We are five days into our journey and we now have a routine that drives our days. Here is just a quick peek into the blueprint of daily bus life…life that is happening when we aren’t site seeing.
Our days begin between 7:00-8:00 am when everyone begins to stir. Actually if we are being honest our day begins when Tyler opens his eyes, because when Tyler wakes up no one can sleep! He always wakes with a joyful noise!
The first task is making beds and converting the futon back into a coach so we have walking room in the bus. Then everyone takes turns in the bathroom or in our bedroom getting dressed. We pick our color for the day and everyone grabs the corresponding rolled outfit from their bucket.
Once dressed everyone has a chore they must get done before they can have breakfast. Just like at home everyone takes ownership and responsibility in keeping our home clean. Each child has been given a daily cleaning task that is theirs for the duration of the road trip.
Grace is in charge of making the bunk beds.
Rusty is in charge of empting all the trash cans and taking the trash the dumpster.
Molly ties open the curtains that were closed for the night and windexes the finger prints off the door.
Ozzie Clorox wipes the bathroom sink and swishes the toilet clean.
And Tyler shakes out the mats and sweeps the bus.
While this is all going on I put dinner in the crock pot and lay out breakfast for the day.
Then everyone gets their breakfast and we are on the road. This morning routine takes us about 30 minutes and we try to be on the road by 8:30 each morning.
While we travel we do school. Because we are traveling during the school year the kids all have assignments that need to be completed daily. This means that we need to use road time as school time. The time of day that happens depends on what traveling and site seeing we have scheduled for the day.
The bus gets very quiet during school time. The highschoolers log on to their school and start working on lessons. The girls usually set themselves up on the coach, while Rusty likes to lay in his bed.
Ozzie does his work seated in his seat,
and Tyler and I go to the back of the bus and lay on my bed. By closing the door we are able to block out the noise and do school without too many distractions.
When Tyler is done with his worksheets and online lessons he is free to go play and I then work with the other kids who need my help.
Tyler can often be found pedaling his way across America while visiting with Daddy in the front seat. Before we left our therapist, Miss Tina, lent us her under desk bicycle. It is a neat contraption that allows those who sit at a desk all day to get some exercise. She thought it would be a great outlet for Tyler’s energy when he is stuck on the bus for long stretches. It has been a great tool. He likes the fact that it is recording how many miles he is pedaling as we travel cross country!
In addition to using the bike to help Tyler with his excess ADHD energy we also make a point of stopping at rest stops a few times a day do that he can run and toss a ball for 15 minutes before we are back on the road.
Yesterday we also made a stop at the grocery store for our once a week grocery shopping. Because I don’t have the kitchen cabinet space or fridge space to store more than a week’s worth of food for a family of seven, we need to shop once a week. We look at our itinerary for the week and pick the day that is most open or a travel day to stop and shop.
This time we stopped at a Walmart in Nebraska.
We knew we were in a different area of the country when we saw bison in the meat cooler.
Then we put the groceries away and were on the road again!
We drive until dinner time or until we reach our next stop. On Thursday night we were driving our long 9 hour stretch from Hannibal, Missouri to De Smet, South Dakota so rather than booking a campground we opted to spend the night at a truck stop.
While I fixed dinner the kids played Frisbee in the grass and then we enjoyed a spaghetti picnic dinner. For a treat we let each of the kids pick a soda from the vending machine to have with dinner.
Molly volunteered to do dinner dishes and Tyler kept her company as he colored in the kitchen.
In the evenings we pull the curtains closed, put on PJs, play a board game or watch a movie as a family before having evening devotionals and family prayer.
As part of our evening routine everyone records their top three moments or experiences of the day on index cards that will be added to the vacation scrapbook so that they will be able to read their own account of this trip, years down the road, and remember the experiences they had.
Then it is time for bed. The boys climb into their bunks and the girls settle into their bed.