Final Stat List: 1 Year Of "Hitting Pause"
If you've been following our journey, then you know I'm a sucker for stats and fun facts (the boys would chime in here: "did somebody say suckers?!"). On June 15, 2017 we jumped in Spud, our '86 Westfalia, drove through a start line made of toilet paper (thanks neighbors!), and peaced goodbye to the tenants that were going to be taking over our house for the year. Thus began our adventure that took us to many beautiful spots, reunited us with family and friends, and created long-lasting memories for our family. And let me tell you, the trip was so freaking fantastic I can't even find the right words other than that to describe it. So let's get to it - I've gone ahead and compiled a juicy stat and fact list rounding out our one year on the road. You're welcome!
Departure Date From Home in Durango, CO: June 15, 2017
Date We Arrived Back To Durango, CO: June 9, 2018
Move-In Date (Back into our House): June 29, 2018
Miles Chip drove: 21,278
Number of Miles I Drove: 0
Oil Changes: 7
Spud Upgrades During Trip: 2 Pop-top Tents, burlier tires, better solar panel, bass.
Age of Children: 3 when left, 4 when returned
Most Remarkable/Unique Places Visited: Alabama Hills CA, Mono Lake CA, Carlsbad Caverns NM, La Paz Baja - Whale Shark Swimming, Cliffs of Moher Ireland, Descend on Bend (OR) Van Fest, Redwoods CA, White Sands National Monument NM
Things We Gave Up: Besides showering (just kidding, mom!) meat, Facebook, news/newpapers/radio, TV (minus Mad Men & Stranger Things...) and I suppose you could say I gave up driving for the year (ha!)
Items Run Over: Toolbox (night 1), Phone (Chip's in the Tetons)
States Visited: 18
Countries Visited: 4 (US, Canada, Mexico, Ireland-me & my mom)
Numbers of Friends/Family's Houses We Stayed in/at: 22 (THANK YOU!!!)
Number of Times We Used An Alarm Clock: 3 times
New Friends Made: Impossible to count
When Asking The Boys What They Loved The Most They Say: Campsites & Hawaii (that video though...see below! Gets me every time)
National Parks/Lakeshores/Monuments Visited: 19...Great Sand Dunes, Mount Rushmore, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Pictured Rocks, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Waterton Lakes (Canada), North Cascades, Olympic, Redwoods, Yosemite, Devils Postpile, Sequoia, Pearl Harbor, White Sand Dunes, Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns, Gila Cliff Dwellings. Along with dozens of State parks.
Number of Times Someone Fell Out of the Top Bunk: 2 (Reid-1, Bennett-1)
Most Cherished Moments: My head is full of SO many - from stumbling upon Island Lake, Canada during the eclipse to celebrating the boys' 4th birthday in Big Bend to the countless number of people we befriended on the road to the rainy day/night in Tillamook State Forest, Oregon. That time when both the boys learned how to swim, loud dance parties in Spud to an unforgettable Westfalia gathering in Washington to millions of Mexican free-tail bats flying over our heads to swimming at the Millennium Park ponds in Castlegar BC...the list could go on forever.
Number Of Times I Wore Make-up: 5
Birthday Locations: Lindsay - Grand Teton National Park. Boys' - Big Bend National Park. Chip: Lone Rock Campground, Utah
Worst Driving Moment: The REALLY BAD stretch of highway in Baja Norte. It was so bad we almost said 'eff that, let's turn around!' No, actually we did say that but almost acted upon it
Best All Around State: Oregon! At least it was during mid-Sept through mid-October. Great weather, amazing state park campgrounds, scenic coast, and no real crowds to battle.
Naps Taken (Boys): 337
Oddest Place We Napped: A hospital parking lot - The security guard came to kick us out right when the boys were waking up
The Only Month I Did Not Work: February (otherwise I averaged 5-7 days a month)
The Only Month Chip Worked: October (for one day!)
Chip's Extended Alone Time For The Year: 9 days driving & surfing his was back north in Baja (a combo of alone and with friends)
Total Number of Pageviews On Our Blog: 22,000+ (thanks for tagging along!)
Blog Posts Published: 37 and counting!
My Extended "Alone" Time For The Year: Ireland with my mom (*blog posts coming soon!)
Hardest Moments With Kids: Believe it or not it was never while we were driving - they LOVE road tripping. But I'd say the hardest moment for me was bedtime. It got much better over time but took awhile to establish a solid bedtime routine that stuck, especially when the sun didn't go down until 10 pm in the summer and because they were both up in the top bunk together (I get it, it's like a fort up there!)
Jib Poop Count While Driving vs Stopped On Side Of The Road: 6 Times; 13 Times
Number of Times We Camped in Someone's Driveway: 6. Thank you VW community.
Coldest Night of Camping: Descend on Bend - October - between 14-18 degrees (BRR, and it snowed)
Hottest Night of Camping: Big Bend National Park - March - mid 90's and no breeze
Illnesses: 2 rounds of colds
Number of 'Flying Jib' Pics: I lost count at 56 (I'm smelling a collage of some kind!!!)
