Lancer Spotlight: Math teacher takes cross country RV adventure


courtesy of Liz Drake

Sharon Drake’s teaching setup in Badlands South Dakota.

by Keifer Spore, Managing Editor

Imagine joining a Google Meet with your teacher and she’s in the Badlands in South Dakota. This happened for many of Sharon Drake’s students while she was on her country-wide trip.

In fact, for students in math teacher Sharon Drake’s fall classes, all of October 2020 was a “Where’s Waldo” of sorts. 

Over the course of two months, Drake traveled with her family in a coast-to-coast loop in an RV and visited places from national parks to alpaca farms. In total,six people stayed in the RV: wife Liz, and children Darby (college-aged), Silas, Sawyer, and Rowan (all under 10). Drake was happy to see how her younger children didn’t need any technology to entertain themselves because they were always excited about where they were or where they were going.

They went the northern route through the Great Lakes, Wisconsin, South Dakota, to Olympic National Park.  They then traveled down the coast of California.  Darby left the trip in San Francisco to get back to her college classes.  The rest of the family continued through Nevada and Utah.  They were in Tennessee on Election Night. 

Sharon Drake sets up class in Nevada.

The idea for the trip began in the summer with expeditions in their new camper. “My family took advantage of our quarantine time and we purchased an RV,” said Drake.

There were weeks of planning that went into the trip. They didn’t just get up and leave. Drake needed to plan out all of the locations but also had to plan two months of schoolwork. On top of this, they planned to avoid Covid hotspots in order to stay safe. 

Drake taught using a hotspot at the locations, starting classes as early as 5:30 a.m. when on the West Coast. On the West Coast, first period was usually still dark outside, but second period had the sunrise to look forward to. 

“Oftentimes I taught in the dark so I had to set up a lantern, but usually around second period the sun would start to rise,” said Drake.

Everything seemed to go pretty smoothly, except on the third night Drake sprained her ankle.  She recovered during the trip.

In Moab, Utah, it was only 18 degrees. It was quite the opposite in Death Valley. Death Valley was one of the only locations where it was warm and dry enough to dry their laundry outside.  

Some of the locations Drake went to she had visited before, and some of the new locations she plans to return to in the future. It’s hard for Drake to choose a favorite location, but the Redwood Forest and Arches National Park were two of her favorites. 

Students had plenty of questions during the trip. Math student Edward Slavin was excited to wake up every morning and see where Mrs. Drake would be next. 

“Imagine this: waking up and getting on your Google Meet, and, while when you look out the window it’s sunny and cool. Your teacher has already been up for hours in a place that has snow already on the ground!” said Slavin.