Five Thousand One Hundred and Thirty Nine Miles. - My Family Travels
Mt Rushmore

Nineteen days, five thousand one hundred and thirty nine miles later, we finally arrived home.  Schaeffer vacations were never known to be endless weeks of beach resorts; but, even this was nothing like we’d ever done before!  In almost three weeks, we drove from San Francisco, California to our home in Old Bridge, New Jersey. With constant back seat fighting amongst my two brothers and me, there was never a dull moment.  We traveled through eighteen states.   Every day was a long drive and we stayed in a different hotel almost every night!  In our six-seater Dodge Caravan, we drove and drove and drove.  I thought we would never make it home!

Beginning in San Francisco, California, my family and I took the city tour, saw the Pacific Ocean and then began our way home to see the Atlantic Ocean! Traveling through California, we stopped at Yosemite National Park, as well as Sequoia National Park.  Enjoying the breath taking waterfalls in contrast to the jaw-dropping Sequoia trees we had a blast.  Continuing on to Nevada, we visited Death Valley National Park.  Panting in the dry heat of about 108 degrees Fahrenheit, we encountered a sandstorm.  It was quite bizarre to hear the thunder and see the lightening, but never to actually see the rain!  The blustering sand finally drove us out of Nevada.  And then another full day of driving brought us to Holbrook, Arizona, where we stopped at the Petrified Forest. Then into Utah, we drove.  Here, we admired the home of the Navajo Indians at Monument Valley.

Week two began, and the driving just continued.  My dad sat behind the wheel for almost a full day, as we drove into Colorado.  Rocky Mountain National Park was absolutely stunning.  It was one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever been!  And, there’s nothing cooler than a few Jersey folks, making snow balls in the middle of the summer. The inside jokes tripled as the days passed.  The vacation I’d dreaded because of the inescapable family time was turning out to be the highlight of my summer!

After leaving Colorado, my family and I certainly all dreaded what was too come.  We knew it all too well.  Driving, driving and more driving!  All the way up to Mount Rushmore we traveled.  On the way to South Dakota, the excitement dulled down for a short while.  But certainly once we arrived there, the energy came back and we were having fun!  Seeing the evening Mount Rushmore show was amazing.  It was spectacular to see the brilliant lights penetrate through the sculpture.

This is where the true test began.  Because we drove the northern route across the country, there was much too see after leaving Mount Rushmore.  Twelve hours straight, my dad drove through to Kansas City, Missouri.  With only a short night’s sleep, the next morning we got up and drove another eighteen hours home!  In almost three weeks, we traveled to eleven National Parks and Monuments, drove through eighteen states and completed the ever notorious cross country vacation.  Nineteen days, five thousand one hundred and thirty nine miles later, we finally arrived home!   My dad says next year’s vacation is the southern route!

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