There and Back Again: Highlights of our Summer Road Trip

Nearly ever summer we join my husband’s family on a road trip. Usually the destination centers around a conference we are attending or that my father-in-law is speaking at (he speaks at homeschool and family conferences). This year we were attending a conference in Dallas for a company we are working with. We decided to take two weeks to camp and vacation on the way down.

So here is a bunch of photos and random highlights of the Summer 2011 Holden Family Bus Trip – One bus, 4 children, and 7 adults (which became one bus, and 14 people on the way home!) and I don’t know how many states…NY to TX.

 We began and ended the trip with flat tires. Actually, let’s rephrase that. Popped, shredded, and obliterated tires. The first was just an hour from home, the tire on the tow dolly that hauled my in-laws Expedition. Thankfully, we were near an exit that just happened to have a walmart that just happened to have someone friendly who was willing to service us right before the auto section closed down for a Sunday afternoon! Tire changed, we headed on to Ohio…

…Where we visited Jeremy’s sister, husband, and nephew, the adorable Jimmy. He and Seth had fun getting to know eachother and we enjoyed a restful day as a family before heading out on the road again. We had chosen to do most of our traveling at night just so the trip wouldn’t be too long for the kids, and because it is easier to keep the bus cool at night. We have two air conditioning units that run off a generator and usually keep the bus comfortable, but we soon found that it was just too much of a load in the middle of the day in the southern states.

Next stop, St. Louis! Here we left the hot bus – the generator had overheated – and enjoyed the sights of the St. Louis Zoo.

We loved this zoo! 1. it’s free! 2. it’s huge! we actually did not get to all the exhibits ’cause the kids were hot and tired, and had really seen quite enough. Seth enjoyed the tank with Missouri river life. I highly recomend this zoo if you are in the area. The only cost is parking, and then you can get into the zoo and the awesome science center for free.

After the zoo we continued on our journey to our first campsite – Lost Valley Lake Resort. We could not wait to park the bus and jump in the pool!!! We spent a lovely 5 days enjoying the pools, lake, and activities. I especially enjoyed a chance for my kids to become completely comfortable and confident in the water. Jesse discarded his life jacket and floaties by the end of the week and was diving under the water and swimming short distances. I loved the Brother time he had with Seth in the water!

One of the activities available was this giant jumping bubble – like a trampoline only much larger and safer. We all could jump on it together, and did right before we climbed into the bus for the next leg of the journey.

Oklahoma. Was Hot. Dry. Brown. 115 degrees. We spent 4 days at a campsite near Texoma. We don’t blame Oklahoma – they’re in a serious drought there. But pretty much all I got out of OK was that it’s hot. And dry. And brown. Oh, and I got this picture of a sunset and felt a kinship with Pioneer Woman. LOL

Next stop, Fort Worth, Texas and the Awesome Cabelas Store! Jeremy and I enjoyed coming back to one of our stops on our honeymoon, and we all benefited from the end of summer sandal sales. 7 out of 11 of us got new sandals for a total of 10 sets of sandals! They even had just the style Teva I wanted for my {extra large} feet! Hooray!

Finally we were in Dallas and settled into our hotel room for the 4 day conference. Highlight for Jesse was the Corporate vs. Consultant ball game at Dr. Pepper Stadium. He really enjoyed the hall ball game experience, including fireworks at the end!

The conference was amazing – we got to hear John Maxwell speak, and although it was a lot of work to be there as a family, it was worth it. Next year, though, I’m bringing a nanny along – any volunteers? ๐Ÿ™‚

It was fun to meet new people with common passions, (Hi, Dana!) and we’re looking forward to implementing what we learned at the conference to help change lives in the coming year.

Finally, it was time to go home! We acquired a few more passengers for the trip home – my sis-in-law, her husband, and my niece. So, 14 people on a 40 ft. bus for a 24 hour trip…that turned into 30 hours, thanks to another flat – make that shredded, obliterated – tire, this time on the bus, somewhere south of Arkansas.

That’s the whole crowd having breakfast on the bus, somewhere North of Arkansas.

The best part about the trip? We were all still friends and no one had disowned each other by the end of the trip! Not even when pacifiers were snatched and stolen. LOL This is Seth and his cousin, Emma, hanging out.
I thank God for a safe, fun trip, for my wonderful in-laws, and for all your prayers!

Where did your summer travels take you? Did you have a creative staycation, or discover some place new with your family? Jump into the comments! I’ve turned off word verification to make it easier! Can’t wait to hear from you!

5 responses to “There and Back Again: Highlights of our Summer Road Trip”

  1. Trina Avatar

    Hi, Mary! I'm gathering photos and video of the bus for a 'bus life' post to hopefully answer your questions! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Mary Avatar

    Looks like you had a nice time. Would you mind posting more pictures of the bus ? Sleeping arrangements when you travel at night ?

  3. Trina Avatar

    Joanna, I'll make an album and send you the link ASAP.

    Kateri, We will look forward to next August! That's exciting about Martin – I'm sure I'll feel the same amazement when my baby brother gets married. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maine will be lovely in August!

  4. Kateri Avatar

    Sounds like a great trip. My favorite photo of all is the family portrait in Dallas. Though they are still young, I'm sure your children are building up good memories of vacation time with family! I'm glad you made it there and back again safely and nice to have you back in the blogging world.

    And since your family was a part of our road trip vacation this spring, I don't have to tell you about that. ๐Ÿ™‚ But, I will tell you that it sounds like Terry and I will be doing another trip out east next August. This time Martin is getting married. (Crazy to think of it–in my mind he's still just a baby!) But hey, it means a road trip to Maine (where I've never been) and the wedding is being held 20 minutes from the ocean. So I'm excited for that as well as for him. We'll plan to stop by and see you guys again if it works into your plan. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Joanna Avatar

    Thanks for the pictures Trina… it was SOOO good to see all of you even if it was short ;( Glad you guess all made it home safely and that the only things that went wrong were flat tires ๐Ÿ™‚ Could you send me the pictures you have of Seth and Jimmy? it was FUN to see them together!!!!

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