If we had to pick one word to describe our family, it would be ‘adventurous.’ Every one of us thrives off of it. We live for it. Although every day probably qualifies as an adventure for us Hoffs, the summers define it. We built our marriage on it long before the Hoff pack became seven. Married in 1998, it only took two years to realize and resolve the fact that we wanted and needed them for a different purpose than most. I abandoned my career in engineering to join the teaching world with Chuck, and the rest was history. Every summer, we have been privileged to take off on whatever pursuit called our name… moving to Colorado, a drive to Alaska, leading kayak trips for a camp, a 4,000 mile bike journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic, etc. We continued once we had kids, taking off to Hawaii with our one year old baby and another on the way, a toddler and a newborn to the Pacific Northwest, and bought a popup camper to make things easier after baby number three. After a summer off before giving birth to the two girls who completed the team, the desire to adventure only intensified.
In 2012, against all odds and without reason, we travelled with our five kids (6 and under) to Colorado, which was ablaze with wildfires. At this point in life, we were uncomfortable anywhere but our own house. Even going to a family party was difficult for us, and we often spilled food (or worse) all over somebody or something if we went out of our comfort zone. Piling all of our kids, supplies, and a breast pump that followed me everywhere into our Honda Odyssey was quite possibly the best decision we had made in life, and a turning point that confirmed not to let anything tie us down or deter us from what we loved most. A trip to Snow Mountain Ranch, Rocky Mountain National Park, our old stomping ground in Boulder, Telluride to visit one of our favorite people, and back to Snow Mountain solidified everything we ever wanted out of life. Our crew that could not function at a family party survived and thrived off of a summer in the mountains. The last three years discomforts have made many question whether it’s worth it, but alas, “There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.”
In 2013, we put up our popup for the first night in North Platte, Nebraska, only to have the whole camper crash down from a busted cable. We found quickly that the cable could not be replaced anywhere. We needed to get to a StarCraft deal who serviced popups. The closest dealer was hundreds of miles away in Denver. We would not be deterred as we were headed right through there! Ketelsen Campers told us the wait was 6 weeks for service. After begging and pleading and telling them we were supposed to be in our camper for the next 6 weeks, they told us if we could get to Denver by 8am the next morning, the tech guy would come in early to get us on the road. We drove on to the Marciseks, crashed there for the night, had our camper fixed, and continued on to the mountains.
In 2014, while driving through Nebraska on our way to the mountains, our Honda Odyssey hit the mileage of 66,666 miles, we looked down to catch it, and the drive sign started flashing immediately. We looked up the closest Honda, which happened to be in North Platte. We camped at our favorite Holiday RV Park once again, brought the car in, and discovered the problem was a transmission sensor. They thought it would probably be safe to drive all the way to Denver, given that we did not want to wait in North Platte for the part to come in 4 days later. We worked up a plan with the Marciseks to continue to Denver, and that Rick would come out to tow us if we ran into trouble. Even though we had friends we were supposed to meet in the mountains, we opted to stay in Denver at the Marciseks once again until our car could be repaired. After a few days of Denver fun, we raced off to the mountains. We had to be flexible with a new plan, but again, not too bad. We had been blessed to spend some extra time with one of our favorite families!
Summer 2015 was the third year in a row we had run into trouble (the most difficult by far, without our car for 24 days) and questioned whether we should continue on our path. The details of that story will be saved for another time, but without question, it has been worth it every time. The kids have earned a viewpoint of the world that most adults haven’t had the privileges of seeing. “Hoffing it” has given us the unbelievable opportunity to spend time in the most awe-inspiring places… and allows us to spend quality time with friends near and far who run their race like we do. We can’t wait to share the stories with you!