McGovern's Cross-Country, North America RV Adventure (Part 1 of 2)

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We are embarking on a once in a lifetime, extensive journey across North America. When we returned to the US 4 years ago from international assignments in Europe and Asia, because all of our girls had started school in Germany, they were placed 1-year ahead of their age at Pocopson. It was our plan at the time to remove them from school for 1 year once our oldest daughter, Madison, completed 5th grade. Our logic is that we do not want her to be the youngest girl heading into Middle School! That time is now...Our plan is to give them a life experience outside of school for a full year, and then have them return to school in the 'age appropriate' grade. Thus, they will be out of school for 1 year, but will not skip the grade.

We originally began to plan a 'worldwide' tour, but it was just too much to cover! Instead, our plan is to travel North America by RV. Even trying to cover North America is aggressive, and it requires prioritization. We will sleep in every state (except Hawaii and Alaska, which will be saved for another day), in addition to Canada and Mexico. The trip will consist of 2 phases, or loops that both begin and end in West Chester, PA. Our first loop covers the Northern US and Canada, and the second loop covers the Southern US and Mexico. We will avoid most cities and will focus on seeing the National and State parks, and the vast nature and beauty of the country. Our plan is to be on the road for 255 days, and will cover an estimated 30,000 miles.

For our trip we purchased a 31 foot, Class C RV. I will save the RV introduction for our first blog! A guiding principal for us is that the journey is going to be as important as the destination. We plan to stay off of the interstate, and stick to the back roads. We plan to stop in small towns, not large cities. We plan to sleep under the stars, to make smores by the campfire, and to look out our window and see buffalo and other exciting animals that do not make Eastern PA their home. We are taking bikes, and will use them wherever possible on land. We will also take a kayak, and will use it explore the coastal waters.

Part 1 of the trip will span 114 days beginning on June 2, 2011 and ending on September 25, 2011. It will start and end in West Chester, PA, and the farthest point from home will be Olympia National Park in Washington State. You may scan the map below to track our itinerary, and we will update and publish the highlights of each stop with pictures and video at the end of every week. The plan is for the girls, Madison, Katelyn, and Emma to own the blog. They will each be keeping a detailed journal to record their daily experiences, and the blog will be a summary of that experience. In the end, a big goal for the year is for them to become better writers, and also learn to use technology. We also hope that this tool enables them to stay connected with their friends back home.

Here is a whirlwind summary of the planned highlights for Phase 1 of our trip: - Mystic Seaport in Connecticut - Cape Cod Massachusetts - Fenway Park in Boston for a Red Sox Game vs. Oakland - Plymouth Mass to see the site of the Mayflower - Arcadia National Park and the Maine Coastline - White Mountain in New Hampshire - Green Mountain in Vermont, including a tour of the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream facility - Adirondack Mountains in NY - The MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY - Niagara Falls into Canada - Sleeping Bear Dunes in Western Michigan - Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan - Sault Ste. Marie on the Michigan/Canadian border - The National Lakeshore in Munising Michigan - Apostle Island in Wisconsin - International Falls and Zipple Bay in Northern Minnesota - Across North Dakota, stopping at Devils Lake and Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Into Montana, stopping at hot springs and Indian reservations in the east, - Glacier National Park in NW Montana - North into Canada where the first stop is Banff National Park and the Icefield Parkway - Continuing north to Jasper National Park - Heading SW we will stop at Whistler Mountain before driving the famous "Sea-to-Sky" highway from Whistler to Vancouver Canada - Finally, back into the US where we weave our way to Olympic National Park in Washington State - Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens in Washington - Drive down the entire pacific coast of Oregon where we will ride the dunes and visit the Sea Lions - Redwood National Forest in Northern California - Crater Lake in Oregon - Lava Beds National Monument on California - On to Idaho where we will visit Lake Lowell, Bruneau Dunes, and Crater of the the Moon National Preserve - Entering Wyoming we'll spend 6 days in Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park - Heading east we'll see Devils Tower in WY - In South Dakota we'll see Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, and Badlands National Park - We have a long stretch in Nebraska where we'll stop at Lake McConaughy and Omaha - In Iowa where we will base ourselves in Marshalltown over Labor Day weekend - Camping along the Mississippi River in Illinois - South to Hoosier National Forest in Indiana - Continuing south into Kentucky where we'll visit Abe Lincoln's birthplace and childhood home, Mammoth Cave National Park, and a horse farm in Lexington - Heading northeast, we'll spend 1 night in West Virginia - We'll cross of the Ohio River as we proceed back to Western PA where we will head to Gettysburg Battlefield for 3 days of history - Finally, after 114 days and something close to 12,000 we will arrive back in West Chester, Pennsylvania! We will rest for a bit, and then we will leave for an even longer phase 2!

This is our plan, and we hope you choose to follow us and engage us with questions, suggestions, and recommendations based on places you have been! If our path involves a place that you are familiar with, please send us your suggestions!

  • This is the beginning of the...
  • Trip Details and Rankings!
Trip Start Jun 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 25, 2011

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