In the Last Year…

Hey Everyone,

Memorial Day weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the start of the Great American Road trip and I’m sure you’ve all been wondering, “What in the heck have those traveling Truckies been up to in the last year?”  Steph and John have both moved on to new opportunities and we asked them both to give you an update on their lives since their time with the Truckster.  Read on to find out where their at and what lies in store for your favorite traveling twosome!

From Stephanie:

Well hello, hello fearless travelers! Truckie Steph here, reporting live from the Big Apple.

truckie stephanie  with stature of liberty

Truckie Stephanie settles in in NYC

Since my days behind the wheel I’ve moved to Hoboken,NJ, and began my first ‘big girl job’ in the world of digital advertising for Neo@Ogilvy in Manhattan. Sadly, I haven’t actually driven since last summer and I must say that I miss it. At least I went out with a bang. Most people who miss driving up here can’t say they spent 3 months driving around the country before handing over their keys for good… but this girl can.

In fact, I think the next time you’ll be passing me on the highway should be my next vacation which involves a road trip to Tennessee. Being from Austin, I’m a big live music fan so I’m spoiling myself with a ticket to Bonnaroo music festival in June. I’ll be the one passing out Frisbees and beach balls next to the big green station wagon and staying in that rockin’ vacation rental from…

Oh man, I wish that were true!!!!

No joke, I just had this flash back to the first time I sat in the Truckster driver’s seat. It was the lunch hour in downtown Austin and my boss and I went out for a test run. I was so nervous, so excited! I think I probably made our boss a little anxious that day, but she still let me come along for the ride of lifetime. That’s so cheesy to say, but I can’t seem to wipe the silly smile off my face right now, so it must be true.

Truckie Stephanie at Work

Hard at work at her new job with Neo@Ogilvy

Though my ‘truckie’ days might be over, that doesn’t mean a thing when It comes to the memories John and I made last summer, the frequency at which I continue to wear my Truckster shirt OR the fact that I still refuse to hold a cold beverage without a koozie in hand, preferably a blue one with our favorite family’s faces printed on it! Plus, any day I choose to relive the dream I’m so pumped we chronicled our voyage for the world to see and for me to remember. (Shout out to all the amazing travel bloggers we met along the way. I miss that life but thank goodness I get to live vicariously through your stories! Every traveler needs a blog!)

And with that, I better get back to my day job. Somebody convince that driving partner of mine to stop by for an overdue visit.  : )

Gear up friends, summer’s almost here and you know what that means: ROAD TRIP!

From John:

Hey again!

I’m writing to give you an update and prove that life does exist after Truckie retirement.  After leaving the Great American Road Trip, I packed all my belongings (1 suitcase full) and moved to Athens,GA, home of the University of Georgia.  Although I’m no longer in college and did not attend UGA, I like the town a lot because of the warm weather, my apartment complex’s pool and its colorful music scene.

Truckie John at work at Edelman PR

Truckie John now spends his days at Edelman Public Relations in Atlanta

To make sure I don’t lose my driving abilities, I currently commute to and from Atlanta where I work at Edelman Public Relations.  When I started at Edelman, I was on their Digital team but recently moved to their Crisis and Issues Management department where I work in an extremely fast-paced environment full of surprises!  I guess since the Truckster broke down so many times, I had the crisis experience that qualified me for my current job.  Soon, I plan on moving to Atlanta, but for now, I’m cruising Holiday Road every day to work.

I still talk to Adam and Steph periodically, mostly to reflect on driving through fields of grasshoppers or to dream of living in vacation homes again.  I haven’t seen the Truckster since we parted last August, but I hear it’s in great shape and ready for public appearances.  With some extra cash I have saved up from last summer, I’m investing in some wood paneling for the side of my car (a Prius).  Just kidding…or not?  

Thanks for following along with us last summer!  I hope you had as much fun as we did.  I miss the baseball games, beach houses, long drives and Truckster fans but at least we all got to experience these great memories together!


