Epic road trip to see the pope

The Melendrez family was determined  to see the pope, so much that they spent three days driving here from Riverside, California, with their 10 children, ranging in age from nine months to 15, in tow.

 "We're part of the church," said Aurora Melendrez, 38, holding her youngest, Clare, on her chest, while six other children circled around her. "We would go all over the world to serve the church. We want to support the pope."

 The trip was tough. They left Tuesday, arrived Friday, slept at rest stops on the way. They drove in a 15- seat Ford Transit, her husband at the wheel the whole way.

 "It's hard to sleep in the van because the seatbelt is always on your neck," said Jese, 9.

 "My teacher told me we would be very happy that we came, even though my family is very big and very hard to take care of," added Eileen, who will celebrate her 11th birthday on the trip.

 The kids had to take eight days off from school and did their school work while crossing the country, Melendrez said.

She and seven of their children stood against a backdrop on Logan's Circle early Saturday evening. She said she's glad to be here but managing all the children in the crowd isn't easy.

Her husband, Luis, a grounds supervisor for a high school, had Sofia, 2, resting on his shoulder. He pushed to the front of the line with two of the other children, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pope.

 "I told the kids if we don't see the pope it's ok," Melendrez said. "It's amazing to just be here."

 But Eileen was hoping she would get lucky.

 She knows just what she'd ask him.

 "Is it really hard being yourself and not making sins? I mean I know no one is perfect."