My Kids, Pushing the Blue Bus Down the Turnpike (and other answers to your many questions)

A few weeks ago, I opened it up for questions about our trip. “Ask me anything!” I proclaimed. Here’s the final half of the questions you asked, along with my answers:

1. Leave it to Leanne to ask eight questions. Seriously:

How much planning went into this? A lot, and not much. By that I mean, we planned out the cities ahead of time, but only reserved campgrounds or places to stay a few weeks ahead (at the most).

Did you budget everything, including fuel? We tried to budget, but grossly underestimated the amount of fuel required. Which is why we’re kind of limping home at this point (and why you might see the kids pushing the bus down the PA turnpike).

What would you do differently if you were starting out again?
Go for six months instead of four. Make fewer stops and stay longer in each place. Do a better job budgeting fuel.

Do you have a semblance of a schedule?
No. I mean, sometimes, I guess…No. No schedule. Which is very difficult for me.

How does homeschooling the kids work?
We’re focusing on the basics (Math and Writing) and incorporating lesson plans on each state as we go. Maile has been homeschooling for a few years now, so it’s old hat. We also bought a pass that includes a lot of Children’s Museums, and we’ve hit a LOT of those.

Was the pace you set manageable or was it too much driving?
Pace was a little much at times. I think for our next trip we’ll do fewer destinations and spend more time at each.

How did the kids occupy themselves during all the driving?
Our kids did awesome. They mostly played with Legos, dolls and cars, wrote in their journals, read books, and watched movies. Oh, and got annoying about always being hungry. And didn’t like to go #2 in the bus’s toilet. When we parked up they took their toys outside.

When are you all coming to Canada?
That’s on our next trip’s itinerary. We’re thinking about hitting the middle of the US, then heading up to Alaska.

2. How is Maile’s driving going? (Ashley)

Mai is a great driver. During her first stint, I was back getting the kids drinks and food and finding things for them to do. After thirty minutes I came up and sat in the passenger’s seat. “Sheesh!” I said. “This is demanding.” She looked at me with a smile. “Why do you think I’m so eager to drive?”

3. Wifi or tether? (Doug)

Tether, I think. We have a roaming hotspot that gives us Wifi through Verizon. Is that tether?

4. How are the kids keeping themselves occupied during the driving parts?

I think I answered this in one of Leanne’s plethora of questions, but I’ll also throw in coloring books and whining.

5. What were the weirdest things you saw in the following categories: plant life, insect, sign, establishment name, and food?

Good question. The palm trees in Pasadena always kind of freak me out because their roots look like something out of an alien movie. I don’t remember seeing any weird insects, although the moths in Amarillo were freakishly numerous. Weirdest sign? Nothing specific comes to mind, although Yellowstone doesn’t seem to have ANY signs. I guess the peanut sauce the Luitwielers made for us was weird, but only because of how good it tasted.

6. Is California awesome or what? (Jon)

Yes. Beyond awesome. Not at all what I had expected. The coast was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

7. What I’d like to know is were it only you and Maile on this trip would you have approached it differently and if so how?

One thing we will do someday when we take this trip, just the two of us, is do more of the difficult stuff, like hiking down into the Grand Canyon or going on some of the tougher trails in the Redwood forest. Our younger two are still a bit young for that. I think we will get off the beaten track a little more. We would also take a much smaller vehicle and plan ahead less.

8. What is that a picture of?

Yes, it is a picture of the Tetons. We lost the brakes in the bus going over those mountains.

We will be home in two weeks! I can’t believe it. Stay tuned as we talk more about what our life is going to look like when we get back and some details regarding a few exciting new projects I’m working on.

Finally, if you have a few extra minutes:

– Like my Facebook page
– Purchase or review my E-book, “Building a Life Out of Words”
– Go eat some ice cream.

8 Replies to “My Kids, Pushing the Blue Bus Down the Turnpike (and other answers to your many questions)”

  1. Gas always gets me too. Gosh. Such a killer. Maybe next time you can convert the bus to bio diesel and get the cooking oil from chinese restaurants!

    Great stories here. Can’t wait to hear more.

  2. I only have two kids, and I know how demanding it can be. They both want time, but have very different needs. I think I would rather drive, too, Shawn. ;-)

    And then sit among the elders at the gates and say how blessed I am to have an awesome wife.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, MJ. I love Leigh’s blog and enjoyed writing that post. If you do pick up Building a Life Out of Words, shoot me an email when you finish and let me know what you think.

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