The Wright family is about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime -- one that will make some folks envious and leave others shaking their heads in amazement.
This family of 10 is hitching up their fifth wheel and taking off to explore the U.S. for an entire year.
"Because it will be winter when we leave Delta, we're going to head straight south," said Jeff Wright. In the fall, Wright resigned as Delta County emergency management officer so he could spend a year on the road with his wife Michelle and eight kids.
Before taking over the Office of Emergency Management, Wright was a dispatcher, firefighter and EMT. A POST-certified law enforcement officer, he also earned an associate degree in criminal justice and a bachelor's in public administration,
"For the past five years it's been nothing but emergency management and school and search and rescue calls and fires. I was deployed three times in 2018, once to North Carolina for the hurricane [through an interstate compact].
"We've missed plenty of camping trips the last couple of years, so this is a great opportunity for me to give back to Michelle and kids. In addition, the opportunity to travel the country and experience different cultures will be a huge educational thing for the kids."
All are big history buffs, Michelle said, and she's developed some homeschool exercises to help them get the most out of their visits to state and national parks. She plans to test the curriculum on her own kids, then potentially put the educational workbooks on the market.
Michelle is also starting a blog/vlog called "Chaos for Breakfast." There's not a lot going on yet, but once they hit the road, the blog will be an avenue to share their experiences with friends and family members. Look for it at chaos-for-breakfast.blogspot.com.
Jeff said he may do a little work on the road, but for the next year his priority will be his family. "I kind of started from scratch in Delta County and built an award-winning emergency management program, which took a lot of work, so this is my opportunity to give back to the family a little. So the less work, the better," he said.
In addition to hitting as many state and national parks as possible, they plan to visit beaches, the redwoods and historic sites like Boston and Plymouth Rock.
Quitting his job was a huge step, but Jeff said he and Michelle have been pinching pennies to get ready for this experience. It's one they've been talking about for well over a year.
It all started with tiny houses. "Our oldest daughter loves tiny houses, and as we watched the videos about tiny houses, it morphed into this big plan for traveling in an RV."
Step one was to buy the RV, step two the truck. Step three -- quitting work -- was the scariest step of all. Step four is sell the house and step five is "just go."
The Wrights' spacious fifth wheel trailer has four queen size beds so it has room to sleep 10, particularly since most of their kids are still young. There's a large kitchen, but dining space is limited so Jeff and Michelle foresee a lot of meals outdoors on picnic tables. They also have just one bathroom, but there is room for a full-size washer and dryer. Each kid will have his/her own spot for personal items.
"Everywhere we go across the country we're going to chase 75°, so we can spend as much time outside as possible but that doesn't mean we won't be inside watching movies on rainy days."
After traveling the country, Jeff and Michelle plan to wind back up in Colorado, where most of their family members live.
"I will get back into emergency management; I absolutely love it so that will determine where we land, but it will definitely be here in Colorado," Jeff said.
"It's a big move, but we think we are ready."