Slow Travel with Children

slow travel with children

Many people are hesitant to travel with children at all, much less undertake slow travel with children. I confess that with my grown children I attempted to undertake a slow travel lifestyle, but chickened out after 6 months. It wasn’t the cost, which was far less than what it was costing us to live in California. Nor was it the stress. I think we all enjoyed the adventure and the closeness. It was simply ignorance. It made my parents uncomfortable and I worried that my ex, the children’s father, would object. In typical me fashion, I let my fears override my feelings and decided we had to put down roots. But I always look back on that time fondly. Great memories.

With my youngest, now 14, we began a full-time rving lifestyle when my mom was dying of leukemia in 2012. We packed up and moved in with my mom and dad for 6 months as she went through the dying process. I helped Dad with the funeral and all the stuff that came after, then we went back to our home base for about a year.

Next, the boy’s dad had to move in with his parents, to provide end-of-life care.  The next three years saw the boy and me traveling between grandparents and our home base in 3 states. In the mean time, my older children married and one moved to Colorado. We averaged about 4-6 weeks each stop in California or Colorado, with varying stays at points in between, including our home-base in Arizona and even the odd vacation to Texas, Oregon, Florida, or elsewhere. As homeschoolers (road-schoolers now) this worked for us. As a location independent crafter and writer, it also worked for me.

Although organized sports was out for us (praise be!), the boy had played ice hockey for a year, non-stop, before we started out and decided that kind of rigor was not for him. Nor for me, as it turns out. Not to mention the expense. That has not prevented us from trying new things. In Colorado, we did Tae-Kwon-Do for 6 weeks. We go shooting (guns) when we visit my daughter and her hubby. We also ride horses with them. We love fishing and hiking. We have a pool in my dad’s backyard (above ground). The boy has a new interest in archery and we have found a couple of great places for drop-in lessons, one for $15, the other $5. Wow. There are several archery ranges we can go to, to practice for free. I have decided to love this sport. And it is another one we can take with us wherever we go. I have transitioned from downhill to cross-country skiing. I much prefer the pace and the cost – free in most areas, if you have your equipment. We also keep our bikes handy, for exercise and transportation.

The boy and I have taken trains since he was an infant. He can probably navigate the Metro better than I can. He keeps in touch with friends online and we try to meet up with friends in whatever area we find ourselves.

Although taking short trips with children can get expensive and tedious, I have to say slow travel is fantastic and no more expensive than staying “home”. Whether you take your home with you, as in rving or living on a boat, or get long-term rentals, as in several weeks at a time, slow travel with children is a great life!

 

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A Catholic Traveling

Oatman burro gets friendly outside of town

It occurs to me that I have not mentioned about our plans to get back on the road. When I first started the Catholic Traveller blog and website, the plan was to travel frequently and visit missions, shrines and other holy places, take lots of pictures and video, and share impressions, recommendations and interesting facts. Then my children became interested in horses and – nuff said. That batch of children is now grown and on their own. Now comes an opportunity to lighten up again and travel full time with my trailer for awhile. We will be traveling slow and enjoying the journey.

The new home: 1975 MeToo; bumper to bumper inspection before starting renovation

While the coming year is planned for the Western U.S., there will also be a few weeks in Wyoming, with a possible trip to New York and North Carolina, depending on finances and family situations. We are renovating a 28 foot RV and a 14 foot travel trailer – if you are interested in that process, you can follow it on Mrs. D’s Homestead, my other site, where we will also post more about full-time RV living, homeschooling on the road and minimalist, homestead-spirited living on the road.

Miner’s “cabins”, Calico Ghost Town, Yermo, CA

Catholic Traveller will continue to focus more on the places we visit and on our spiritual journey, as well as the challenges of finding Mass, confession and fellowship opportunities on the road.

Until next time, Happy Trails!

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Wild Horses of Route 66

Route 66, or more appropriate for this blog post, Will Rogers Highway, passes through miles of open range, BLM land and private ranch land in Arizona. The longest existing stretch of Will Rogers Highway is between Ash Fork, Arizona and Kingman, Arizona. This is where you can see herds of wild horses grazing alongside range cattle. If you’re lucky, you might even see a fast freight train on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line, bringing goodies to Los Angeles from all points east, while you’re stopped to admire the horses.

Talk about a Sunday drive! I get to see this herd on my way back to Ash Fork from Seligman, after playing for Sunday Mass there at St. Francis Catholic Church. Sometimes I even see them from Interstate 40 on my way there from St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Ash Fork.


