Epic Summer Adventure: From Indiana to the West Coast – Part 1

Welcome, fellow adventurers, to the chronicles of our unforgettable summer journey that all began with a TV show and a wild idea. Join us as we recount the hilarious mishaps, breathtaking landscapes, and unexpected surprises that defined our 27-day road trip from central Indiana to the captivating beauty of the West Coast. From battling frosty mornings at the Grand Canyon to encountering swarms of mosquitoes in unexpected places, our story is one for the books. So buckle up and let’s dive into the first leg of this epic escapade!


8437 miles


27 Days



Inception and Inspiration

The year was 2008 when Kris and I found ourselves captivated by a documentary on the Pacific Coast Highway aired on the History Channel. As we watched in awe, an audacious idea took root in our minds – we were going to embark on a road trip of a lifetime along this scenic route. But like many brilliant plans, this one simmered on the back burner until fate intervened in early 2009 when we were both handed unexpected pink slips.

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

Gustave Flaubert

A Bold Decision

With bills paid and an itch for adventure that couldn’t be ignored, we decided it was the perfect time to bring our road trip dream to life. Our two sons, aged 15 and 8, were out of school for the summer, making it an opportune moment to create unforgettable family memories. Little did we know, this journey would become a rollercoaster of laughter, bonding, and learning experiences.

Setting Off on the Open Road

On June 17th, 2009, armed with camping essentials and an overflowing sense of excitement, we loaded up our trusty Ford Escape and hit the road. Our initial destination? A KOA campground in Wakeeney, KS, a 13-hour drive from our Indiana home base. The winds that greeted us upon arrival were so wild that setting up the tent turned into a hilarious family bonding activity as we all squeezed inside to avoid getting blown away!

The Dunes of Wonder

Next up: Grand Sand Dunes National Park. Our journey took us through vast stretches of road, capturing the essence of the American Midwest. As we arrived at the dunes, we were greeted not only by their majestic beauty but also by a hoard of mosquitoes eager to welcome us. We embraced the sand and spent two exhilarating days exploring the towering dunes, a sight that filled us with wonder.

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.

Martin Buber

A Canyon and a Chilly Surprise

Our adventure continued with a 10 and 1/2 hour drive to Zion National Park. The Te-Ah Campground by Navajo Lake became our home for a few days as we marveled at the breathtaking scenery and ventured through the park, driving all the way through Zion ourselvesβ€”an experience that is now a cherished memory due to subsequent changes in park regulations.

But the real surprise awaited us at the Grand Canyon National Park. Expecting the warmth of mid-June, we awoke to frost-covered tents and a chilling reality: summer in the West was nothing like the balmy Indiana summers we were used to. Nights were spent huddled together for warmth, turning what could have been a cold setback into a source of hilarious family stories.

Legoland, Las Vegas, and Unexpected News

As we journeyed onwards, the adventure took us to San Diego, where we indulged in the whimsy of Carlsbad and the marvels of Legoland. Our next stop: the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. Amid the dazzling lights and energetic streets, we were reminded of just how far from the world we had traveled. Standing in line at the Stratosphere, we learned of Michael Jackson’s passing, a surreal moment that highlighted the stark contrast between our journey and the events of the outside world.

And there you have it, the beginning chapters of our epic summer adventure! Stay tuned for the next installment, where we delve into more escapades, laughter, and the magic of the West Coast. Until then, fellow travelers, keep exploring and embracing the unexpected, for it’s in these moments that the most memorable stories are born.


Snorkeling Adventure in Hawaii


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  • Rated 4 out of 5
  • Rated 5 out of 5
  • Rated 5 out of 5
  • Rated 5 out of 5


  • Snacks and Light refreshments.
  • Certified Professional Driver/Guide.
  • Gear: Snorkel, mask, fins and safety jacket.
  • Water activities: water slide, stand-up paddle boards, kayak.


  • No towels provided.
  • Roundtrip Transportation is available for $35.00 per person from the hotel.
  • USB with professional photos of the tour + $75.00 per group.

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