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Granite Bay family takes to the road in an RV

Family to travel 50 states in 50 weeks
By: Eileen Wilson, Press Tribune Contributor
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Travertine floor tiles, cherry cabinets, mosaic tile backsplash, laptop computers spread across the kitchen table — no, this isn’t your typical Granite Bay kitchen. But it will be home to the Arredondo family for the next year — a home that will change locations daily for 50 weeks.

If you’ve ever thought about taking an extended vacation with your family — a vacation that would bring you closer — look no further than your local RV dealership.

That’s exactly what the Arredondo family of Granite Bay did after George Arredondo attended a business seminar featuring Mike Ditka.

“I was at a business conference in Atlanta and Coach Ditka spoke. He introduced us to the acronym ACE, which stands for attitude, commitment and enthusiasm. I was very impressed by the concept, but when I Googled ACE, the website that popped up was the site for ACE Recreational Vehicles.”

Arredondo thought the website couldn’t be a coincidence, so the family rented an RV for a weeklong jaunt to San Diego, and they loved it.

Fast-forward a year or two, and the family is ready to take the open road wherever it may lead them.

Exploring American with Faith and Family is Arredondo’s mission statement, and with wife, Melinda, and sons Garon, 12, and Gavin, 9, the Wi-Fi enabled 29-footer departs on Aug. 1 toward Seattle, and whatever adventures they can find along the way.

With Garon as navigator, maps and Google Maps at their fingertips, the family plans to visit interesting sites, and linger when the mood strikes.

With other families who have had similar adventures as inspiration and sounding board, George Arredondo is looking forward to really seeing the country, and spending quality time with his boys.

“I asked the family ‘what about a summer vacation in an RV, rather than flying?’” George said. “But we decided that summer just wasn’t enough time. We want to see places that you wouldn’t normally see, and I want to spend more time with the kids.”

With careers that allow telecommuting, the family had planned to relocate their residence, so they have rented a storage unit for personal items, and sold everything else in preparation for the trip.

As crazy as the family agrees the adventure might sound, traveling the country in an RV has its appeal.

“I want to see all 30 baseball stadiums, especially the Florida Marlins’ stadium,” Gavin said.

Garon, a Boy Scout who is not far from earning his Eagle Scout Badge, looks forward to visiting a troop and attending a Scout meeting in each state.

“Garon will be able to maintain his Scouting, and he will also practice his saxophone on the trip,” Melinda Arredondo said.

She said the family is spending every day preparing for the trip, and each family member is allowed one storage container (as measured by Garon) for personal items to take along.

Melinda Arredondo is looking forward to visiting Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and Hershey, Pa., and she’s also looking forward to integrating travel with the kids’ home-school plans, which will include plenty of written essays about sights and adventures.

The family’s route begins in a northerly direction, and upon reaching Seattle, they will fly to Anchorage, Alaska and rent an RV to tour Denali National Park. Hawaii will be in a rented RV as well.

They plan to hit 50 states in approximately 50 weeks, and will drive just over 100 miles per week, allowing lots of time to enjoy each location.

Gavin also plans to sample his favorite food, macaroni and cheese, in each state and create a top-10 list of best mac and cheese locations.

Mostly, the family looks forward to spending time together.

“You just don’t spend enough time with the family. We all have so many different commitments outside the family,” George Arredondo said. “Most of the dads I talk to — they secretly want to spend more time with the kids, but work and other commitments get in the way of that.”