Being pregnant on the road definitely changed our trip. Even though we had decided to continue on with the road trip adventure, we did end up making some huge changes. First, we decided we would be more comfortable ending the trip earlier than we had planned in order to be home before entering the third trimester. There was a lot that would need to be done as soon as we got home- establish relationships at our chosen birth facility, find housing, purchase a family friendly car, buy baby gear essentials, and all things needed to transition into our new lifestyle after living in a van. With the pressure of all of these things building on us, we decided to arrive home by the beginning of November, cutting around six weeks of our original travel time off.
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You can fit a lot of miles and traveling into six weeks, so we now had to really re-work our entire travel plan in order to make it home within our new timeline. We prioritized the places we really wanted to visit and cut out all unnecessary places or filler destinations. But even still, we fit a LOT into the weeks we had left.
We explored Ottawa, Ontario and met up with some fellow vanlifers. We dreamily walked the streets of Quebec City, feeling as if we had suddenly made our way to France. We enjoyed free camping at “The Shire” in New Brunswick on land owned by a cool conspiracy theorist. We made it all the way to Nova Scotia and dipped our feet into the Atlantic ocean and ate the best italian pasta we’ve had since our trip to Italy. Then we headed back down to the States and enjoyed lobster and Acadia National Park in Maine and binged-watched Netflix while visiting friends in Pennsylvania before heading to Maryland for a huge family reunion.
Things got a bit crazy at this point. Corbin had to fly back to Portland for work for a couple weeks, and I decided to fly back to Idaho with Paris to stay with my family and get some rest while he was away. We met back up on the east coast again, visited with some other family members and prepared for some of the longest driving days we had done yet. Our goal was to make it to Lake Powell to meet up with his family by the end of the week.
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Skipping over the south was heartbreaking, but with the scare of the Zika virus taking place we knew we wouldn’t have enjoyed our time there anyways. Plus, it leaves us another trip to look forward to in the future! So, we booked our way across the midwest. The entire drive felt like one big race away from severe storms, we even drove through a tornado storm! But, we survived and eventually we made it to New Mexico, where we swam in the Blue Hole, ate some amazing tacos, and dealt with fuel pump issues that cost us a pretty penny.
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It was a long week, but we made it to beautiful Lake Powell where we met up with Corbin’s family to spend a week on an epic houseboat vacation. The next seven days were spent soaking up the sun, taking long jet ski rides to explore canyons, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, enjoying some breathtaking sunsets and of course lots of family time, good food, and a real bed.
After Lake Powell, we loaded back up into the van and made our way to sunny southern California to spend time with family and friends there. One of our closest friends hosted a gender reveal party for us and we found out our precious baby is a GIRL! We also went to a movie premier in L.A., drank mojitos (mocktails for me) at a rooftop bar in Laguna Beach, and Corbin and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary.
Watch: Shocking Baby Gender Reveal!
At this point we were seriously exhausted. We had planned to stop in Big Sur, San Francisco, the Redwoods, and then southern Oregon before heading home. But, after trying to work out the logistics of parking the van in SF, we realized we were just too tired to keep traveling and made the decision to book it up to southern Oregon for a brief visit with friends there and then head straight home. So, we made it to Oregon and it welcomed us like a familiar hug. We were home. We spent two days in Medford, OR driving through the fall colors of the Applegate and visiting our favorite winery. Then the day finally came, the day we arrived home.
We made our way to the Oregon Coast and after a long dark drive through the rain we pulled into the driveway of our temporary home. A real house on the coast owned by Corbin’s aunt who graciously is letting us stay here until we find housing in Portland. This place feels like a mansion compared to the van, with two bedrooms, a real kitchen, a fireplace, and just a short walk to the coast. We are in heaven.
After leaving our apartment in Portland just six months ago, I still can’t believe the many places we have visited, people we’ve met, and experiences and memories that will stay with us forever. We did it! We traveled around North America in a van and made it home! It was a seriously epic adventure, and we will be forever grateful for all that we’ve learned and to all the people who’ve helped us along the way. Now onto the next adventure.
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