When we first started planning this trip last year we quickly came across the Families on the Road (or FOTR) website. FOTR.com links to the blogs that families maintain while on the road, and I used Google Reader to subscribe to all the active ones so that we could easily keep up with them. My hope was that we’d both learn tips about living on the road as a family and also have some chances to meet up with some of them.
That happened this week.
It’s funny how God works. Our visit with my parents was coming to an end. We knew we wanted to get to San Antonio to visit another family on the road (more on that later), but just couldn’t make up our minds about how to get there or when, exactly, to leave. We didn’t feel prepared with a good stock of groceries and in general just felt directionless. Then around suppertime I was lazily checking Google Reader and saw a new post from one of the family blogs that mentioned being in the Rio Grande Valley where we were.
The family was the Ticknor Tribe, who are a family of 13 from Montana. Their oldest son is now living back in Montana so they are traveling with 10 kids, all of them living out of one fifth-wheel trailer (and yes, with one bathroom).
Checking the location of the RV park they mentioned we found it was ~ 25 miles up the road. Knowing Data and Miranda would love some time with other kids (and anxious to meet other adults crazy enough to live in a small box on wheels) I sent them an email seeing if they were interested in meeting up. Shortly after supper Dana (mom) responded with an enthusiastic yes and rather than try and schedule a place/time I just decided we’d pack up and head down the road all of 1/2 hour and overnight in the park they were in.
The next morning we said our goodbyes to my parents, got hitched up, stopped for some groceries and a few warm-weather clothes, and made our way over. Wouldn’t you know it - the spot right next to them was available.
What a blessing to spend time with this family! You’ll note the relative lack of pictures to go with this entry - that’s because we were far too engaged (as parents) in conversations to think about picking up the camera. The kids hit it off quickly and were off doing so many things in different directions that I lost track of it all. I know there was frisbee, football, jump-rope, sword play, ping-pong, keyboard playing, bananagrams, Uno and who knows what else.
My conversation with Vaughn (dad) ranged all over the board from church to trucks to work to homeschooling and parenting, and I think MsBoyink and Dana had a similar non-stop mom-fest.
Coming from a family of 3 kids I was enthralled watching how the Ticknors work as a large family. The old saw of “many hands makes light work” is so much truer when you have kids that so naturally pitch in to tend to the care of the little ones, bring dad grilling supplies, or help clean burrs off a brother who rolled in a field of them trying to get the ball.
And it wasn’t just me noticing this. Shortly after we got there, got setup, got the kids off playing, and had just gathered camp chairs around a neighbor man walked over. If you’ve spent time in RV parks you’ll know the type - a retired man with a hat and just a bit of gruffness to his demeanor:
“You the parents of these kids?”
Vaughn responded with “Yes sir”.
“Well, I just gotta tell you what great kids they are. You’ve done a fine job with them.”
We stayed up until 10:00, and then after breakfast the next morning stayed for another couple hours tapping Dana and Vaughn’s impressive experience traveling through the TX/NM/AZ area. We made many notes on our atlas that will help us figure out route west from San Antonio.
It would have been so easy to book another night or two, but it was time to move on. We hope to meet up again down the road, possibly up in Montana where the Ticknors are camp hosts over the summer months.
Thanks for the awesome visit guys - we felt so blessed, encouraged, and recharged after our time together. Happy Travels!