A goodbye salute to life as a Truckie

I’m really bad with goodbyes. I figured I’d get it over with ahead of time so that I will be able to enjoy my last few days on the road. (I don’t ACTUALLY leave until Sunday, but…) From the beautiful Newport Beach of Orange County, California… I typed this farewell to my summer of fun while surrounded by the serene ambiance of sand below me and waves crashing before me.

It’s strange to think that in less than one week’s time I’ll be back in Austin, Texas. For those who don’t know, I’m leaving the tour just a few days early since I am moving to New York City for my full-time job this September. This summer’s adventure has been just that, an adventure. There have been bumps and bruises along the way (from stacking and unstacking our hard-shell Samsonites, not doubt,) tired days and days I wished would never end. But all in all, I’m proud to call myself a “Truckie” and sad to be leaving that name behind. There are memories I will keep engrained in my senses for years to come – like the smell of the Truckster, and this high-pitched, fast laugh that resonates from John when something unexpected happens. I will miss turning heads when I drive down the street… some how I just don’t think my white Hyundai Elantra will elicite the same reaction.

There are things I would say I’ve become a bit of an expert at – like washing the front windshield, remembering to keep track of my receipts and to leave a thank you note. But there are some things, though almost three-months later, I still can’t get used to – like pumping gas into the trunk, ‘happily’ eating out every meal, and living out of a suitcase every day.

At the same time. I’m preparing myself for a transition period in my life. The Truckster travels conveniently mark the end of an era. Now 23, I suppose it’s time to ‘women’ up; it’s time to be an adult. I’m assuming it’s going to take determination to convince my full-time self that sitting behind a desk on your computer is a bit more normal than typing away while hundreds of miles of scenery pass by my passenger seat window. I hope my new office provides good coffee because this summer I’ve expanded my taste buds having experienced probably the very best AND the very worst American coffee vendors have to offer.

But happily, I enter this transition into the ‘real world’ with…

Steph with map

…a new found respect for our country


…respect for the daily grind (thanks to the amazingly dedicated PR team)


…a new friend who I will dearly miss, but will never hesitate to call

(and never thought I’d say this one)


An obnoxiously obsessive love of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster.

Bye y’all and in the words of the man who saw an opportunity to create something incredible, and has brought more smiles to complete strangers this summer than he could ever imagine… as Gary Schneider, Mr. Wagon Queen Family Truckster himself wrote on the back of my favorite Truckie shirt when I asked for his autograph, “Keep on Truckin.’

Now, enough of that. Grab a tissue, get your head in the game, and watch this video of our STELLAR vacation rental in Anaheim, California! We’re hanging out here for tomorrow (BREAK DAY!) and Thursday we’re headed to San Diego!

A very Truckie bday in Southern California

I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much for the big two-three this year on the birthday calendar. Mostly because I hardly know what day it is anymore… thus the fact that it was ALREADY birthday time really caught me by surprise.

But alas, the day has now come and gone, and I – for one – am all the older and wiser because of it.

How does a Truckie celebrate while on the road? you ask.

Well, It started with a surprise ‘mission.’

“Get in the car” John requested ever-so-pleasantly.

And away we went, cruising down Santa Monica Boulevard.

Destination: Cupcakes.

We soon arrived in Beverly Hills at the world’s very first cupcakery, Sprinkles. There was a line out the door, but John strutted past the sweet-toothed hopefuls and reemerged only moments later with a package that had my name on it.

My surprise was from HomeAway headquarters who had ordered me California’s finest birthday treat – 12 gourmet cupcakes that spelled out “It’s Your BDay!”

bday cupcakes


The rest of my ‘break day/birthday’ festivites included catching up with one of my favorite people who lives just south of LA, laying on the beach, watching the sunset behind the cliffs off the California coast line and hiking through one of the ‘local trails’ (the kind that’s not for tourists – word.) and finding a light house!

hiking pic of steph

Wait, I think I found a light house...

lighthouse on Cali coast

...I did!