The One Thing I Missed Using The Most: An oven to cook Papa Murphy's pizza on (it's seriously good, we've already had it three times since being home...)
Gas $ Spent: $3000
Fresh Berries Picked & Eaten In The Wild: Blackberries (literally gallons in the PNW), Thimbleberries, Mulberries
Total Random Acts of Kindness Completed: 307 (And we have them all written down...someday we will post! So many good memories associated with our RAKs)
Our Photographs Were Taken By: Samsung Galaxy 6S and Sony NEX (2012 model)
Things We Found: $10 in the ocean (Hawaii), GoPro near beach (Hawaii), iPhone (Ohio, successfully returned!), a buff (Austin), two pairs of flip flops (Hawaii), klean kanteen (Lost Coast, CA, the boys' current water bottle), a yoga mat (Glacier dumpster, cut and used for extra padding on top bunk), computer bag (dumpster outside Goodwill, near Show Low, AZ) , tweezers, a lot of kid toys on various beaches, and 1,327,004 hair ties (the boys gift them to me daily)
Favorite National Parks (let's see if this has changed since the '6 Month Stat List'): Glacier, Waterton Lakes, and Big Bend. Also, honorable mention: We LOVED White Sands National Monument
Average Hours of Sleep We Got a Night: Parents - 9, Boys - 11
What Made The Trip Extra Special: Yes, the sights but really it was the friends, family, and new people we met along the way that truly made it memorable. Thank you, people!!
Longest Time Spent In Any One Place: 59 days - Oahu, Hawaii
Items The Boys Need To Road Trip: Music, each other, and a window to look out
Items The Boys Need To Air Travel: A couple cars, crayons/coloring book, music, clay, snacks, and two suckers for the descent
Toy That Saw The Most Love (Also, Best Toy That EVER Existed): Our Two Tonka Dump Trucks (!!!!)
Biggest Surprise: Baja (we actually briefly thought we might not survive - thanks media/news) but there is something magical about Baja
Biggest Surprise in Baja: But please note, there is A LOT of trash in Baja. So much plastic, and junk that makes me cringe
Number of Walmart Parking Lots We Slept In: 1 and done - Texas
Favorite Camping Spots: High above Detroit Oregon, Lake of the Ozarks MO, Belly River Canada, Lumsden outside Yosemite, Hacienda de la Habana Orange Grove Baja, Two Medicine Glacier, La Gringa Baja, Kickapoo Caverns State Park (bats!), Gila Hot Springs NM, Cape Lookout State Park OR
Pictures Taken: 5,216
Most Used Apps: iOverlander, Torque (to monitor Spud), Youtube red (offline tunes), Airbnb, Instagram
Number of Shirts Chip Left With: 4
Number of Shirts Chip Came Home WIth: 5 (we both gained one at Westy Werks in San Luis Obisbo, CA)
Regrets: Just one...I wished we would have continued camping until the tenants moved out of our house on July 1st. We came back three weeks early to a wildfire north of Durango that has been keeping us inside most mornings until the smoke clears around noon. Not to mention some other bad luck...
Chip's Weight on June 15, 2017: 199
Chip's Weight on June 15, 2018: 165 (yeah, he's a scrawn)
Most Unforgettable Experience: Hanging out with Baja's Gray Whales...Just an insanely awesome time!
Most-Listened-To Musician: Gregory Alan Isakov
Holidays Associated With A Place and A Long-lasting Memory:
Thanksgiving (with family) - Anaheim California
Christmas - Kayaking in Kailua, Hawaii
Fourth of July - Michigan with family
Halloween - Mammoth Lakes, CA
New Years - Kailua, Oahu crashing at a friend's house
Total Number of Haircuts: 23 - All were free except one, all were done by me except the three I had.
Takeaways: We feel the best when we are doing something nice for others, getting sucked in to technology is like quicksand, being outside is the best medicine (unless you have stomach cramps. In that case Pepto is the best medicine), keeping an open heart and mind when it comes to meeting new people, small sleeping spaces doesn't mean a small living space, music makes our heart dance, limit distractions, be more present, eat all our meals under the sun, less is more (sometimes...), and the feeling when arriving in a brand new spot or city or national park or lake or just plain ol' campsite really takes the cake of being the most exciting part about living out of your van.
The Hardest Part About The Year We Hit Pause? Our transition back home. Briefly put: It's painful to watch this season of our lives come to an end.
It was the best year our family experienced together To DATE! Seriously, I can't describe the amazingness that this year was for us.
What'd it All Cost? We spent about $39k total over the year. That includes groceries, gas, airfare, lodging (varying from camping to hotels/airbnbs), phone service, Spud upgrades, donations, happy hour drinks, 1 year subscription to Netflix (!), health insurance (co-op), etc.. That does not include the purchase of Spud, who was already a member of the family.
Would We Do It All Over Again? In a heartbeat. Should anyone be contemplating a switch up to their regular lifestyle then holler at me. I will tell you 1) it can be done 2) it will leave an imprint on your heart forever - the best decision we made for our family!
A Big Thanks to Everyone Who Has Encouraged, Supported, Housed, & Loved us Along The Way! We are Eternally Grateful For You!
Love, The Kellers