First Family RV Trip | 14 Days & 13 States | 2 Adults, 3 Teenage Boys, 2 Dogs...and a Blog.

Category: J. J.’s posts

Our Last Night in the RV – June 23, 2021

Tonight is our last night in the RV.  The 2015 Forest River Forester provided us with many great memories, a few stressful moments, and all the comforts of home.  We are in Sikeston, Missouri tonight.  We have an almost-full moon overhead.  Thinking back to that first night 13 days ago in Pine Mountain, Georgia, when we weren’t sure of the hookups or how the slides worked or if the water filter would work to now…when everyone just knows what to do, brought a sly smile to my face.

Kirby and Casey hooking up the sewer all by themselves

Tonight, without me yelling or stressing out, we all work together as a team to set up camp.  Kirby and Casey did the hookups all by themselves—even the sewer.  Cameron and Tyler walked the dogs.  I got out the carpets, chairs, tables, and lights (and set up the tripod for our family picture).  Kerry made sure all the hookups were correct and the RV was secure and level.  In about 10 minutes we had our campsite all ready to go. 

It’s funny about RV parks. When you arrive, all the other RVers will just sit and watch to see how you pull in or back in and how well you can set up your site.  There were a few nights where I’m sure onlookers were laughing at our inexperience and cringed as I was yelling at the boys to hurry up and put on their shoes.  But tonight, there was a group sitting outside their campers watching us pull in and set up everything. Man, we looked like professionals.  I smiled to myself and thought what an adventure we have had and how much we have learned in 13 days.  Are we ready to get home? Yes.  But are we are glad we are in Missouri tonight, in an RV.  Absolutely!  Am I sad that this adventure is over tomorrow?  Yes. Very.  

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah – June 19, 2021

About 310 miles northwest of Zion, Utah, is Moab, Utah.  We left Zion about 9 AM and headed for Moab, trying to escape driving in the heat of the day.  (When there’s a high of 110 predicted, you want to get out as early as possible.) I had booked a Moab Sunset Discovery tour for the family through Moab Adventure Center. After driving all week, it was nice to have someone else do the driving for once. So once we arrived at the Canyonland RV park in Moab, we rushed to shore up power and get the AC running for the dogs. 

The boys and I quickly walked the dogs and got them back in the RV. Casey and Tyler played in the pool for about 10 minutes to cool off and then we all walked a half mile (once again in 100 degree heat) to get on our tour shuttle bus. None of us really had any idea what to expect for Arches National Park.  Holy Cow! It was just amazing!!  I had no idea there were 2,000 – 3,000 arches in the park.  And the park was only made a National Park in 1971. 

The night finally cooled down a little and we toured the park for 4 hours.  Our guide David took us to amazing picturesque spots. We even got to hike and explore a little.  There were so many trails that we wanted to hike, but we only had about 10-20 minutes at each stop.  By far, the most amazing stop was the Double Arch stop.  We hiked to the arches and then our group got to climb inside the gigantic arch. Kirby, Casey, and Kerry even climbed up one of the arches to get an incredible view of the sunset.  

These natural arches are caused by years and years of erosion, some are small and some are huge. While at Double Arch, David surprised us all by hiking all the way up, about 50 feet, and then playing “How Great is our God” on his saxophone. 

Then, he took us up the other side of the trail so we could all watch the sunset over the arches. That sunset was the most beautiful sunset I have every seen.  If you ever have a chance to watch the sunset in Arches National Park, do it!  Kerry and I hope to go back to Zion and Arches and stay for much longer so we can really experience the beauty and magnificent of these National Parks. Tonight was worth all the miles, work, stress, money, and excessive heat.  What a blessing to see God’s work; to see rock arches that are millions of years old; to sit with your beloved family and watch the sunset.  Tonight was one of the best nights of my life.

Tyler watching the sunset in Moab, Utah

Zion National Park, Zion, Utah – June 18, 2021

Today is my birthday. 

I almost forgot because I’ve been so focused on securing reservations, researching how to travel in an RV, and studying the maps that I honestly forgot that today was my birthday until I looked at our itinerary yesterday.  What a way to spend your birthday!  However, it was 106 degrees today.  Even right now at night, it’s about 94.  It’s so incredibly hot here.  The good thing is that we have a river lot at the Zion Canyon RV Resort, meaning our RV backs right up to the river. Tyler and Casey LOVE being able to play in the river.  But Zion is absolutely breathtaking.  The colors of the cliffs and ridges are just beautiful against the desert. 

