The Big Cross Country Road Trip…..2017

So there are good things and bad things about being a teacher. And lately, for Dave, the good and the bad have been having a mighty struggle to see which comes out on top. For a couple of years, he was feeling pretty well over it. Long story short: let’s just say that resumes were sent.

The parts of his job that he really likes are the math, and the kids, and the teaching math to the kids.

You’d sort of expect (and hope) that those things would be a big enough chunk of the job to make up for anything else, right? Yeah, well. Not always.

But, after a couple of not so good years, Dave’s had a couple of pretty good years–the kind where the parts he enjoys outweigh the….stupid crappy parts. So, at the moment at least, he’s feeling like he’s in it for the long haul.

I could into the whole thing a lot more, but it would get kind of depressing and ranty, so I won’t.

Instead! A post not so much about the good parts of being a teacher, but about the good side effects of being a teacher.

As part of this whole reevaluating our lives thing that happened and ended with deciding to stick with the status quo for now, we resolved that if Dave’s going to keep being a teacher, we’re going to make the most of the good things that come with that.

Like summer.

If we’re going to have these summers off, we thought to ourselves, we really ought to be doing amazing, epic things with them. At least some of the time. We can’t afford true epicness EVERY summer (see: bad parts of being a teacher).

Sometimes on this blog, I talk about, say….our goals for the coming year. Or what we hope to accomplish in the next few weeks in a particular room. This time I am presenting you with our plan for nearly THREE YEARS from now. Here it is:

road trip map

We’re hoping to take six or so weeks in the summer of 2017 to see a very large chunk of the country. The kids are pretty well traveled on the east coast and, to a lesser extent, the west coast, but we’ve left all that stuff in the middle largely unexplored thus far.

We figure 2017 is the right time because 1. We need to save up some money for this and 2. Abe will be 4 1/2 then, which really seems like the youngest we can count on him being a fun and involved travel companion for a trip like this. It will still be quite the age spread to try to keep happy–Ari will be sixteen (!) by then–but we have our fingers crossed that Abe will be a calm, cerebral child who enjoys things like tours of the Hoover Dam and assorted historic houses.

Of course, a lot can happen in three years. Gas might cost $20 a gallon. We might encounter some massive, unavoidable expense that makes the trip financially impossible. That giant volcano under Yellowstone might erupt, rendering much of the country uninhabitable. But if planning in advance doesn’t make it a sure thing, it at least makes it a more likely thing: families with four kids and five pets and a house can’t just pick up and leave for six weeks on the spur of the moment.

So there’s the route up there on that map. Tentatively. It’s already gone through a few different versions. Like there was the one that included Chicago but left out Disneyland. Sorry, Chicago: you lose for not being Disneyland.

Basically, drive west for a long time, see Grand Canyon and Disneyworld and some beaches. Turn back east and hit Las Vegas and Utah as we go up to Yellowstone. Head east a little more, then turn south at Mt. Rushmore and go to Colorado. Hit St. Louis and all the Abe Lincoln stuff in Illinois and Kentucky, and then come home!

Naturally some of the things we’re most excited about are:

potato museum

the Idaho Potato Museum




Okay, so I AM excited about those places, but I guess the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and stuff beat them out. Except that I’m convinced at least one of us will fall into the Grand Canyon and die. There’s a whole book about people dying in the Grand Canyon, the ominously titled Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon (affiliate link). Another reason not to attempt this trip with a toddler. Because it’s going to be SO DANGEROUS.

Of course, we’re still in the early stages of planning (I think the idea was originally hatched early on during this past summer break). But that doesn’t mean I don’t have pinterest boards about it already. If you’ve any interest in following along with the planning, you can check out said boards here: ….the boards all start with “The Big Road Trip” and I have them separated out by state.

So far my favorite resource for planning is You can map out your trip and all your waypoints there (and save them), and then you can tell it what kinds of places you’re interested in finding (food, hotels, historic attractions, nature, etc) and it will show you all the places within a set (by you) distance of your route. That’s how we know about the Potato Museum and Carhenge. It’s super fun to play around with any time I have a few spare minutes. I think it’s pretty new, and the first time I tried it out, a few months ago, it was still pretty buggy. But now it works very smoothly, and is so much fun. They have articles where they tell you about wacky places you never even knew you needed to visit before.

Anyway–there it is–the BIG plan! I’d love to hear from all of you about the places you consider must sees. Hurry–we have LESS THAN THREE YEARS to plan!





The Big Cross Country Road Trip…..2017 — 23 Comments

  1. Okay, 2017 is that year when I am finally finished with (my own) education. Studying and the required assistant teaching will be finally checked off that summer. I just come over to the US and celebrate by travelling a few weeks with you, okay? 🙂

  2. I think this is an amazing plan! And with my whole family being teachers myself included you don’t need to explain the difficulties that surround it. My brother and his family leave every summer for the entire summer. The oldest is 7 the youngest is 3. They break up the expense by camping a bit along the way. Your boys will love this!! And yes I have heard about the Yellowstone eruption! Take care friend make it a great week! Nicole xo

    • Thanks, Nicole! We’re still trying to decide if we’ll camp at least some of the time to save some money. Probably depends on how much we can save by then!

  3. That sounds like an amazing trip! Morgan has 4 weeks of vacation and we rarely take it. We need to save it up and do something like this!

  4. This is going to be so epic. I can already tell. Because / again / I want to go on this trip already!. Thanks for the tip about roadtrippers. I will have to check that out. Of course I fully expect to be a dot on the trip around Disneyland – before or after 🙂 Car henge is making me pretty excited too.

  5. Oh my gosh this sounds like so much fun!! This is a dream of ours, so plan away we need to be able to copy you! 😉

    • You should go ahead and imaginary plan on Roadtrippers! It’s possible I have a 2019 New England/Canada road trip already drafted there. Possible. Not likely, because that would be nuts 😉

  6. If you haven’t been to Mammoth Cave in KY, you should DEFINITELY add that to your list- one of the 7 natural wonders of the world!

    • We’re definitely hoping to hit Mammoth Cave, Kimberly! I am a little terrified of caves, but I’m going to brave it for the kids’ sake 😉 Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. Sounds like an awesome trip! We’d love to do something like that someday — but we’re not sure how we could get such a large expanse of time off work. Not sure if you follow Under the Sycamore — they took a road trip this summer (more northern than what you all are planning) but I was so inspired to try to get a trip like that in someday. Here’s the link to their itinerary if you don’t already follow her:
    I will second Kimberly that Mammoth Cave is good — plus there are quite a few kitschy/quirky/off-beaten-path type tourist attractions in that area.

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