Airstream · Apex, NC · Cross Country Trips · Family Adventures · National Parks · Road Trips

Wrapping it Up

What We Learned

We spent 5 weeks together, with 0 breaks, driving 6,500 miles across 20 different states, and visiting 6 National Parks.  We are not perfect.  We are a family!  Most importantly, we grew together, and love each other MORE! 


It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t hard. It was amazing. It wasn’t always fun. But, we lived it together. We laughed. We cried. We sang. We prayed. We hugged. We played. We rode. We hiked, and we ate (lots!), and, we truly lived. We didn’t go through the emotions, we lived them.

We started our trip in prayer, and last night when we arrived after 11pm, did the same.


We are grateful to our employers, McKesson Corp., and PSNC Energy for supporting our dreams, and are thankful for supervisors and coworkers/friends who gave us wings.

Steven would like to thank Steve B. Jerry O., Mike K., Greg S., Scott L., and others who supported behind the scenes.  And, those who followed along!

Amanda is grateful for the steadfast support and encouragement of Derek R. and Reagan T., as well as Steve M., Jen R., Christina F., Joe B. and John P., who kept the wheels on the bus.

Thank you also to our family and friends, who sent us texts to check in, called, and prayed for our safety.  We felt the prayers and love you so much!


We will be processing this experience for months, or even years, and hope that we can serve to encourage you to live your dream(s)…now.

We cannot put “it” off. We may not be healthy enough during retirement.  My Dad only lived a few years after he retired, and he and my Mom didn’t get the chance to “dream” together and do “it. That lesson was one of the last gifts he gave me.  The reason to do “it,” now...whatever the “it” may be for you.

Let’s Have Less, and Experience More.


Growing Together

We brainstormed ways that we grew individually, and as a family and here is our list:

  • Went white water rafting, even though we were a little nervous, and Brady rode the “bull” on front of the raft!
  • Rode ATV’s.
  • Brady learned to hook up the camper and was super helpful when we arrived and left.
  • Piper learned how to be away from home,  and especially Pepper (her favorite chicken).
  • Biked together in a variety of cities.
  • Experienced claustrophobia in a coal mine! (Not all good!)
  • Took the risk and did it, leaving work behind.
  • Confronted our fear of heights, through going up into the John Hancock center in Chicago.  Admittedly, we may not have totally conquered them.
  • Piper started brushing her hair by herself, and now wears a Navajo headband, and her hair down.
  • We increased the number of miles we can hike together.
  • We had a chance to talk more about our faith, during family devotion time.
  • We experienced lots of adversity and prayed our way through it (I.e. almost losing the bikes in downtown Chicago, no power, lost, rain, camper challenges).
  • We figured out what we were doing once we got in the car, without an outlined plan, and followed our family’s pace…not trying to see it all.
  • Brady completed his postcard journal, sending his “older self” pictures of where we went, and describing it. Piper kept a written journal.
  • We learned a lot about the animals, nature, environment, and geology in our amazing National Parks.
  • We fought and forgave, and fought and forgave.

We experienced God’s Grace through the beauty we saw,

laughter we heard, and joy we felt. 

Thank you for traveling along with us.  We are forever grateful. Please lets know how we can encourage you to live your dream!

Piper ran to see Pepper Roja, as soon as we got home. IMG_1649

Our Campgrounds for Future Reference: Let us know if you need more specifics.

  • Cincinnatti, OH-  Winton Woods Campground – (Spacious, and lots to do.)
  • Chicago, IL Chicago McCormick Place (Felt safe, close to the city. a parking lot that has 24-hour security.)
  • Rochester, MN – Autumn Woods ( Convenient to Mayo Clinic, if needed in the future)
  • South Dakota, Custer State Park –  (Blue Bell Campground) (LOVED. Ranger programs in our backyard. Spacious campsites. Kids could bike to the general store.)
  • Cody, WY – Diamond Double X Ranch – Family owned operation. Very loving. Great accommodations.
  • West Yellowstone, MT – Rustic WagonNice folks, but what you would expect within a small town.
  • Jackson Hole, WY – Virginian RV – Campground was in town, and close to everything.
  • Salt Lake City, UT – KOA – Great location. Train stop is across the street. Easy to get downtown.
  • Bryce Canyon, UT – Ruby’s RV – Great campground, and biking and shuttle distance near the park.
  • North Rim Grand Canyon, AZ – Kaibab CamperRVillage – First come, first serve, but we were lucky to get a spot.
  • Albuquerque, NM – KOA – Did a great job with late check in’s. Had staff to welcome us and show us to our site.
  • Amarillo, TX –  Oasis Campground and Resort – Loved this campground. Made it super easy to get in and out.
  • Sallisaw, OK – KOA – Met our needs, but wouldn’t have a reason to go back.
  • Memphis, TN – Graceland RV – Tight campground, with spots that are close. Didn’t spent more than a night, so it was fine.
  • Nashville, TN – Jellystone Campground. We have stayed at Jellystone campgrounds in the past, but this one didn’t have the same family feel. It may be though that our kids are getting older.

13 thoughts on “Wrapping it Up

  1. I am so glad you are home safe and sound. Won’t sleeping in your own beds tonight feel amazing?! What a wonderful journey to take together as a family. I enjoyed following along from here! xoxo


  2. What a beautiful, heart warming summation of your “Rhodes Family Adventures”!! I’m so proud of you and Steven for maneuvering over many “rocks in the road” to make this trip a reality. You have not only given Brady and Piper memories for their lifetime but taught them to give God the praise and glory for what they have experienced all along the way. You are very deeply loved and admired!!
    Mom and Mike


  3. I can’t bear to see it end….it has been a JOY to meet you and follow you with your dream….
    You are right about DO IT NOW…….God Bless you all ….Keep your faith and PRESS ON toward other dreams and know GOD loves you and HE was your guiding force ….
    Blessings ,
    Loraine L Rowe


  4. Welcome Back! The boys looked out the window, and said, “Brady’s home!” Glad you are home safe and sound. What wonderful amazing memories and experiences you have given your children. That is something your family will treasure forever. I still talk to Mark and the kids about the great times my parents, sister and I had in our RV growing up. There’s nothing like it. I can only imagine traveling across country. I was not able to keep up with your travels as often as I would have liked, but I plan to backtrack. I wanted to look through it with the kids so they (and I) could see what’s here in our own backyard (maybe a little further). 🙂 I was hoping it might spark some interest. Thank you for sharing your adventures!


  5. Sounds like a rewarding trip. So happy for your family. And that you are all home safe. Hope getting back to “normal” is not too hard.


  6. What an amazing trip with amazing vision for your family! You guys are really neat parents with some great kids. I’m so glad that you took this trip, grew closer to each other and closer to God and that Brady and Piper will have a broader background as they receive their education. You all are a blessing! I’ve enjoyed the story of your journey and Amanda’s good blogging skills! We love you bunches!


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