Following in the footsteps of her parents, the former Hollie Edwards and her husband Brandon Cox of Hayden Idaho are on a cross-country tour to promote their business and provide their family with a face-to-face education of how fellow Americans built our great country.
The Cox family pictured here embarking out on their cross country journey in their brightly colored van. Contributed Photo.
In a journey that began May 1 in a colorful touring van , the family of seven, with five children ages 2 months to 8 years, have visited the well-known Mt. Rushmore and the little known, but free, Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, South Dakota. Yet the highlight of the tour so far has been their Mother’s Day visit to the restored Nauvoo Temple and surrounding city.
Married in 2000 in the Spokane Temple, Brandon and Hollie have a love for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“We believe that families are forever and we want to have great memories for ourselves and our children to take into the eternities,” Hollie said.
The family motto is “Find Adventure,” which is more than just having adventures together but looking for the adventures every day and in every place. The reality of traveling together for weeks at a time has everyone looking for memorable experiences. Luckily, everyone in the family shares a lively sense of fun and their days have been filled with imaginary safaris and birthday parties with teddy bears.
When Hollie was a teenager, her parents, Linda and David Edwards, took their family in a similar van (well, maybe a little less colorful one) and completed a cross-country tour of the U.S., visiting famous sites and promoting their business.
“It was without a doubt the best experience we had as a family,” Hollie said.
Brandon and Hollie bought her parent’s business soon after their marriage and began dreaming about taking a similar trip with their children. They envisioned the trip being taken when the children were a bit older but the timing worked out for this summer.
Hollie admits she had doubts about traveling for four months with such a young family. She questioned how to handle the logistics of laundry, food and life on the road. But Brandon promised that they could come home at any time if she got sick of it. Still it took a great deal of faith and prayer to finally help the family make the decision to travel.
The family purchased a travel trailer and a 15-passenger van and left. As soon as the travels started, Hollie said she “super excited” about the opportunity for another nationwide tour.
Of course there are challenges. The laundry stacks up quickly and has to been done every day. Food is their biggest concern. Their travel refrigerator holds a gallon of milk, and enough fresh food for two to three days. Grocery shopping is a daily task.
“I hope we’re not trapped in any sort of disaster, since our year supply of food is over 2,000 miles away!” Hollie said.
Even though the family is having wonderful experiences, the journey still has business components. One of the purposes of this trip is expand a unique product line of personalized hair barrettes. In return, Brandon has the flexibility to help with the daily chores of feeding and dressing his five children. He has also been put in charge of their daily travels and the family has logged over 3,000 miles in two weeks.
Last month, the family spent a day in historic Nauvoo, Illinois, former home of the early Saints that now features a village showcasing aspects of life from the 19th century. Here, the Cox family learned about making candles, clothes, bread, rugs and among other things, rope.
The Cox family pictured visiting the Nauvoo Temple. Contributed Photo.
They watched a blacksmith make a horseshoe, and leaned how the bricks for the city were made. They even got to keep one of the bricks!
Hollie blogs about her daily travels at twigglebox.blogspot.com. After a month on the road, she and Brandon recall both the good and less-than-stellar moments.
Brandon said his worst experience was having “two of the children throw up because they were car sick.”
“At this point, Hollie wasn’t much help since she gets motion sickness as well,” he said. “So guess who got to clean it all up?” he said
Hollie said that her worst experience was the rain.
“We’ve had far too much rain this spring, and being stuck inside a 30-foot trailer with five active children and no TV definitely tries my patience!”
However both parents agree that the best thing of the trip is seeing their children learn, develop and discover new things. Three year old Ezra has gained confidence and likes to tell everyone about how Joseph Smith “died on his way to the office.”
During their visit to the well- known Mt. Rushmore, Ezra and the family got to enjoy the faces of four of our legendary American presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Memorable locations on their trip included a stop at Mt. Rushmore. Contributed Photo.
Combining business with education is a second generation adventure for this family. However, they do report that the trip has gone amazingly smooth.
In fact the trip has been so amazing that they are actually working on plans for their next trip and hope to be able to travel like this every couple of years.