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Seven Months, 49 States: The Ultimate Family Road Trip

Amy Carney

Published on: June 23, 2014

"You’re doing what?"

Yes, our family of six has just embarked on a seven-month family sabbatical by motorhome around the United States of America.

And just why would we do this?

We are like most families these days: We spend most of our waking hours that the kids aren’t in school shuttling them around to various activities. With four tweens in competitive travel sports and music lessons, as well as a husband who works on the road — it is enough to make this mom’s head spin.

Not to mention the fact that the majority of our family time is spent divided up at tournaments, games and performances on weekends. It is the rare day to actually have nothing scheduled on the calendar. How did life get this busy?

Keith and I talked years ago about how exciting it would be to buy an RV and travel around the 50 states exploring as a family. We decided we’d do it when the boys were headed to 7th grade and baby girl to 6th. Certainly a fun dream to have, but would we really turn it into reality?

That time is here, and it came before we knew it. Our triplet sons just finished up their first year of middle school as our daughter bid farewell to elementary school.

Our family is giving up life as we know it and traveling across America’s highways in a quest for simpler times and family bonding along the way. We’re just taking a break from it all — the sports, the homework, the busyness, the monotony. It will be here no doubt when we return.

As a 17-year NHL defenseman, Keith spent a majority of the kids younger years on the road. After retiring in 2008, he was home a few years before joining the Chicago Blackhawks as their player development coach/scout. This job, once again, had him traveling a majority of the time. He just finished up his third season with the team and courageously put in his resignation in order to do this trip.

Our route is all mapped out for the first two months and then we plan to get a bit more flexible as we go. We will be heading through Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Idaho in the months of June and July.

the carney family at a KOA campground in Salt Lake City
The Carney family in front of their RV at a KOA campground in Salt Lake City

We have teamed with KOA (Kampgrounds of America) for our trip and will be staying at many of their family-friendly campgrounds, where activities abound in beautiful areas. We will be hitting all of the American icons such as Mount Rushmore and the Liberty Bell, and we can’t wait to spend time exploring New York and Washington, D.C. We are just as excited to spend time in the country at working farms in Iowa and seeing how life is in Arkansas and Vermont.

By the time we arrive home in January, our plan is to have spent time in 49 states (hitting 44 of them by RV) as a family. We will travel to Alaska for a spring break cruise to finish off seeing our entire country.

Taking a family sabbatical like this takes a lot of courage, determination, dedication and love for one another. It means the sacrifice of important things to each individual in order to pull this off.

If we don’t take time out now from our busy lives, we could end up full of regret when the kids all become adults in what will be here before we know it!

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