Hi! We’re happy to see you!
We are the Tepe family. We are originally from Ohio. Our family consists of my husband (Ben), myself (Sarah), our two boys, and a retired greyhound.
My husband and I are both in our early 40’s, with our boys in middle and junior high. We currently live in a 2, 369 square foot house. Ben has been wanting to downsize for awhile (he hates the yard work and all the trees that we have to keep cutting down).
We also had a few people close to us suddenly and unexpectedly pass away over the last several years. It made us want to grab this opportunity to give lasting memories to the kids while we still could. I certainly don’t feel old, but I have to stretch before I get out of bed and sometimes I snap, crackle, and pop walking up the stairs!
There is so much of this country that we haven’t seen. When we started talking about this idea last year, everyone wrote down where they wanted to go and we made our route using everyone’s ideas. We decided to head North and West first to try to get to the National Parks early in the season and then travel to stay in warm weather, while also missing some of the hurricane season down south.
We made a timeline of what needed to happen to make this work and also when we wanted to go to the places on our list.
Phase 1: We used a large laminated map (yay for Costco!) and a dry erase marker to plan our route.
Phase 2: The first big/expensive/integral part of our plan was to find a truck that could handle almost anything. However, it also needed to have good leg room in the backseat for the boys. We ended up getting a diesel Ram to make sure we had enough oomph in the mountains while towing. A few months later we added a cap to the truck to make the bed space more usable.
Phase 3: We then got the kids signed up for public online school. That has been a whole experience in and of itself.
Phase 4: We began cleaning out the extra stuff from the house and started getting it ready to list with a realtor. We rented a storage locker to store any items that we might want when we come back.
Phase 5: We spoke to a realtor about listing the house.
Phase 6: Planned to sell the house and leave in June for the trip! Everything is going pretty smoothly and more or less on time!
…Wait a minute…
Unexpected delay: COVID-19 hit and our plans got delayed. Out of all the possibilities we thought of (not finding the right truck or trailer, school, work not letting Ben go remote, money, etc.), a “once in a hundred years” global pandemic was not even close to being on our list. We have been lucky and have been able to social distance and work from home. We have managed to reroute to stay on course for most of our trip, but will be missing Washington, Oregon, Yosemite, and northern/middle California. I was really disappointed about all the sites we would miss: rail cars through the Redwoods, Alcatraz (this one was on everyone’s list to see), San Francisco… But I guess it will give us something to look forward to for another trip.
Although we are still social distancing as much as possible and wearing our masks when out, we were finally able to find our travel trailer. Our trip is on again, modified and delayed, but on again. We are now scrambling to finish getting the house up for sale and to reschedule the earlier parks.
This is going to be our trip’s story. I hope you enjoy it.
P.S. We will probably both be writing blog posts. We will try to sign them so you know who is writing them. There will probably also be a delay, at least in the beginning, on when things happen in real life and when the post goes out. We are juggling downsizing to a tiny home, getting our house ready to sell, and setting up the RV. I will try to write these as they happen, or at least jot notes down and finish later, but they probably won’t go up right way.