I'm back stateside, and quite thankful, in many more ways than I can recount.
So far, I haven't had a chance to talk to Roger about coming out this way, but I've been really hoping to link up with him and do some hunting. I'm not particularly skilled or experienced in hunting, so it'll be a social and skill building exercise. Maybe we could all link up in his AO?
If not, that's certainly cool, too!
Let me know if your family have any particular interests up this way, and I can start looking into them for you.
It'll be great to see you guys.
Doctor Christopher, the Oglala Lakota Nation Pow Wow is held in August each year. It is usually held on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This would be a wonderful event for you and your family. The Pow wow is an opportunity to look into the beauty of the Lakota Nation and culture, but what you will see on Pine Ridge may shock you and I respectfully suggest you prepare your sons for what they will see. Pine Ridge and Shannon County is the poorest in the United States with widespread unemployment, poverty and alcoholism and all of the associated social problems.
A visit to the Wounded Knee Massacre National Historic Landmark is recommended but is a dark, sad part of our history.
There is much to see and do in the Black Hills National Forest if you and your family enjoy camping, hiking and mountain bicycle trail riding.
In early October each year, the annual Black Hills Pow wow and Art exposition is held in Rapid City. This is very close to Black Hills National Forest and could be timed with a camping trip, but the weather might be a concern as the nights become longer and colder.
Please enjoy your journey, wherever you decide to go. In my closing salutation I have written akita mani yo which translates to, observe everything as you go.
Hi Chris, very cool trip your planning. Given there will be 5 of you, I would suggest a large RV, even though the gas mileage is awful (7 mpg or so). It gives you a mobile base to explore from. There are companies that offer gas hedging. I've never used them but Google turned up this one: MyGallons. In addition I would suggest a small 5 seat SUV (think Jeep Liberty, RAV4, etc) with a top rack that you tow behind the RV and use to explore. You can even have some camping gear for brief camping trips away from the motor-home. In addition a large RV would allow you to carry 5 bicycles and lots of other gear you might need - plus used RVs can be had cheap. Plan on allocating some for RV repairs as something always goes wrong.
So many places to go, many have been mentioned by others: Glacier NP, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon, Black Hills, Rocky Mountain National Park...
If you decide to head up to Alaska via the Alcan highway, get the Milepost (it's a giant travel guide/ad for the highway), and allocate at least 1.5-2 months for the trip. That will allow you to leisurely head up the ALCAN (don't miss Glacier NP, Jasper, Banff), and then tour around Alaska (Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, Homer, Valdez) before heading back. May to September is tourist season and many places close outside that time.
In addition you might consider some interesting events: list, list. Below are 3 that I have found most interesting which would definitely not be occuring in a low energy world, but family friendly?????, you would have to decide:
Albuquerue International Balloon Fiesta - October. A very nice time in NM. This one is very kid friendly.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - August - Interesting time to be in the Black Hills. You won't want to drive, but it's a cultural icon. You would probably be best finishing up your trip of the Black Hills and then leaving a couple of days after it starts - just to see it and the craziness.
Burning Man - Labor Day - While this may not seem like a kid friendly event, there are actually a fair number of kids there. It's a very very different experience - often referred to as a "experiment in community". Here's a forum discussing pros and cons of kids & teenagers at Burning Man and it's definitely not Disneyland.
Enjoy your trip where ever you decide to go....
What a great thread; I saw it when it first posted but couldn't get a chance to chime in until now.
Congratulations on such a bold and adventurous endeavor. I think it's a brilliant idea, one that most of us can only dream of. I can see no downside to it. The key is your medical skills that allow you to work wherever you land. Priceless. Most folks' income is location specific and as such precludes the freedom to travel for any length of time.
Mine is a case in point in this regard. We are likewise considering some travel plans though not nearly as extensive as yours due to time and cost constraints.