My day was all very memorable and fun. Thanks for all the texts, tweets, Facebook messages and wall posts, and silly phone calls wishing me a very “Happy Birthday!”

❤ (The now twenty-three-year-old) Steph

PS – We’re still enjoying the Hollywood scene these days. Check out the presents that arrived today from HomeAway headquarters in Austin!

shipment from HQ

All for me? You really shouldn't have.

Those boxes may or may not be cozies and beach balls and frisbees and more…you’ll just have to come to this evening’s Anaheim Angel’s tailgate or tomorrow’s 10th Annual Uptown Whittier Car Show to find out!!!

Oakland Athletics vs Texas Rangers and driving down the California coast

*I must preclude the following story by noting that my description of the event below does not do justice to the surprising reality of what took place at the yesterday’s ballgame. I promise. It was weird in a memorable, “that was cool,” kind of way.

After a few hours of meeting the fun fans who were tailgating before the game, we made our way into the park. We waited and waited to see someone slide into home base, but the score remained 0 – 0 for a good portion of the game. Finally the Rangers scored two runs! I cheered loudly in the mostly Oakland fan filled crowd, in hopes that the boys from Texas would hold onto the lead until…

“Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and join us in the seventh inning, Oakland Athletics tradition of singing ‘Take me out to the ball game,’” Boomed the announcer’s voice.

Everyone promptly rose to their feet, music began to play, and before I knew it the crowd erupted in song. The stadium filled with the voices of spectators and players alike, in a harmonious display of unified sportsmanship and group effort.

The vocal styling of each participant increased in a crescendo with “one, two, three strikes you’re out…”

And the moment it was over, everyone returned to the seated position to calmly continue viewing the game.

Never in all my experiences of attending live events, sporting or otherwise, have I ever been more shocked to see such enthusiastic collaboration of attendees. It was incredible and unexpected involvement from the otherwise stoic – aside from the occasional outburst of cheering at a good play or the rare ruckus coming from a pair of battling vuvuzelas – audience.

John and I could not help but exchange bewildered glances and attempted concealment of our chuckles. I loved it. Besides watching the Texas Rangers lose the game to an incredible finish by the Oakland Athletics, this quick rendition of the American classic was by far the most memorable moment of the day’s event.

Today was also eventful as John, the Truckster, and I made an appearance at the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California. We seemed to have created a buzz in the social networking building because by the time we’d finished eating breakfast with a new friend there, the Truckster was the talk of the office! I have to say, I feel a bit privileged. Today I saw the inner workings of a website that – at least in my world – dominates a little thing called the Internet. So cool.

The rest of the day was filled with beautiful scenery as the Truckster made it’s way down California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Here are a few shots we captured of the awe-inspiring views!

We’re in a Pismo Beach vacation rental for the night, and tomorrow we’ll continue the journey south to Los Angeles.

Night everybody, Steph

On the road to San Francisco (wishing I had a flower in my hair.)

This morning we woke up to the stream behind our modern day YURT trickling and hit the road bright and early. We had a full day’s drive ahead of us. Little did we know exactly what that drive had in store for us…

[Have you seen our YURT footage… a.w.e.s.o.m.e AND I slept like a rock.]

The first AMAZING views encountered were of the Redwoods trees. From the windows of the Truckster these things look gigantic, up-close… they’re UNBELIEVABLE. Though we only got to stop for a few mere minutes, I was running around the wooded area where we’d pulled-off the road with a permanent smile of my face.


Bucket List #16: Hug a Redwood tree in Northern California.


We pulled ourselves away from the ancient society of trees as Dave Matthew’s Band played a serenade through our speakers, tempting me to “…stay, stay, stay for a while.”

Away we drove. Yet, only minutes later, we HAD to pull over again.

paul bunyan 3

It's our THIRD Paul Bunyan encounter! America must love this dude, and so do I!

…enough said.

