Gagnons Gone RVing: The Trip of a Lifetime
It’s been a long time comin’. Over two years to be exact. And in approximately 79 days (but who’s counting?!), our family is embarking on a “bucket list” road trip. 8 weeks. 6,284 miles. 131 hours of drive time. 25 National Parks between the United States and Canada. And - wait for it - our family of six will be making this epic journey in an RV.
I’ve always had a passion for showing my kids our country. A sense of responsibility of sorts that they will see and experience the natural beauty of our land, which at times I believe is lost on them in the hustle and bustle of daily life in the ‘burbs. As much as we try to squeeze in family hikes and local outdoor exploration, it is often a challenge in the shuffle of homework, sports practices, family commitments, and all of the other little things that fill our days. To breathe in the fresh air; to experience what it’s truly like to be dwarfed by the sheer size and grandeur of rocks, caverns, and trees; to find treasure in animals, plants, flowers, and rocks; and, most importantly, to begin to appreciate the gift that this perspective brings. I know that I cannot make my children love the outdoors, but I sure plan on doing my best to bring it as close as I can for them.
Justin and I have explored countless State and National Parks with our children, who range in age from 5-11. We’ve experienced the beauty of Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Pinnacles, and Redwood National Park, many of which are a short drive away, allowing us to tackle travel on long weekends or over short school breaks. These trips have provided the roots for many of our favorite family memories and experiences. But we’ve spent the last three years tossing around the idea of doing a BIG trip - one that span the whole summer exploring destinations farther from our home in Northern California. As we started to think through logistics, we debated the ideal timeframe for our family to attempt this trip, first discussing when our youngest was only three years old. We often remark on his innate ability to go with the flow with just two words: fourth child. Though he’s quite a trooper, we also know that every experience is limited by its least common denominator, and this trip would be no different. Ideally, we needed to wait a few years in order for Quinn to be slightly older and more physically capable of taking full advantage of the experiences our trip would offer. Yet at the same time, we have been nervous to “miss the boat” with our 11 year-old. As time flies by, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the window is closing. With Grace’s activities, social commitments, and hobbies demanding more and more of her time, we knew that taking an entire summer to travel the country might not be a possibility into eternity. Plus, she still likes spending time with us, and while we hope that this is always the case, we realize she might not fully embrace 24/7 family togetherness as readily during her teenage years.
The last year has been filled with non-stop planning and coordinating, and taking steps to begin executing on the specifics of what will certainly be an adventure of a lifetime. I cannot wait to share the details of our journey with you, our most beloved community, and more than anything, share the joy that we feel as we prepare for this epic road trip. Please follow along with us on this journey, which will surely be filled with equal parts natural grandeur, spiritual enlightenment, and family antics. Steinbeck or Griswold, the Gagnons Gone RV-ing!