My wife and I are parents to three young boys ages 7, 5 and three, all adopted at birth from teenage girls in crisis pregnancies. We have open adoptions where we allow and encourage contact and visits from the birth mothers of our children (and in one case from bio dad!). We are pleased to announce that the birth mother of our seven year old son has pulled her life together, graduated from college, gotten a job as a schoolteacher and recently announced her engagement to be married. We are ecstatic about this news as it was heartbreaking to see these girls give up their babies. The upshot is that we have been invited to the wedding in July in Arlington Virginia all the way across the country from our home in San Diego.
In considering our options for the visit, I thought that it would be a waste to travel all the way to Virginia and then fly back without seeing some of the historic sights, especially since our oldest son is enthralled with Revolutionary War history, as we have included that in our homeschool curiculum. But staying for an extended period of time in hotels and eating at restaurants would become cost prohibitive for our family budget.
Hence, my idea: Fly one-way to Raleigh/Durham (birth mom's hometown) buy an RV and take a month (maybe five weeks) to explore while eventually making our way back home. Tentatively, our travel plans are to visit the Appalachians (Asheville area), Washington DC and Philadelphia areas, north to New York City, then up the Hudson Valley and over to Niagara Falls. Then, to Michigan through Canada, into the Upper Penninsula, through Wisconson and into Minnesota where the birth mom to my five year old son and her family lives. They haven't seen him in four years although they get copious amounts of photos and videos.
From there we would tour the Dakotas, Montana/Wyoming (National Parks!!!), proceed on to the Pacific coast before turning south for home.
An alternative plan would be to buy the RV here in San Diego and drive across the southern US and then up to North Carolina and continue as noted above. It would take more time but I view this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Either way we would then sell the RV to recoup some (most?) of the cost. I've penciled out every conceivable variation and for not much more $ than round trip airfare and a week in Virginia, we could have a four to five week vacation and see a great deal of our country. It would be an adventure the kids would remember their whole lives.
We're still in the planning stages and not even sure if we can pull it off due to job and business limitations, but we're hopefal and things look promising at this point.
But, back to the Doc's project: Definitely consider the RV option. I've looked at some on Craigs list and they are pretty cheap for some nice units. If you decide to do the RV thing and you (or any CM'ers) find yourself in the San Diego area and you need a place to camp, we have a four-acre farm that you would be more than welcome to use to park the RV and use for a base for sightseeing this area. PM or e-mail me if you like.
Well, gotta go now: bath time for the kids.
Safewrite, I'm not certain if we'll get down to the Southeast, but if we do, we'll drop you a line! We greatly enjoyed our 4 years in Georgia, near Savannah, and visited South Carolina a number of times, but I don't think we ever made it to Columbia. Assuming your friend with the Airstream lives in South Carolina, we'll probably focus upon finding something local, but thanks for the offer!
Aaron, I'm glad you're back! If you're coming to the Midwest, we should definitely link up this time. I've way overdue for a trip to Roger's farm; that would be awesome if the three of us met there! I have no experience hunting, so would greatly benefit, too. If Roger is thinking about coming your way, let me know about that, also!
Lakhota, we will keep your suggestions in mind. The October Pow-Wow and Art Exhibition sound great, but the weather then could be dicey, as you noted. The poverty and other social problems on many reservations is indeed sad, but that is a part of America our boys should understand. We've been to reservations in Oklahoma and New Mexico in the past, but the boys were very young then.
Rhare, thanks for the list links! We've been to the Albuquerque Ballon Festival, but again, the boys were quite young. There's a number of other interesting ideas, to include Burning Man. I've thought about attending that; not sure how Julie would feel about it. I don't think we'll make it up to Alaska this trip, but a drive up the ALCAN is certainly worth considering! The gas hedging idea is very interesting; I'll have to look into that if we get a larger RV.
