Holmes Wild West Adventure, Summer 2018: Day 1

This summer, we decided to take an epic road trip adventure and drive “Out West” – the first time we’ve ever driven (we have flown) west of the Mississippi, except to drive to Texas, where my husband originally called home.

And epic it was!

We loaded up the boys and my nephew, Porter – who had just graduated high school, and headed out on the road for seventeen days, adding a total of 6,058 miles to our Sequoia, visiting amazing places and 10 National Parks (and some State Parks), and 20 states along the way!

I believe that this had to be my favorite vacation EVER, and I would do it again RIGHT NOW if I could!

Along the way, I fell in love with our beautiful country, and especially our National Park Service. If you haven’t taken the time to visit them and make the most of everything they have to offer, it is never too late to start. I will soon do an entire post devoted to the amazingness (is that a word?) of our National Park Service!

I originally posted a daily travel log on Facebook as we went along. I didn’t get a chance to post every single day, but I tried to do a separate post for each day so we would have something to go back to and remember all of our adventures and the magnificent places we visited.

Friends have asked me to post them all in one place, so they can use it as a reference to help plan their own trips in the future. So, I am going to add each of the posts here on my blog separately, and then finish up by posting one blog post that will have a link to each one, as kind of a “reference page”.

I would love to answer any questions you have about our trip and the stops we made. Over the years it has been such a blessing to help folks plan their trips to places like Walt Disney World (as a Disney Parks Moms Panelist (2011-’12), a Dollywood Insider (2016-18), and a Traveling Mom travel writer. It would be my pleasure to help you in any way I possibly can, because I firmly believe that trips like this can serve as a way to bring families closer and open our eyes and hearts to the people and world around us – and this is something on which you cannot place a price!

So, join us as we travel along on our “Holmes Wild West Adventure, Summer 2018”!

Travel Logue: Friday, June 22, 2018


We traveled 1160 miles all in one day yesterday (Friday, June 22, 2018), leaving from Kingsport, Tennessee at 8 am and arriving in Sioux City, Iowa at 2:30 am on Saturday the 23rd.

Tennessee Interstate
On the road again traveling through Tennessee!

We were exhausted this morning, but took advantage of our noon checkout time to rest before hitting the road again.

Of course, Wild Will is swimming. 10 yr olds don’t ever lose energy!

We saw some beautiful countryside yesterday (Friday) in TN, KY, IL, MO, NE, IA; and drove through some great cities – Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha (where we took the time to drive through the city just to say we went into Nebraska, especially for my niece, Hannah, who says nobody ever goes to Nebraska for anything).

We had an amazing lunch stop at Cummins Falls – and yes, we took a huge cooler full of sandwiches, snacks, and drinks! Weren’t we so prepared??!!!

Cummins Falls picnic lunch on the road in Tennessee!


Cummins Falls
A wonderful campground at Cummins Falls State Park in Middle Tennessee

We live in a beautiful country, guys!!! The mountains, the rolling hills, the flatland plains and meadows-& the thousands of acres of corn!!! ( I had no idea there was so much corn!!!)

Kentucky Corn
Kentucky Corn

My favorite views of the day were Cummins Falls State Park near Cookeville, TN…

Cummins Falls
Beautiful Cummins Falls State Park in Tennessee – between Knoxville & Nashville off I-40.

…the farmlands of Illinois, the sunset in Missouri that lasts FOREVER and I could not capture on camera for some weird reason, and the amazing fields and skies in western Kentucky …


this was gorgeous, and my favorite part of the day – skies so blue and stretching on forever, clouds so fluffy and white…

Beautiful scenery on the road

…wind blowing through the tall grass and corn stalks of the rolling fields – the grass was an amazing color of bright green, almost chartreuse!


I was driving so didn’t get pics during this part, and James was sleeping and the boys were all either sleeping or engrossed in their phones because I was too busy driving to yell “LOOK UP AND OUT YOUR WINDOW!!!!” for the ten thousandth time…

Rivers – Missouri

So, I felt like the Lord just gifted me with this little glimpse of heaven all for me (though I’d have preferred to share it with the guys), and let me drive through that area right at that special time, when the afternoon sun was shining so bright, the skies were so perfect, the wind was blowing through the fields so majestically.

Not being able to just look at it through the phone camera, but just truly SEEING IT….I felt kind of “transported” to another place and time – have you ever felt that way?

Rest Stop somewhere in Kentucky

I believe that, if we’re seeking the Lord constantly, truly abiding in Him, He will reveal these glimpses of His Kingdom to us even here on Earth… and the longing for “Home” becomes even sweeter.

St. Louis, Missouri

I can’t wait to see what’s ahead today!

St. Louis, Missouri
Omaha, Nebraska at Night

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