Side note: What’s the deal with Dutch Bros. Coffee – these little coffee huts decorated with Dutch windmills made out of neon lights seem to be everywhere these days. I need some input. Worth making a stop during my next coffee craving??

We continued on our journey only to be honked at by an upset driver. After some confusion as to the nature of said honk and what might have instigated such a sound (that quite frankly insulted the Truckster’s feelings…) we figured out that our turn signal was no longer blinking. We made a quick pit stop at the next auto parts store we passed and the men got to work. JOHN fixed our blinker! Who knew there was a handy man on board?

John blinker fix

Mr. Fix-it, himself!

THEN we encountered more big trees. We DROVE the Truckster through a Redwood!!!


Onward to the land of In-and-Out Burger, Full House, the Golden Gate Bridge, and CRAZY intracity hills (that I hope the Truckster can handle)…

It’s time for BAY CITY; San Fancisco… WE HAVE ARRIVED!

Tomorrow morning the Truckster wants to see the sites of San Fran so you might see us out-and-about, gathering photos! Then, it looks like we’ll be joining the Austin favorite’s movie theater that is on a road trip of it’s own, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas are showing classic movies at the places where they were originally filmed. So tomorrow, starting around 4:30 p.m., catch the Truckster at the Alamo Drafthouse screening of “Dirty Harry” at Washington Square Park.

On Sunday we’re going to the Texas Rangers vs. the Oakland A’s baseball game. We’ll be looking for all the best tailgates and handing out loads of goodies! If you make it out to the game, look for the metallic pea and Aunt Edna gathering the crowds! (We’ll also be posting our specific locations via Twitter @homeawaytrip!)

Enjoy the weekend and see you around SF!

The Great “Honky Lips” Mystery: Seattle, 2010

Yesterday morning John and I woke up to find the pristine, metallic pea, beloved wood paneling of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster had been vandalized!

I GASPED in dismay. John wailed “the HORROR!” We could not believe our eyes.

Vandalized Truckster

Honky Lips.

Upon further analysis of the evidence, we realized that no harm had been done. The writing was made of cardboard wrapped in black electrical tape, which had been precisely taped letter-by-letter to form the identical formation that had been spray painted on the back siding of the Truckster last time it hit the streets of St. Louis.

The meticulous detailing and obvious effort involved in the creation of the message told us that the attack had not been malicious – but a sign of appreciation for the authenticity of our EXACT replica.

After brushing up on your Truckster trivia, watch this short video I created to see just HOW authentic this one time 1986 old Ford Station Wagon now turned 1983 Wagon Queen Family Truckster truly is:

So John and I began to narrow the suspects. The attacker must be friend, not foe since the detailing had been so precise as to ensure no harm to the Truckster. Our prime suspects were Jen, the blogger who is staying with us for the weekend in Seattle, or Shelley, the homeowner at the Shirley Marvin (where we’re staying.)


Jennifer Miner: Travel writer and blogger. She’s a co-creator, writer and editor at The Vacation Gals, a luxury travel columnist at Suite101, and she contributes regularly to other sites such as Hybrid Mom. Watch her live interview tomorrow morning on Seattle’s FOX affiliate KCPQ channel 13 at 8:45 and follow her on Twitter @JenniferMiner.

She supports team blackberry, enjoys mac-n-cheese-n-tuna surprise, and is a mother of two.

Shelley: Homeowner of HomeAway property 300257 and manager of the extended stay hotel, the Shirley Marvin. With a bottle of complimentary wine, fresh-cut flowers, and a welcome package of coupons for the locally owned businesses only a few minutes away by foot, she had been an especially welcoming host for the Truckies and Mrs. Miner. Perhaps too nice? She EVEN set up the free screening of National Lampoon’s Vacation that played yesterday and this morning at the Columbia City Cinema (just around the corner from the rental!)

We knew one thing was for sure, she knew her movie facts… suspicious, indeed.

But since we had to get to SeaFair for the FanFest festivities, there was no time to conduct our interrogations. We cleaned up the Truckster and carried on with our day.

