Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A family from Florida is taking the kind of family vacation that would make the Griswold’s jealous — and a bit crazy too.
The Belcher family from Fort Lauderdale is taking a year long road trip visiting all 50 states, national parks, monuments, the mountains — all for the ultimate family vacation.
“It was way better than what we expected,” says Kathi Belcher.
She and her husband John Belcher and their four kids left home in their RV 11 months ago.
Olivia, 9, said they’ve had a lot of family bonding time. Sometimes with her two younger brothers – it’s a bit too much.
“They get fun to play with once you’re with em’ a long time, but then sometimes you’re like, ‘Ah, it’s time to go back and get rid of them,’” said Olivia.
The Belchers wanted to escape the busyness of life — the birthday parties, the sports practices, and the schedules.
They also liked the idea of getting the kids away from the TV and video games.
“Getting out having them be outside and play with sticks and rocks — being in nature is one of the best parts of this trip,” says John.
Kathi is home schooling the kids while they’re on the road and they’re experiencing things you can’t in a classroom.
Hanna, 11, said the National Parks have been her favorite part.
“Glacier National Park in Montana and Yellowstone. We saw a lot of bears — grizzly bears,” said Olivia.
As for the geography lesson, no textbook needed.
“My 9-year-old can — on a blank map – write in every single state. I don’t think before this trip I could have done that,” said John.
The Belchers spent Thursday and Friday in the Land of 10,000 Lakes — their last state to visit on their 50 state tour.
“We love it,” said Kathi about Minnesota. “It’s our favorite.”
“We’re going to the Mall (of America) of course, and I’m just really excited to do that,” said Hanna.
She said it has been a while since she’s been to a mall, so they spent nearly 11 hours there.
Soon they’ll be heading home with a new appreciation for our country and most of all each other.
“I think we’re really lucky,” said Hanna.
“This whole year together, I mean, it’s something all of us will remember forever,” said Kathi.
The family has been documenting their journey on the road, you can check out their website.