Zion is such a cute town.  There are tons of restaurants too.  Tonight, we ate at the Whiptail Grill.  It was outstanding. (But words of advice, the “Fire” Carne Asada is really spicy!) We were lucky to have Kerry’s brother Sean join us.  I hope I can come and visit Zion again when it’s not so hot.  We did manage to hike a little of the Narrows trail, but the next time we will make sure to rent those waterproof hiking boots that everyone but us had and hike the whole thing.  Zion National Park may very well be the most beautiful national park I’ve seen thus far. 

Waking up a little cooler in New Mexico

Yesterday was a long day of driving in the intense heat. The temperature was 102 at one point in West Texas. Around 3PM, we got gas at a Loves truck stop in Pecos, Texas. It was so hot that we had to carry the dogs to the dirt section because the pavement was so hot. Pecos was like an oven—a hot, dusty, ugly oven. And to make matters worse, our generator stopped working the last 150 miles of our trip. (Yep, it was quite warm in the RV.) But after reading a couple of websites and later talking some guy from Houston at our RV park in Roswell, NM, it seems that it’s common for generators to automatically turn off when it’s extremely hot. But the boys were great, as we all took turns sitting in the passengers seat to enjoy AC from the front of the RV. Hopefully, today we will not sweat too much because we have a shorter trip.

This morning was cooler, thankfully. Our RV is backed up to a beautiful alfalfa field. We woke up to birds chirping and the sound of roosters crowing. Now we are about pack up and head in to town to grab breakfast and visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center!

Blogging from an RV

It’s 11:55 AM. I’m sitting here somewhere in the middle of Texas. We left San Antonio this morning around 9:00 AM. With an RV filled with 5 people and two dogs, we travel about 45 miles an hour including all the stops. We try to stop every couple of hours to walk the dogs and get gas. We get about 9 mpg. This morning we are trying to hold off running the generator (the generator runs the AC in the RV). When we run the generator, we go through gas much more quickly. But when it’s 95 degrees, we don’t care.

The boys have been great. Oh, we’ve yelled and argued for sure. But we all make up quickly and don’t let it ruin our day. This morning, I swore to the boys that I was going to take away their phones for three days!!! But then they said, “Well, you’re on your phone.” Well played, boys. Well played.

At the moment, everyone is very happy playing on our phones and laptops. Some playing Clash Royale and some blogging away. This is a long trip, so for now, I’m picking my battles.

My husband Kerry is a rock star. He’s a natural driver. He has driven the past 3 days. I asked this morning if I could help drive today, so he wouldn’t get too tired. He said, “No.” I love him for that. But for the record, I can drive, but I respect my husband too much to argue with him. (And if anyone really knows me, you will hear the sarcasm in my voice.)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_6066-768x1024.jpg

RVing with a spouse is a whole other dynamic and quite frankly, a minefield for arguing. You really have to trust each other…and forgive each other daily, if not hourly. Neither of us are experts at this. At times each day we become stressed and can lose our cool with each other. But the best thing about Kerry is that he is easy going and things quickly roll off his back (quicker if he has food or a cold beer). And typically, in a few minutes we will “hug it out” and move on to the next task.

Quick note…I just asked my oldest son Kirby to start up the generator so we can start the air conditioner. (It’s like a sauna right now.) He just got up and clicked all the switches and voila, we have AC. It’s cool to see how quickly kids can adapt to a new situation. Three days ago, we were terrified of the generator.

We are starting day four of our trip. Every day we learn more and adapt to living and traveling in a motorhome. Everyone we meet at the RV parks are extremely welcoming and helpful. If you ever get fed up with America and think our country is on the verge of collapsing, just go to an nice RV park. You will realize that there are amazing people ready to help their neighbor and just beautiful places in the country to explore. Next stop, Roswell, New Mexico, 366 miles to go.

The Road Not Taken…and in an RV!

I’ve always wanted to go across the country in an RV. Who knew it would take a pandemic to encourage me (and my family) to actually book the RV and then book the RV sites. So many people have commented, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to do that!” Well, I guess we were crazy enough to actually do it.

We started planning this trip back in December, 2020, at the height of the pandemic. I asked my son Casey what would be his dream vacation for 2021 and he said, “let’s rent an RV.” So, we did. If anything, COVID-19 has made the world focus on what is really important and enjoy every minute of every day.

If you are have no idea where to start, sites like and and are great places to rent an RV. Turns out you don’t need to know anything about RVs to have one. (Kind of like having kids.)

Seriously, there is so much information out there for beginner RVers, that with YouTube and Amazon, there is no excuse not to take that RV trip that you’ve always wanted to take.