Doug is an attorney who retired from serving 6 years as a magistrate judge in juvenile court, which followed over 20 years of private practice. His work always involved youth, and it seems his retirement will, too. He left the workplace before being eligible for retirement income because his twin sons really loved the sensation of riding, and they showed greater comfort and cooperation when spending their time very close to Doug and Robyn. Travelling in a motor coach seemed a perfect way to help their lives be smooth and satisfying. In this blog, his comments occur under the name The Driver.
Doug is married to Robyn; she is a nurse and is employed through an agency to take care of the twins. She has been their stepmother since 1994, caring for them since they were five years old. The many challenges presented by the twins test her mettle and her talents! She has a deep and abiding interest in good nutrition, and manages to meet the special texture and swallowing needs of the boys with some fabulously high quality foods. Grocery shopping has taken some new twists since the family has gone on the road!
As this traveling odyssey begins in April 2011, Ross and Ryan are 22 years old. They were one-pound premie babies, but now stand about 5 foot 6 inches at about 110 pounds! Their prematurity caused blindness, autism, and profound developmental delays that involve no verbal skills, inability to feed or dress themselves, and a lack of many of the basic skills for everyday life. Yet they hear well and can be responsive to many questions and instructions. They love to walk, but are quite awkward even when walking with mom or dad, so the walks are usually short.
Big brother to the twins, Jared, remains steadfast in his work in Chicago as a Project Manager for Roofing Annex. He and we drive to meet each other at special family events, and he flies to share time with us at holidays in very special places!
the Big Taxi is a 2006 Travel Supreme Select model 45DS24. It’s 45 feet long, requires clearance of at least 13′ 2″, and weighs 43,450 pounds loaded. There are four slideouts for extra room when parked for the night.
The diesel engine is in the back, a Cummins ISM with 10.8 litres of displacement, 500 hp, and 1550 ft/lbs of torque; it holds 42 quarts of oil. The automatic transmission has 6 speeds. Cruising at 60 on the highway produces about 9 miles per gallon, town travel brings it down to a bit more than 6; the fuel tank holds 150 gallons.
The coach has a separate diesel engine in the front just to run an electric generator that produces 12.5 kw to run the 3 air conditioners, electric clothes dryer, and recharge the 8 batteries that run everything else!
There is a tank to hold 100 gallons of fresh water, a tank to hold 60 gallons of “grey” water, and a tank to hold 60 gallons of “black” water. We can typically go three days between dumps & fillups, but a load of laundry uses 15 gallons of water!