In less than two years, Dan and Susie Kellogg have logged tens of thousands of kilometres in their RV, and they’ve had plenty of company along for the ride: their 12 children.
With their eldest child, Kerry, 20, currently working in Colorado, the remaining kids aged between 18 years to 20 months have kept on rolling, with the latest leg of the family’s lengthy journey bringing them north of the border.
Joined by their three-year-old golden-doodle, there is no end in sight to the road trip that has spanned more than 91,000 kilometres.
The Kelloggs are kayaking enthusiasts, and the sport helped in part to inspire their journey.
“We were in Tennessee for a kayaking competition… and someone said: ‘We should do this forever — we should not go home,'” recalled Susie seated alongside Dan at their campsite in Toronto.
“We started talking about it and we realized nobody wanted to go home.”
Susie said they returned to Colorado, had a baby, tried to sell their home and hit the road — all within 30 days.
Travelling in a RV emblazoned with the words “Kellogg Show,” the family has visited more than two dozen states, and document their adventures on their website. To help with the planning of their Canadian travels, the Kelloggs partnered with Go RVing Canada, a non-profit association comprising RV manufacturers, component suppliers, dealers and campgrounds. They’re slated to make stops in Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
While their home is now on wheels, Susie said they still have all of their familiar comforts.
“Everybody knows when you’re travelling with kids, they have to go to the bathroom every five minutes and not everybody goes at once. And so you’re stopping more than you’re driving. And that doesn’t happen with the RV,” she said.
“They’re hungry, they open the fridge. They have to go to the bathroom, they go to the bathroom. The journey becomes part of the memory. It’s not just about the destination any longer.”
The family has visited a wide range of destinations, from camping in the sand in California to a recent first-time visit to Niagara Falls.
“We’ve been to really remote places where we’re dry camping to remote rivers and canyons and amazing places in the mountains,” said Dan.
The family is particularly fond of the Ottawa River, which is among their planned stops.
“It’s just big water and I love the waves that I can surf there, and it’s really safe,” said Kady, 15.
Susie said they make return trips to Colorado, where their kids still visit their dentist and orthodontist. Dan continues his work as a software engineer on the road and the children are homeschooled, much of it done from books with considerable focus on reading and writing, Susie said.
“Everything else from diesel mechanics to history to geography is done on the road. You learn so much just stopping in various places and meeting new people.”
“We call it road schooling. It’s like hands-on learning,” Dan added. “Instead of just reading about something in a book, you actually get to see it and touch it and experience it.”
Susie said what has surprised them the most about the trip is how much closer it’s made her family.
“It’s amazing just watching the kids just with their ability to open their hearts and have compassion for other people and each other now that we’ve been living in a close space for so long, and travelling and meeting new people and seeing new places and learning about other cultures.”
Enthusiasm for the trip has translated to the younger Kelloggs.
“It’s just so much better than being at the house,” said Maddy, nine, who said their visit to Cascade, Idaho helped take away her fears of kayaking.
Eldest son Grady said he and his brother Brody are looking into the possibility of getting a small RV themselves.
“I like travelling way more since we’ve been doing it, and I definitely feel that I’ve found what I want to do in life with video editing and game programming as well as kayaking.”
Dan and Susie feel that RV life has afforded them more flexibility and the luxury of being able to travel at a more gradual pace — and at a cost that’s budget-friendly.
“We hadn’t taken a family vacation to the beach in about seven years before we had bought this because we were just priced out of it. We literally have to stay in three hotel rooms or rent a house,” Susie said. “To stay on the sand, on the beach … a couple of steps and you’re in the ocean was $60 a night. That’s unbeatable.”
Susie said there’s a misperception that individuals need to be outdoorsy to go RVing.
“You can enjoy all of the things of camping like the campfire and the swimming and the time with family, and then when you’re done and it’s raining, you go inside and you have all of the comforts of your own home. You’ve got your bed and your A/C and your kitchen. It’s for anybody.”
By Lauren La Rose, The Canadian Press — Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter.