Stage 2: States West of Arizona is complete. Join us as we look at the facts and count the costs of our 50 state challenge.
Stage 2 (States West of Arizona) Stats
Days Traveling – 36 (April 1 through May 6, 2012)
States Visited – 8
Miles Driven – 5,069
Hotel Nights – 10
Restaurant Meals – 7
The Cost (Financially Speaking)
Food – $1460.11
Gas – $1407.56
Lodging – $1282.98
Gifts – $37.00
Park Fees – $8.00
Total – $4195.65
Have you ever had obstacles in your life? We had plenty to work through on the continuation of our 50 state challenge. Our plans changed a bit when we discovered, to our joy, that we would be adding another Funhog to the family. In order to finish off the continental states before Jodi’s third trimester we were required to be home by May 14th. This meant we would be traveling during April and would have to deal with winter conditions in some of the western states. Our first couple nights in California the temperatures were in the low 20s at night, which is pretty cold with little kids in a tent. At Crater Lake and Yellowstone we found white out conditions as the snow storms were heavy enough to keep us guessing if we would make it through. The winds in Las Vegas, Death Valley, and Vantage, Washington reached up to 78 knots mangling three tents. It rained at least ten days while we were on the road requiring hotel stays. One child, Tirzah, put a rock up her nose which required family surgery and Sydney, our 5 yr old, swallowed a very large chewable vitamin which lodged in her throat until she eventually threw up. Not to mention, gas reached an all time high of over $4.00/gallon in many places we drove through.
You might think we had a terrible trip with all of those obstacles, but we did not. I actually count all of those things as joy. We made so many amazing memories through the hardships and through the fun. Since it was so cold, we did not have many bugs to deal with (except for a couple ticks in Washington and Montana). I got to go kayaking a couple times and was able to take two of our kids kayaking over some smaller waterfalls which was incredible. We also went rock climbing as a family. One of the best parts of the whole trip was the truly wonderful people we got to meet along the way. Our dear friends the Silverbergs shared Yosemite with us (priceless), the kids met tons of other playmates in all the camps we stayed in (hi Phoenix & Jessica), and we met a great family in Spokane while staying with some old friends. We were even able to meet up with my parents in Glacier National Park.
On each side of our trip we got a reminder why we are doing it. Life is so precious. A month or two before we left our truly amazing neighbor, Bob, passed away. He loved our kids, and we all loved him. His favorite thing in the world was giving each child a cookie when he saw us, which was daily on our walks around the neighborhood. We actually had to fight him to keep from giving them cookies sometimes (though he almost always won). He was so full of life, being 80+ years young, and one of the biggest kids we knew. Then the week we got home another friend from work, Neil, also passed away. Neil also always had a smile on his face and a deep contagious laugh for all to hear. He was young, only just turning 40. The passing of both these great guys remind us that life is so precious and short. It will pass you by if you are not intentional in making the most of it. We don’t have a lot in material things, but what we do have is priceless, and we want to invest in our family while we can.
Right now, we are preparing to have a new baby and investing in relationships. What are you investing in? What kind of summer plans are you making? We’d love to hear, and we’ll get back soon as we plan our last 2 states – Alaska & Hawaii!! Anyone want to join us?