We have been traveling fulltime since June and have come to realize a few things. First, we LOVE discovering the differences in new places. The climate, the landscape, the vegetation, the animals, the people….everything! It’s exciting, enlightening and motivates us to move on to the next place. There is SO much to see!
Second, we love meeting other fulltime traveling families along the way. Especially those that have children that connect with our kiddos so well!
Well, when we heard that our new friends Derek and Sarah and their kiddos were going to be in Utah in October, we decided to find a way to squeeze in a week in Utah. The thing is, we wanted to see Utah….but we have a timeline of being to Florida by mid-December and wanted to give ourselves enough time to visit the family we planned to visit along the way in Phoenix and San Antonio.
We basically have a ‘book-end’ date and work backward to fit in what we’d like to fit in. Utah was not originally on that itinerary.
Yet, we made it happen anyway! We did this because we have discovered how very important it is to connect with friends on the road and to make the time to visit those friends. Both for the adults and for the children.
So, we left Southern California very early on a Saturday morning and drove 540 miles in one day just to get close enough to our friends in Moab, Utah. Then we finished our drive Sunday and arrived by lunchtime after a total of 702 miles! This was the furthest we have traveled in one weekend to get to a destination and it went much better than expected!
We even arrived with enough time on Sunday to all go, Dads included, to Arches National park for a short hike together. This way Tony was able to see Arches and we all were able to spend some great time together our first day!
Arches National Park was great. The kids enjoyed climbing all the rocks and the parents enjoyed seeing natural arches all over!
The following day Sarah suggested that we swap kiddos and have date nights. What a fantastic idea that was!!! So we watched all the kids Monday night while Sarah and Derek got a night out and they watched all the kids while Tony and I got a night out Tuesday.
This was our first date, without the kids, since we left Minnesota in June. 🙂
The kids really enjoyed playing around outside in our boondocking spot, playing cards or board games, watching movies, playing with our magnatiles, playing with playdoh or coloring, and overall just hanging out all week! I enjoyed that the kids were busy playing with friends….and I could just take a breath and relax a bit.
Which by the way I needed to take it a little easy as I had just got a bad cold and felt pretty yucky all week. But I didn’t let my cold stop me from joining our friends Wednesday and Thursday on some awesome hikes!
Wednesday we hiked Sand Dunes Arche.
This is where we came across a rattlesnake! Luckily Sarah heard it and was in the lead and pulled the kids back. I could not hear it at all. Note to self, where hearing aids for every hike in the future!
The kids also really enjoyed playing in the super soft sand for over an hour! My kiddos also completed their Junior Ranger booklets and received their badges at the Visitor Center on our way out!
On Thursday we took the drive to Canyonlands National Park. Now, keep in mind that when I say ‘we’ I mean Sarah and I and all of our kids. She has 3 kiddos and I, of course, have the 4 Greising-Murschels. Both Derek and Tony work full-time jobs Monday-Friday during regular hours and stayed back at the campers each day to work.
The 2-mile hike at Canyonlands went really well, even though Jasmine started to get a fever while we were hiking. I ended up carrying her in our Ergo about 90% of the time, which was just fine. I needed a good workout as I had taken the week off from running due to my cold.
The kids also completed their Junior Ranger booklets at Canyonlands and received their badges! Thanks to their friends Issac and Anna for helping them with their booklets in the cars, as Sarah’s kiddos had completed their booklets the previous week.
Our time with our friends was grounding. Talking ‘shop’ with another fulltime family really helps you remember that you are not the only ones out there that live and think the same way you do. We also had tips for them as they traveled to California and the Pacific Northwest and they had tips for us as we travel East.
We enjoyed one last meal together out at a nice burger place in Moab, UT.
We are unsure when we’ll see Sarah and Derek again, as we are going to be on the opposite side of the country for awhile. However, we did talk about possibly trying to meet up in Grand Tetons NP, Glacier NP, or Rocky Mountain NP next fall if it works out.
The kids enjoyed their group hugs and we all said our goodbyes on Friday afternoon.
No tears were shed, as this is part of the traveling lifestyle. The kids get it and know that we will keep in touch via technology. Riley has already e-mailed Issacc and I’m sure Lilya will be Facetiming Anna sometime soon too. Sarah and I continue texting and Tony and Derek brag to each other via text when they find a place with high upload and download speed via text. 😉
Until we meet again!!