Earthwise, first, it's fantastic what you've done thus far with your family, and thereby helping out the biological mothers of your children! That the mother of your oldest child pulled her life together, finished college, is engaged to be married, and that she invited you to the wedding is very touching and inspiring! That story gives me some hope for humanity. If you can swing it, I'd suggest taking the longer trip you outlined, swinging through the North and South on your way to and from the wedding. It sounds like we'll both be on the road during the same time, or I'd offer you a place to stay during your travels. Perhaps we might cross paths at a gas station somewhere along our respective paths...
Sorry I missed this thread. You know the invite is always open at either of my homes. You too Aaron. Hunting season or otherwise.
As always, I am amazed at the way you conduct business. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. Not sure if this or the campaign is the more impressive step you have yaken recently...
We've been homeschooling for several years now, and have a bit of a slush fund saved up to take some kind of trip with the boys. We want to do something amazing, not just your normal vacation. The Mac daddy of field trips. We are actually considering Greece if you can believe it. Shows you what I think about TEOTWAWKI happening next week. While the duration we are planning is much shorter, the intent is really quite similar. Makes me feel better I'm not the only crazy one thinking along these lines.
I'm going to re-read the thread and try to steal some ideas, and please do let us know what you decide, and when you will be within a couple hundred miles of our home, we always are game for a day trip. Our boys are the same age and all.
Highly recommend Greece if it hasn't descended into chaos by then. Read up on your Greek history, the Acropolis is stunning. Also, anywhere in Italy with the same proviso.
Lame pun out of the way. ;)
Whaat? You mean you're not suspending life in hopes of continued living? ;)
I was in Turkiye and had some minor interaction with Greeks over the last year and there's a feeling of anxiety, but not calamity. I think it'd be a great way to spend the summer. I can certainly see why civilization really flourished along the Med. Absolutely beautiful.
As for this fall - I've been really wanting to get back out to your AO to visit and catch up.
When you've got some free time, drop me an email or a call and let's see if we can polish up a plan.
The boys are currently drenched in Greco-Roman history. It's actually quite nice to re-learn things as a adult that you only 1/2 listened to when you were in school. Homeschooling has it's advantages, if nothing more than to be able to win that TV show "Are you smarter than a fifth grader."
For all the reasons you guys mention and more, we really want to make our trip to the Med area. Cradle of civilization and all. I've been to Italy and all over Europe, but never Greece. My family has never been across the pond, but has been all over the US. No better way to learn than to experience, right?
We also looked really hard at the Galopogos Islands, but in so many respects, the wonder is gone due to human influence. We really don't want to make it worse.
PS - what's an AO? I know a guy named ao...
AO = Area of Operations =D
I speak military english, sadly.
Colloquially used as "your neighborhood".
Believe it or not my friend with the fully restored airstream lives in Ann Arbor, MI.
What can I say, my contacts in the science fiction and fantasy field are mainly through the internet and therefore all oer the place. If I wanted to go to Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, England, Scottland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, most of Canada, parts of Mexico & SA or most of the USA, I have internet buddies. Internet friends are real friendships.
One Aussie was a friend online for eight years before we met in person, sharing childrens photos, manuscripts, hopes and dreams. The day after we met at a genre convention we went to Disneyland together.
Thanks again for all the public comments, and suggestions I've received via PM and email. I'm really looking forward to this adventure! I also heard from some of the people who are not on this site much anymore, either through Facebook or email. While not part of our bigger adventure, I plan to do some short trips in late spring / early summer to meet up with some friends and acquaintances who live nearby, here in the Midwest. Steve, of "Two Beers With Steve", Strabes and Ready are all within easy range of a weekend trip, in addition to some other people I know from my medical world or dabbling in politics. Should be fun!
We'll be chronicling our journeys on a blog, and I'll try to do periodic updates here, too. The blog will be at pau-hana.com, but it's not yet populated with any content (one more thing to do as part of preparation for our trip). "Pau Hana" is a Hawaiian phrase that means "After Work"; this will not be literally true in my case, as I'll still need to work, so perhaps a better interpretation in our case would be "Apart from Work", which is, of course, where the real business of living occurs...
