Wrapping it Up

We arrived safely home after a 17-hr car ride from Niagara Falls back to Apex, NC. Going through customs took a bit longer, but the kids were less nervous.

We spent time doing our last devotional together, reading, watching movies, and reflecting on our journey.


When we are on the road, we cook in Alice, as much as we can. I admit, we don’t do the best job of relaxing by the fire, singing songs and roasting nightly s’mores. Typically, by the time evening arrives, we are exhausted. (We do love campfires on local camping trips!) As we mentioned in the last blog, we use our Instant Pot, often. One of our new recipes was sautéed red potatoes, and they were delicious.

We love using real dishes and silverware when we can, rather than using throw away. Besides avoiding waste, ours were my grandmother’s. I remember eating corn flakes, and maybe liver mush, a time or two, from them at her table.

And Steven had fun trying to recreate this Airstream advertisement from the same era. Route 66 apron, barefoot and cooking.

Sometimes Things are Gray

Spending 24/7 together brings raw emotions, the need for navigation, and the fortitude to move forward, rather than staying stagnant. Sometimes things are gray, but we are learning that we have to look out farther into the future to navigate the storm. For Steven and I, this is especially important.

Road trips like these take energy, communication, teamwork and the ability to pull each other and our children out of our own “personal ditches” to avoid missing out on the current blessing. It’s especially hard when we are tired.

The ability to ying, when the other yangs, becomes an art. But we keep climbing, one step at a time. Often, that single step allows us to change our mood through keeping our eyes up.

Thy Word

We find on days we start with a family devotion, it helps us to restart. Going on these journeys teaches us to hold our “Plan A” loosely in our fingers. It teaches us that although we have a navigation system, we are not in control of our lives. This is a great reminder for every day, as well.

As we read, this navigational system is deployed, when we are saturated in God’s Word. Then, He provides light for our feet, and for our path. We talked about walking in darkness and how our fear and worry increases. Trusting in God’s plan, shows us not only the next step, but also which way to turn at a crossroad.

What We Learned

We discussed our adventures together, our firsts, what we loved, and learned about each other.

Piper Kate

  • Overcame her fear of riding the train and was so proud of herself
  • Went through border patrol
  • Rock climbed a mountain
  • Discovered she’d love to be a “Chocolatearian”
  • Read almost 6 books, including two Harry Potter
  • Loved playing and reading in a fort Brady built in the car, and playing card games in Alice


  • Loved rock climbing, especially rappelling
  • Passed through border control
  • Loved being buried in the sand at Sand Beach
  • Worked with Piper to eat 2 large bags of potato chips from the Route 11 factory within 20 minutes! (Sea salt were his favorite.)
  • Learned Piper could be nice!
  • Made a sign for our chickens

Steven and Amanda

Steven was proud of himself for jumping into the 50 degree water at Sand Beach, continuing his corny Dad jokes, pulling a camper from Niagara Falls to Apex in a day, and loved rock climbing. His recommendation for camping is to allow kids to explore. He loved giving the kids walkie talkies, and maps of the campground and watching their independence and confidence grow as they figured it out together.

And I love the sense of adventure these trips bring. Knowing it’s ok to not have it all figured out and that Plan B, or even Plan C might be best. When I reflect, I was truly alive, and living in the moment, feeling every emotion. I was rock climbing and felt my heart racing, praying for safety, as we were driving in bad storms with traffic, feeling the breeze on my face at Sand Beach and, and learning history and cancer research. I am often guilty of not living in the moment in my day-to-day life, and I love these reminders.

Why I Blog

I am not a writer, and appreciate you following our adventures. I often struggle with remembering details and have found that blogging keeps them fresh. This is my labor of love for my children. Please don’t think we are being boastful, we are thankful for our blessings. I want our children to remember these adventures, and their personal accomplishments.

Last year, I found a company in France, Blook, who bound our blog into a hard back book, which I gave to each child.

So, until our next adventure, we hope we have encouraged you to take that next step towards the dream you have.

Just one step, that’s all it takes.

With love, the Rhodes family


7 thoughts on “Wrapping it Up

  1. What an amazing gift these adventures are for your family – and the blogs are for all of us – to get to experience just a little bit of it with you! Glad you are back! Until next adventure!!! Xoxo.


  2. Amanda, Love the book. Your children will cherish this forever. And if you are not a writer you should be. Each time I read your blog it touched me and I was inspired. God Bless you and your beautiful family!!
    Love, Debbie


    1. Thank you so much, Debbie. I am really hoping I missed going to Rochester when I was younger, because I don’t remember it! I have been racking my brain since Maria mentioned it. I appreciate your encouragement and you following along. I guess the blog is a bit of a creative outlet for me as well. Thank you for your investment into us as children. Love, Amanda


  3. I love your stories and reflection. I’ve too am a planner, a doer and sometimes get too caught up in the missed little moments. I have really been working on that this year. It’s always a good time to grow!


  4. I’m so glad that you all are home safely and had so many experiences, learn so many lessons and are closer than ever!! Thanks for sharing your adventures and your heart. I love you guys!


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