we’ve ever seen. They play the Wii, bake a cake, do some crafts and swing, rock climb, and more.
Greg and I use the time to write, edit videos and photos, and other business stuff.
3:00 p.m. – With boxes full of books, donations from our hosts, we load up in our truck, bid farewell, and travel to the home of long-lost friends of my husband from Peru.
4:30 p.m. – We’re on the road toward Yosemite National Park.
10:00 p.m. – We find a quiet place to pull over and sleep in our roof top tent, just 50 miles outside Yosemite.
Day Seven: Wednesday
8:00 a.m. – We sleep in a little, get up and have breakfast with the kids, then drive into Yosemite.
10:00 a.m.- We do some sightseeing and hiking, but the kids are fighting and whining, and I’m kind of in a sour mood. It’s one of those ‘family travel moments’ where you’re annoyed with each other.
2:00 p.m. – We’re feeling better after a nice dip in the crystal clear and cool Merced River. Ahh, so enjoyable.
4:30 p.m. – Back on the road, we head toward Salt Lake once again, where we’re meeting up with friends and family who are coming to visit.
1:00 a.m. – Greg pulls a late night driving, but finally stops in a little spot to catch some zzzz’s. The roof top tent makes it so easy to get some good sleep when you pull those late nights.
After spending another month in Utah visiting with friends and family, Rachel and Greg and the five kids are now in Arizona, and are headed for Mexico! You can read about their adventures at DiscoverShareInspire, or learn how to Design the Family Lifestyle of Your Dreams with their 24Step course.