If you're still considering an RV for your adventure, check out Escapees.com. Look in the forums section.
People have been doing what you're talking about for years. With and without kids.
Great suggestion, osb272646; I hadn't come across that site before! I'm just looking it over now, and it looks promising.
After further consideration I think a crucial issue will be seating for your boys while driving. The mini motor homes and camping vans seem poorly suited for this. What seats they have are often facing to one side and may not have a view. You want those boys looking outside for two big reasons. 1 - To enjoy the beautiful scenery you traveled so far to see. 2 – If you strap three brothers shoulder to shoulder for long hours they need to be focused on something outside for the sake of their parents sanity. It is not good if they feel like they are just sitting inside a house. Audio books are good for long interstate drives.
A crew cab pickup or van pulling a small trailer is much more conducive to a family enjoying the view and sharing the experience together in conversation. This gives you a lot more storage, and the freedom to do day tours without the trailer. More importantly you have a commuting vehicle for work that is easy to park. The family could even stay behind in the trailer until other lodging became available. If you are both working you can rent a car for a second vehicle pretty cheaply through specialized companies. Auto insurers use them for customers who are having their car repaired after an accident. As your agent for names.
I realize now that you will be breaking up your travels more than I thought with stays in buildings, and you seem to operate tightly as a family, so keeping to a small size RV should work for you. Small trailers are not that hard to pull and maneuver.
Here is a very impressive hard sided pop-up that’s only 17 feet long when folded but 24 feet when expanded. http://www.trailmanor.com/WebDocs/sport-deck/sportdeckhome.html Lots of videos on YouTube. See how easily this larger one opens! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q42tWj3BAXg This one shows the interior set up.
Here is another design. http://www.chaletrv.com/folding.php Here is a small standard trailer. http://www.campingworld.com/rvsales/detail.cfm?v=188256
You have many RV options to select from. You might consider renting a unit you favor and doing a short trip for practice. The key is to indentify the crucial issues. If you do that I’m sure you’ll make a good decision that fits your needs.
I am so impressed by the sheer mechanical brilliance of the TrailManor hard side pop up trailer that I have to post a better demonstration video. Watch a middle aged woman do the complete process alone in five minutes. What happens inside is as impressive as outside. The smaller model I would choose works the same way. You get a large solid interior space from a trailer the size of a canvass pop up. It is so easy and quick you can stop and do it by the roadside for lunch, then collapse it and head back down the road.
Seriously, thank you so much for thinking about our upcoming adventure, researching options, and posting links! It is very much appreciated!
Giving the kids enough room to be separate, to work on their schooling as well as just not annoying each other 24/7 is important, but so is having a seating configuration that promotes family bonding, sightseeing, etc.
We keep going back and forth regarding what we should consider. There's an RV show this weekend in nearby Cedar Rapids that we'll be attending; I'm hopeful that experience will be useful in helping us to make a decision.
My thanks to you for giving me the opportunity to think about one of my favorite things and relive wonderful memories. How you travel is a very personal choice, and I’m sure you and Julie are capable decision makers. But the road has its own logic. Understanding the issues is the key to finding good solutions for your circumstances, before the road points them out to you. Once you’ve made a good start the little things will fall into place.
I look forward to reports on you saga.
Sorry to have been away for awhile, but we've been busy for the past few weeks. I thought I would update everyone with our ongoing travel blog. Our current plan (subject to revision) is to travel the western U.S. and Canada from July through November, then heading overseas beginning around the beginning of 2013 until sometime in the summer of 2013. If we can connect with anyone in the course of our travels, we'd love to do so!
Safe travels for you and your family.
Thanks for the update. Your link didn't work, so I typed the URL. Here is a link to all the posts. I enjoyed them. Keep them coming.
Thanks for the well-wishes! Goes, no we won't be coming to the East Coast, at least based upon our current itinerary. That itinerary, however, is still somewhat open, so things may change. Thanks, also, Travlin, for posting my link.
