Inspired by a road trip she’d once taken with her mother, Ann Schuette planned an experience for her family in the summer of 2007. “I wanted to take my kids on the same trip so that they could see all the sights in America – the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon – that I had enjoyed at their age,” says Ann.
With the route from their home in Edgewood, Kentucky, agreed upon, Ann, her husband John, and their two youngest kids, Greg, 22, and Molly, 21, had only one dilemma: What vehicle could possibly fit their crew? With John standing at six foot nine, both kids taller than six feet, and Ann herself reaching 5 feet 11 inches, comfort on the long excursion was the first priority for the Schuettes. Their 2007 Ford Edge was the solution. “We fell in love with it immediately,” Ann says of purchasing her crossover vehicle. “John could fit in the backseat! We knew we could take the trip without being uncomfortable.”
Over the course of two weeks, Ann, John, Greg and Molly traveled 5, 857 miles. From Kentucky, the family headed north to the Wisconsin Dells, then west through South Dakota and Montana, and down to Yellowstone National Park. “Yellowstone was just unbelievable with the sulfur springs, Old Faithful going off like clockwork, the beautiful scenery and, of course, how the buffalo just amble along,” Ann recalls. “They sometimes just lay down in the middle of the road, not even caring that cars are there. The rangers actually had to come make them move!”
After the historic national park, the Schuettes went on to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, and home by a southern route through Oklahoma, with a stop at the St. Louis Gateway Arch. “We mapped it out, but we didn’t have specific plans,” says Ann of their no-reservations travel style, which helped her find the best last-minute deals on hotels.“We would visit a sight and then I’d go online and find us a hotel.”
Throughout the trip, Ann says, other motorists would ask them about their Blazing Copper Metallic, Ford Edge. “In Vegas we ran into a guy who had one that looked exactly like ours,” says Ann. “He loved his as much as we loved ours.”
Ann drives the same Edge today, which just surpassed 100,000 miles on the odometer. In all those miles, one trip stands out. “Our trip across the States was the trip of a lifetime,” says Ann.