Traveling Family Learns Lessons on the Road
The numbers speak for themselves: two parents, 13-year-old twin daughters, three dogs, 180 square feet of living space in an RV, 34 states visited, 6,378 photos taken and more than 14,000 miles traveled.
But, according to a report in the Business Gazette, Gaithersburg, Md., if Jamie and Diana Clements had been that worried about squinting at digits, they wouldn't have made their daughters Karolina and Noe into Open Road Scholars.
The Clements decided that before their twin daughters entered high school, they wanted to give them a different kind of education.
Instead of reading about the Rocky Mountains, the hypersaline Mono Lake and downtown Boston at a desk, they wanted Karolina and Noe to get to know them up close.
"We got more hands-on," Noe said.
Over the course of a year, the Clements eventually settled on a roughly clockwise course. Beginning on Aug. 18, it took them through California, the Pacific Northwest, the Plains and the Midwest. They plan to swing through the Northeast and the Southeast before traveling across Texas back home.
The trip is scheduled to last 18 weeks, about as long as a school semester, and end back in Santa Fe on Dec. 15. Every state except Hawaii will have hosted the Clements by the end of the journey.
The plan was to home-school Carolina and Noe while on the road, but the textbooks quickly took a backseat to places like Forks in Olympic National Park in the state of Washington, which is reported to be the wettest part of the United States and side excursions like a helicopter ride over Glacier National Park in Montana.
After doing laundry outside at RV campgrounds, setting off the carbon monoxide detector whenever she cooked and experiencing living quarters that simply could not be kept clean, Noe Clements appreciates the special experience she has had when she talks with her friends.
"They could never imagine living in an RV," she said.
Jamie Clements, meanwhile, managed to maintain his work as a fundraiser for art museums, with the help of a finely tuned meeting schedule with clients in places like a Niagara Falls gift shop. Diana Clements kept up her career as a sculptor and collected 100 pounds of rocks to use in future projects.
The foursome has also formed unique parent-child and sibling bonds that can only come through sharing such intimate spaces over so many miles.
"I think it's made us stronger," Diana said. "…there are no secrets in an RV."