A Week-In-The-Life of the McIntyres: 5th Wheeling Across the US

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The McIntyres (of Unschooling Paradise) have been called gypsies, hippies, and nomads. Chrissie, Michael, their two little travelers McKenzey and Isabelle, and their dog Jack are all of these. What they really are is a (somewhat) normal family traveling in a 5th wheel across the USA. The McIntyre’s have been traveling since Halloween 2013 and have visited 19 states with plans to visit all 50, Canada, and even Mexico by the time they are done. Please enjoy this week-in-the-life of the McIntyre’s, living, working, studying, and traveling in their 5th wheel.

This post was originally published in 2014. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

Day 1 – Wednesday

7:30 am Today is moving day…..Michael wakes up first and takes Jack out for his morning walk and I get the girls up and ready. We were boondocking (no hookups, electric, water or sewer) at a Walmart in Santa Fe, NM. Oh it’s perfectly legal.

8:30 am We get ready to leave and I take Jack for another walk while Michael makes sure Willowmina (our camper’s name) is ready to travel. I write some articles for the website and the girls play on their iPads or read.

4:00 pm We make it to Colorado Springs and decide to stay at a KOA because it’s right off the highway. We set up and call our friends that live in Colorado Springs who we met at the World Best Road School Convention (perks of Unschooling Paradise).

5:15 pm Jennifer and Zack are excited we are in town and invite us over for dinner, spaghetti and meatballs.

9:00 pm We make plans to meet tomorrow and head home to go to sleep, everyone is very tired.

Day 2 – Thursday

8:00 am I hear whining and open one eye to find a wagging tail and wet nose on the bed. I think we have really overslept but forgot about the time change. I wake up throw on my clothes and take Jack for a walk.

8:45 am Girls wake up excited because they get so spend the day with Alaina. We all get ready for the day and make plans to meet Jennifer and the kids.

11:00 am Jennifer comes and picks us up and we head to Pueblo to try the famous slopper (from Food Wars): an open-face hamburger with chili smothered on top.

6:00 pm We head back to Jennifer’s camper to pick up clothes for Alaina so she can spend the night with us.

9:00 pm We make dinner for the three giggly girls and they pick out movies to watch, but I have a feeling they won’t be able to stay up all night. Michael and I go into our bedroom, he plays on his iPad and I work on updating the website.

11:00pm The TV in the girls’ bedroom wakes me up and I go in and check on them. They have all fallen asleep and I turn off the TV and go back to bed. I tell them in the morning they stayed up till 1am (moms are so sneaky).

Day 3 – Friday

10:30 am After watching Harry Potter and eating breakfast, the girls beg to ride the double bike at the campground so I go and pay for an hour. They take turns driving and have a blast riding around the park.

11:30 am Jennifer comes over to pick up Alaina and we head out to lunch. This time we try a new restaurant that even Jennifer hasn’t tried called Dog’s Bar-B-Que and it is super yummy.

1:00 pm Zack is off work today and wants to get out of the house so we all decide to check out the new Cabelas in Denver. After walking around Cabelas for a while we head back home and decide to stop at Red Robin for dinner.

10:00 pm We are finally back at the house and the girls have talked us into letting Alaina spend the night again. Michael and I tell the girls we are going to bed. They brush teeth and I think they fall asleep by midnight.

Day 4 – Saturday

5:00 am McKenzey wakes me up because she feels bad so we hang out at the camper and watch movies.

1:00 pm McKenzey is feeling much better. Jennifer, Zack, Alaina and Caleb come over for a late lunch and to say goodbye.

9:00 pm Michael drains the black and grey tanks and get Willomenia ready to leave. The girls and Michael read while I work on the website.

Day 5 – Sunday

7:30 am Moving day – today we are going to try and make it to Hot Springs, South Dakota. We unhook everything, pull the slides in and get ready to leave.

8:30 am Everyone is in the car, Jack has been walked and we are ready to head to our new destination.

4:00 pm We make it to Hot Springs, South Dakota. We find another really nice KOA campsite and plan on staying a couple days. We will be checking out the campsite we plan on workamping at (workamping is volunteer or paid work done in exchange for a free site).
See also: Five ways to get free accommodation around the world

5:30 pm We finish getting set up, and go up to the front office to fill out paper work. Michael asks about the local grocery store and we check out the town.

9:45 pm We watch a movie and eat dinner.

Day 6 – Monday

8:00 am I am woken up by Isabelle who wants to cuddle and figures since she can’t go back to sleep she goes ahead and feeds Jack. Michael gets up and takes Jack for a walk while I fix breakfast.

9:30 am We head over to Kemp’s Camp to check out where we will be working and see if we can get Willomenia up the 16% grade and around a sharp curve. Michael is frustrated because there is no way we can get our little house up the hill so he makes the call to tell the owner.

11:00 am Time for some roadschooling; we decide to drive past Mount Rushmore since we are only 15 minutes away. We get out and read the historical signs and take pictures. The girls begin discussing how they were able to make the figures in stone. We google some answers and head toward Crazy Horse.

12:30 pm Crazy Horse is only another 15 minutes beyond Mount Rushmore. We are amazed at how big it is compared to Mt. Rushmore. The museum is beautiful and we learn a lot about the sculptor, indians and Ziółkowski family from the movie and museums. We eat a picnic lunch and head back home by driving through Rapid City.

6:00 pm We watch a movie and after, the girls read and write in their journals about the day.

Day 7 – Tuesday

10:45 am Our campsite is only five minutes away from The Mammoth Site. Isabelle loves Mammoths so she is super excited. We arrive just in time for the first tour. It is amazing and very educational.

12:30 pm We head back to the camper and spend the rest of the day trying to figure out where we are going next. Michael pulls out the atlas and I start researching campsites in Montana, Idaho and Nebraska. We settle on a ranch in Montana because it is only a day’s drive.

5:00 pm Since our new destination is set, I announce that we need a treat, ice cream. Michael locates a Dairy Queen on the GPS. After a yummy snack we head toward Wind Cave National Park and see a baby bison right next to the road.

The McIntyres are already on to their next adventure: Michael got a job volunteering at a National Park in Oregon. They’re there for the season (May-October), and plan to head south afterwards. They unschool or roadschool their two girls and update a blog, UnschoolingParadise, about their adventures.

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