Where will you be?

25 Apr

IGreat American Eclipse mentioned the 2017 US Total Solar Eclipse in a post of top destinations last year.  But as we’re now less than 1.5years out, we’re actually starting to make plans to figure out where we’ll be on August 21, 2017.  I found this great website for the Great American Eclipse as they call it.  According to the site we’re only 482 days out from this monumental event.  My plan is to try to be in the path of totality for this eclipse, preferably camping and hiking in some beautiful wilderness.  It just so happens that the path of totality goes straight across Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  Two years ago now, we went on a family vacation in a rental RV to the American Southwest and it was an amazing experience.  Ever since we returned from that trip I”ve been trying to figure out where and when we were going to do it again.  The eclipse I think represents that next opportunity.  For that trip we rented a 30′ RV from Cruise America.  At this point it’s still a bit too early to know if by next summer we’ll have our own RV or will need another rental.  But either way I hope to be camping and hiking somewhere. Grand Teton NP is located just South of Yellowstone NP in NW Wyoming.  I would love to have another great family adventure hiking and exploring this beautiful area of our country.

As it turns out, the kids in their homeschool history lessons (1st and 3rd grade) are currently learning all about the US Corps of Discovery and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  This group was the first Europeans ever to set foot in this part of the country immediately following Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

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Click on the map to check out a zoomable pdf map with more visible details

As homeschoolers (wannabe worldschoolers and roadschoolers) we try to plan lots of educational experiences into most of our trips and recently vacations.  It would be an amazing experience to try to follow the Lewis and Clark trail from Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO, all the way up the Missouri River through Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota into Montana, and across the Rockies onto Idaho and Oregon before arriving at the Pacific Coast at the Columbia River.  This has the potential to be an epic family adventure!

It’s one thing to take a cross country family RV trip ( I did that with my parents and brother when I was 8 and he was 9).  But it’s something completely different I think to follow in the footsteps of the Corps of Discovery along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.  I can see the workbooks already that Joanne will put together to help teach the kids on our adventure.  I can see a plan where we would drive out west following the Lewis and Clark Trail all the way to the Pacific and then on the return trip drive back across the Rockies stopping in Grand Teton for the Eclipse and exploring Yellowstone, and then even driving through Badlands NP and Mount Rushmore and other sites on the way back home.  Unfortunately as epic as this trip sounds to me, it would be near impossible to do it justice with just my 3-4 weeks of vacation from work.  To that end I already started conversations with people at work about taking an extended sabbatical next summer to maybe take off an additional 4-6 weeks of unpaid vacation time. In that case we would be able to experience this trip over perhaps 2 full months next summer.

The next hurdle to look at is whether it would make sense to rent an RV for two full months or would we be better off buying an RV.  The first case would be to buy a used RV, use it for the trip and sell it afterwards.  This would probably be ultimately cheaper than simply renting for that long.  My ideal scenario though would be to buy an RV and then keep it as ROAM 1.0 as described previously.  But of course adding up buying an RV, and also paying for 4-6weeks of unpaid vacation etc, may get a bit steep.  I’ve got big plans, but now it is just a matter of figuring it out how to pay for it all.  What’s life without big dreams though?  🙂   For now though I’ll continue planning the perfect adventure.  I even bought a bumper magnet for my car to keep me on task.2017BumperMagnet