Later, we received a frantic call from HomeAway headquarters. “Was the Truckster VANDALIZED!? WE SAW THE PHOTO ON TWITTER…HOW’S THE WOOD PANELLING???”

Though the day was full of lively distractions, we knew we MUST get to the bottom of this. So we confronted Jen.

“Was it you?” I said firmly, giving her the most hardcore stink-eye I could muster.

She acted innocent.

“Did you write those words on the Truckster? Honky lips?”

“What? No, what are you talking about?” She questioned in return.

I had no choice but to laugh off the seriousness. The poor woman was probably telling the truth about her innocence, and I didn’t want to scare her while sporting the HomeAway attire. (Bad for the Truckie image.)

So, we concluded: Shelley. Our welcoming homeowner was actually a total prankster.

Or was she?

I had made up my mind. This morning, at the Columbia City Cinema I would confront her once and for all. But when the moment of truth was upon us, she told us it had been an honor to house the Truckster, hugged us goodbye, and wished us happy travels for the remainder of the trip… I blew it; I forgot to ask.

Moments later a couple approached us. They had just finished enjoying the free screening and came to get a few final glimpses of our movie star. The man started asking me why our replica didn’t have “Honky Lips” on the siding like the one in the movie.

“Well is a family company, offering vacation rental properties to travelers. Rentals accommodations are perfect for traveling families especially because of the extra space…” I started to explain.

But he continued to question me about it.

“Have you driven through St. Louis?” he asked.
“No, our three-month road trip actually sticks to the perimeter of the country. Even though we don’t have any hubcaps… “ John started to explain.

All of a sudden it clicked. I looked at the couple, they were obviously big fans of the movie, but they were hiding something.

“Wait” I said slowly, looking the man in the eyes, “it was you, wasn’t it? You guys wrote it on our car the other night, didn’t you?”

And there before the judge (me,) he confessed.

Our mystery ghost-writers got away without punishment, gave me a CD copy of (sing these next two words…should take at least eight seconds…) “Holiday ROOOAAAADDD,” and I didn’t even get a chance to catch their names before they snuck away into the afternoon.

Watch-out Seattle, there are some true fans out on the loose, and you never know where they might strike next.

Case closed.

After a few errands around Seattle, we’ll be on the ROOOAAAADDD to Portland, OR tomorrow.


Ready to take on Seattle with Jennifer Miner

Howdy Internet friends,

We rolled into Seattle this afternoon and just made a new friend, co-creator, writer and editor at The Vacation Gals, and luxury travel columnist at Suite101, who also contributes regularly to other sites such as Hybrid Mom…none-other-than, Mrs. Jennifer Miner. (Twitter: @JenniferMiner)

We’ve got a packed schedule this weekend and will be all over town. Keep your eyes peeled for the Truckster and watch my video of the rental to find out about additional sighting opportunities in & around Seattle…

I’ll be nice and recap:

Saturday – Truckster will be at SeaFair FanFest from 12-5 p.m. at the Seattle Center before the Torchlight Parade that evening. This will be a great opportunity to bring the family – and the camera – for your close-up with yours truly… and the Truckster!

Sunday – Come to the Columbia City Cinema for the 11 a.m. FREE showing of National Lampoon’s Vacation! See the Truckster, watch the movie – what could be better?! (If you can’t make the Sunday showing, the movie will also play – FREE – Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at the Columbia City Cinema… but the Truckster won’t be around until Sunday. Plan accordingly.)

After the showing, word has it, the Truckster might be making an appearance at Alki Beach in Seattle. I suggest you follow us on Twitter for more concrete, live updates on the Truckster’s whereabouts! (Twitter: @homeawaytrip) –cough, cough–

Monday – Tune-in to FOX KCPQ Channel 13 at 8:45 a.m. to wake-up with a live interview from our travel experts, Jennifer Miner and the Truckster!

See you at SeaFair tomorrow!