We are currently taking at least one load a day to our storage unit, and have unloaded a fair amount of excess baggage in the process. It's an exhausting process, but progess is being made! 25 days to go, and counting...
Just glanced at your blog. Are you sure you're 51? Perhaps I need to move to Iowa, the east coast seems to be clipping my telomeres faster than yours ;)
Robbie, thanks for the compliment! I'll be 52 in July. It's mostly genetics, I think. My paternal grandmother lived to see 101. My father is still going strong at 84. I was carded for alcohol purchases until well into my 30s. The downside of that is that my kids are "blessed" with the same "baby face" as their father; which they won't appreciate much until middle age!
Sorry to have been away so long; so long, in fact, that this is my first post on the new site! I'm not certain if the forums work quite the same as they once used to, so am not sure if this update will reach those who might be interested, but thought I'd at least try.
We are currently into our 6th week of travel. We've gone from Iowa to South Dakota, Wyoming to Montana and Idaho, and Alberta to British Columbia. We arrived in Vancouver Island today, and will be here for at least the next week. We'll return to the U.S. after that, spending a fair amount of time in Washington and Oregon before touring more quickly through California, Arizona, Utah and Colorado before returning to the midwest in November.
We look forward to meeting Aaron, and hopefully, Poet, during our tours out west. We've been updating our blog, pau-hana.com, somewhat infrequently due to internet access problems on the road. It's due for another update, in fact, which should be forthcoming in the next couple of days.
I hope you all are well; I've certainly enjoyed the periodic updates via email, and the occasional "lurking" on the sidelines in the past many weeks.
Looking forward to meeting you!
Cascadia has been beautiful the last few weeks, great for getting in adventures.
Definitely look forward to meeting you!
If you are concerned about the possible collapse in the future. After the occurrence, if it does happen, like you travel is a lot less fun, and may not be feasible.
I apologize, again, for not being a regular participant on this site. I'm still following (lurking, in the parlance of some), but obviously much less active, due to our travels.
We're currently on a travel hiatus, back in the Midwest, but with plans to begin travels abroad in just a couple of weeks. For those that didn't follow my blog (pau-hana.com), during our RV travels out west, I managed to get together with Aaron Moyer, Sam Linder and Poet from this site, as well as many others. Overall, it was a great trip, but traveling with two teenagers and one pre-teen, especially while trying to keep up with homeschooling (road-schooling) was a bit of a challenge.
We've been less nomadic since we've been back in the Midwest, so we've made some good progress in getting caught up with schooling. We've also had a great time reconnecting with family and friends in the area.
Beginning January 5th, we head on adventures abroad. We will board a cruise from Florida, passing through the Panama Canal, visiting South America (to include a trip to Machu Picchu, we hope), several Pacific islands (to include Easter Island and Tahiti), ending in New Zealand. We'll spend just over two weeks in New Zealand, where Julie has a cousin who has lived there for nearly a decade, married a Kiwi just last year, and now has citizenship there. After that, we board another cruise for visits to additional ports of call in New Zealand, several in Australia (unfortunately, no extended time in Australia, though), and visiting various areas in Asia (to include Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea), ending in Beijing. We'll spend a couple of days in Beijing before flying to Tokyo, where an old friend of mine from my Army days now resides (her husband is a senior Navy officer), and spend another 7-10 days. We expect to be back in the Midwest sometime in mid-April.
Once again, I won't be on this site much for the remainder of our travels, but plan to get more involved again upon our return.
My best to all of you!
It was great meeting you earlier this year, when you came by Southern California, Chris.
It is unlikely that I will get a chance to visit the countries I have visited before as a child - several in Africa, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, etc. - but the memories most certainly have stayed with me over the past 25 to 30 years. Your children will look fondly back on their travels and experiences.
Merry Christmas, and bon voyage!
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