This curious little fellow spies me and wants to know what I’m up to. The others studiously ignore me. I don’t believe that this is a BLM herd, so my guess is that they are owned by whomever holds the grazing lease on this particular stretch of land. I have come to think of them as “my herd” and look for them whenever I come this way. There is a certain water hole near a blocked off bridge where my youngest son and I have spent many a Sunday hour watching the trains and the horses while picnicking on sandwiches and fruit. 


Every year it is exciting to see the new foals and watch them grow. This year, with all of our wonderful rain, the horses had plenty of water to frolic and cool off in. I tried hard to get some good shots of them playing in the water, but they came out too blurry or too late. I’ll sure miss these guys when we head out on the road full-time. One more item on the list of heartbreaking choices I’ve had to make. I look forward, however, to discovering new herds in new places and especially to having some new adventures to share with you as we travel the Western United States and wherever else God in His good humor decides to take us on our pilgrimage of life.

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National Train Day in Williams, Arizona

The Grand Canyon Railway runs the Polar Express every Thanksgiving through New Year’s

Ever wonder where the Polar Express goes during the summer?  The Grand Canyon!  Actually, we stumbled upon the Polar Express at National Train Day in Williams, Arizona.  Every year the Grand Canyon Railway plays host to train buffs of all sizes.  Model railways are set up on display, the Harvey Girls come down from Winslow and a round-trip ride from Williams to Cataract Creek is only $15 for adults, $10 for children.  A grand adventure if you don’t want to do the all-day trip to the Grand Canyon and back or if you’ve never been on a train before.

Ladie’s fainting couch

I could not resist snapping shots of the “fainting couch” in the ladies room of the “Williams Flyer”.  The men’s room only had a single chair, but both facilities were far roomier than the current offerings on Amtrak.  The Flyer was Max and Thelma Biegert’s personal railcar, when they owned the Grand Canyon Railway (now owned by Xanterra).  On this day it was the display area for the Fred Harvey china collection, complete with live Harvey Girls, who were more than happy to give commentary and answer questions about the china, the Harvey Company and the hotels it built along the railway.

Harvey Girls and Fred Harvey china
To even begin to describe the romance of train travel to a world enamored of the personal vehicle is an insurmountable task and would take far more room than I like to give to a blog post.  If you’ve ever caught yourself watching a model train go round and round its track, or if you’ve ever sat down with a preschooler and gotten caught up in an episode of “Thomas the Tank Engine”, maybe you know what I mean.  Your next step would be to take a short train ride somewhere – not on a commuter train.  Perhaps you could take a short trip on Amtrak, or if your nearest train station has other options, give it a try.  You might get hooked!
 
Steam engine



Winslow Harvey Girls
P. O. Box 1
Winslow, AZ 86047 (928) 289-9110

The Winslow Harvey Girls are dedicated volunteers committed to preserving the history of Fred Harvey, the famous Harvey Girls, Mary Colter and the Santa Fe Railroad. They serve as meeters and greeters and ambassadors of goodwill for Winslow and Historic La Posada.
For tour information call Chris at (928) 289-9110 or Marie (detour agent) at (928) 289-3737. http://www.winslowarizona.org/Members.htm

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Blankets 4 Kids – Keeping Kids Warm in Prescott, Arizona

A sock monkey peers over the top of a fleece blanket, rolled up and tied with a pink ribbon.  Children scream with delight as they scramble for a seat playing musical chairs.  Free hot dogs, coffee and cookies tempt browsing parents as they choose from the many handmade and gently used blankets, jackets and other items at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Mission’s Children’s Day.  The church, located in Ash Fork, Arizona, 54 miles west of Flagstaff and 50 miles north of Prescott, is playing host to Blankets 4 Kids, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that collects and distributes blankets, scarves and hats to needy families in the Prescott area.  
The brainchild of Ron Campbell of Prescott, Blankets 4 Kids serves organizations throughout the surrounding areas, including Head Start, Women’s Shelters, Pregnancy Centers, Police and Sheriff’s Departments and local churches to name a few.  Blankets, hats and scarves are collected from drop-off points throughout Prescott and Chino Valley, see http://blankets4kids.org/dropboxes.html for a complete listing.

 
 
Volunteers collect, clean and sort donations.  Children’s blankets are “packaged” with a stuffed toy and other “surprises” tucked away inside.  One little boy’s face lit up when he opened his hand crocheted rainbow colored blanket and pulled out a soft yellow hat and scarf, just the right size to keep him warm next winter.
 
For more information, to donate money, blankets, hats or scarves, or to schedule an event for Blankets 4 Kids, contact Ron Campbell at 928-541-0483 or 4kid@cableone.net.  Visit the website at http://www.blankets4kids.org.
 
 
 

 

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