My Family Adventure | 2018 Throwback #5

6,690 miles in 18.5 days with 3 kids 7 & under in a 30′ bus with a 22′ trailer attached, across 4 time zones and 19 states; this past summer our family road trip took us from our home in Eastern Pennsylvania to the Pacific.

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” –Desmond Tutu

It was our 2018 epic family adventure. It was quality time spent with each other and with dear friends and family along the way. It was a memory we will never forget!

Join us in the travelling, the awesome scenery and the joy of the journey through the photos below.

This post is the fifth in a 5 part series: Throwback to 2018.

Check out the other posts in this series:

#1 Riley’s Remission Party!

#2 Twins!

#3 Kids on the Farm

#4 Beautiful People

Getting ready to go! Test drive and then loading up all the snow plow and jeep parts that my husband, Jeen, brought to deliver along the way. Bonus, the deliveries helped cover all the trip expenses!

getting ready for road trip

Excited to start out, and then we slowed down. 15 minutes into our trip we were sitting in a stop-and-go line of traffic.

traffic on 78 in berks county

All three of our kids were ready to be on the road.

modified bus for road trip

We tracked our trip as we went with a marker line trailing across a map that my sister gifted us before we left.

road trip map for family road trip

Painted Desert Panorama!

panoramic photo of the painted desert family portrait at national park foliage in painted desert

The grandness of the Grand Canyon is something you can only really appreciate in person. See if you can spot Jeen and the kids in this first photo. grand canyon family photos grand canyon family photos grand canyon grand canyon family photos with siblings grand canyon scenery

Here is the inside of the bus and everyone’s “bedrooms”

bus set up for a road trip

Ella’s bedroom! Complete with stuffies and her pink pillow (our “kitchen” is at left – storage drawers held snacks, utensils, napkins and other supplies)bed for child in a bus

Evan was often found upside-down, whether on his bed or hanging from the bars.

bus in a bed for a child to sleep on

At left is Nyah’s “bedroom” occupied by her dolly. Moving a set of seat backs up against the row behind made the perfect sized spot to cradle her while she slept.

bus modified for family road trip

Slide Rock State Park in AZ! We highly recommend checking out these natural water slides if you ever get the chance.

slide rock state park in az family bus trip stop in azmonochromatic image of boot in dirt

Luxurious road tripping! My sister and I drove across America when we were in high school, and let me tell you, the level of on-the-road luxuries has gone up a few notches since then. Smartphones (enough said) are only part of the equation. There is also Pilot’s recently renovated travel stops. Not only are the shower rooms clean and  well-equipped, but they also have ground-on-demand coffee machines that allow you to choose your desired roast and brew settings!road trip luxuries at pilotnicest bathrooms in america

I also came up with a system for making coffee on the go.

    making coffee on a bus trip   

So many beautiful western skies to enjoy out the big windows of the bus.

scenic photo in usafamily road trip scenery  western skies road trip road signs

While visiting my grandmother in Irvine, we were struck by the yellow color lingering in the air. It was a time in August when wildfires were looming to the East and North. The fire retardant being used to fight the fires cast an eerie yellow glow that could be seen everywhere as though you were walking in a photograph edited with vintage tones.

california fires looming over irvine ca

We made it to the Pacific! Our kids loved the time of swimming!

family road trip to the pacific ocean  

Driving up the beautiful Pacific highway – we were enjoying the views, but for Evan it was just a reminder of the fun he had swimming – he wanted to stop every time the ocean came into view.

driver in rear view mirror west coast  

Fairytaletown in Sacramento, CA was a fun stop for the kids and I while Jeen drove on to check out a famous Jeep junkyard.

fairytaletown in sacramento california tunnel fairytaletown in sacramento california train fairytaletown in sacramento california hippo

The Capitol of CA! Governors’ unique portraits (they get to choose their  artist), Ella dancing in the Capitol building, and a stop in a chocolate shop.

 sacramento capital building and governor portraitssacramento sights 

More scenes from the day-to-day inside the bus. 

activities on bus trip around america

Our dining table – used for eating and games.

dining table homemade in a bus

Fast asleep in their rooms 🙂

kids beds in modified bus for road trip

With all the deliveries dropped off and an empty trailer, it was time to pick up the vintage golden eagle jeep Jeen bought. It was over 100 degrees the day he loaded it.

bus pulling jeep truck portraits of children chiaroscuro bus pulling jeep truck at sunset

We noticed a bunch of words and names written with lava rock on the side of the road, so we stopped to leave our mark.

rocks at side of road stork rocks

Along the “loneliest road in America” one night, we came across this gem of a stop.decaying vehicles on loneliest road in america lonliest road in america  scenic views childrens portraits natural and authentic childrens portrait with genuine emotion

We pulled into Arches National Park in Moab, Utah when it was pitch black. We drove in the park road not being able to see the sites around us. We laid in the parking lot watching the shooting stars, and then woke up the next morning to see we had parked next to incredible views of the park’s red rocks.

bus pulling jeep truck in utah

Here is Jeen driving through Arches, now his favorite scenery in America.

driver in bus arches national park young boy walking at arches national park sunlight bursting through arch in utah national park roadtrip bus and jeep in arches national park arches national park scenic photograph boy walking in national park dad with daughter at arches national park girl rock climbing at arches national park

In the cool shade of the surrounding rocks, we spent a long time in this soft, red sand.

girls in sand at arches national park girls in sand at arches national park

Evan grabbed the camera a few times throughout the trip 🙂

adventurous couple at arches national park

Succulent favors from the last stop on our road trip –  a gorgeous family wedding we attended in Denver, CO.succulent wedding favors family photos at wedding

The trip summary!

road trip mileage log

It was epic! And we even managed to get a family portrait along the way, which made hauling the tripod and all the camera gear worth it.

family portrait on road trip

We returned home to a garden growing like crazy!

garden growing rapidly

And thanks to getting this blog post ready, I gathered and sorted all the photos from our trip (finally!)…now to design a printed book! (oh, and another number to add to the list at the beginning of this post…ONE driver because I did not get my CDL in time – thanks to my hubby Jeen for all the hours behind the steering wheel).

Jennifer Stork
“I believe every family’s story is worth cherishing.”

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