I know what you’re thinking, “what would cause a perfectly happy family to go on a permanent road trip?” I had the same question recently when I stumbled upon the Double Decker Family on YouTube. So I reached out and had a quick discussion with the family to get a better idea of what, why, when, and how they plan to travel.
After talking with the Eyerly’s I’ve determined it’s not that crazy of an idea after all. Dane and Deena have been married for a decade and in that time they’ve been blessed with six children, including one set of twins. They’re a tight-knit, sports-loving, God-fearing, well-educated, down-to-earth, family from Texas. One thing they aren’t is thrill-seekers. Which is one thing I was certain they would be. “It’s not about doing something dangerous or tackling our fears, it’s about spending more time together as a family,” says Dane, who the kids (and his wife) affectionately call “Big Papa.”
Their family is a lot more like “Leave it to Beaver” than anything else I could describe. Dane works hard at his job to provide for their family while Deena works to maintain the home with all the kids. They attend church each week, they don’t have any gaming systems, and the kids play outside a lot. They make a point to put family first and are the kind of people that would do anything for anyone.
For the past four years Dane has worked at an insurance tech startup company called Agency MVP as the Head of Operations, helping to grow the company from the ground up. He also runs his own company online and is working on a number of online tools, apps, and websites. He generally works a standard 40-hour work week and is home each night to spend an hour or so with the kids before bedtime. Spending such little time with the family started taking a toll on Dane, and Deena as she was left to care for the kids all day, every day. So, they decided to make an extreme change.
About a year ago the Eyerly’s made the decision that they were going to spend more time together, traveling the country in a custom converted double-decker bus. They found the bus, a Van Hool TD925 formerly used as a hotel-on-wheels transporting people between LA and San Francisco, after coming up empty handed in their search for an RV that would fit their requirements. Shortly after purchasing the double-decker bus Dane called up his uncle, a truck driver in Kansas, and together they flew to Los Angeles to pick it up and drive it to Utah where the family had arranged for a custom car builder to convert the bus into what the Eyerly’s call a “roaming tiny home.”
“We’ve both traveled around the country, before we were married, and now with our kids. One thing is for certain, we are at our best, our happiest, when we are traveling together,” says Deena who is quick to admit that traveling and road trips can be super stressful. As she explains, it’s all worth it though when she sees the smiles on the kids faces as they tackle new adventures. The mother of six says she’s excited to give the kids this kind of adventure.
Their current plan is a two-year road trip all around the US, spending an average of two weeks in each state. “A few days here, a few days there, it’s all about just taking it in and having a variety of experiences together,” says Dane. The Eyerly’s road map includes stops in a huge number of National Parks, at many professional sporting venues, and as many Latter-Day Saint Temples they can get to. While they’ll do plenty of hiking, biking, swimming, and outdoor activities they also look forward to visiting hundreds of museums, zoos, aquariums, gardens, and other attractions along their way.
In summary: What? A family of 8. Why? To spend more time together as a family. When? Beginning July 2021. How? A custom converted double-decker bus.