11,000 Miles: The Long Road Home


The long road home

After weeks of driving, exploring, and introducing Rylan and Roman to their country, Tina and the kids had had enough of spending their summer days watching the miles tick by in the truck. For them, the adventure was over and it was time to go home and get ready for a new school year. With thousands of miles left to go, I dropped them at the airport in Denver, and Kai and I set out on the long road home.

First through Kansas, then Saint Louis, then Nashville, and finally a very long day and a hard push back home to Port Saint Lucie.

Dinner at Wilson Lake, Lucas Park Recreation Area, Kansas

I counted up the days. We were away from home for 49. Tina and the kids saw 14 states and Kai and I saw 19. The total was eleven-thousand miles, almost exactly. We visited more than a dozen state and national parks. We met up with family members from both sides of the family for adventures in many places. We hiked during sunrises and into sunsets.

Coming home through Florida thunderstorms

By the end of day 6 of driving from Wyoming to Florida, I learned what “road weary” meant. The last few hours on the Florida Turnpike left me in a daze. Every bump in the road was magnified. The roar of the engine sounded different, like it couldn’t go on. The miles took longer and longer to pass by. I finally made it home around midnight – and as quickly as the trip of a lifetime came to be, it was over.

Would I do it again? Probably not. Not like this. I would have chosen 1/4 of the destinations, and spent much longer at each. Does this mean I regret the aggressive timeline? Not at all. We saw a lot of places and had adventures nearly every day. I’m glad we did this once in our lives, but I probably won’t do it quite like that again.

So what’s next for us, the truck, and the camper? I’m not sure. I’ll let you know next summer.

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