We drove 17,551 miles through 38 states adding New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Canada to the list. We spent $9,990 on gas and stayed in 78 campgrounds, for a total of $6,171.24. That included full hook-ups (water, elec. sewer & cable). We only boondocked a couple of times, once at a friend's farm for a few days (until the mosquitoes were to much for me!) and once in the parking lot of CampingWorld that was due to do maintenance on the rv the next morning. Just never did the "Walmart thing".
We met all kinds of fun people, from archaeologists to musicians from infants to folks in their 90s; students to retirees; hitch-hikers to million dollar rv drivers. Friendly folk who cheerfully invited us over to enjoy their fire to fancy folk who keep to the more elite class of motorhome people. We made some nice friendships that we hope will last a long time, and missed the ones we left back home. We visited friends and family that we hadn't seen in years with promises to do so more often.
We learned more about this great nation of ours than we ever did in school. We saw and enjoyed more beauty than we ever did from movies or books. We smelled more flowers and felt more sunshine and rain than we had in a long time. I saw robins & bluebirds and fireflies for the first time. We saw (rare) black squirrels and alligators too! The sunrises and sunsets never stopped being a joy to watch, beginning or ending our day with such beauty.
Beautiful nature was everywhere. Waterfalls, rock formations that boggled the imagination, rolling hills, huge mountains, plants and tall trees in every color, deep blue lakes and ocean with white soft sandy beaches filled with shells. Even the sky was different depending on where you were. Some nights there were so many stars that you could hardly see the black sky. And the lightening storms! Loud thunder, crackling bolts of white light flashing across the sky, one after another with sheets of such heavy rain you couldn't see across the street. What an experience it was to be in a summer storm in the south! Then there was the wind...driving across a clear open road with no buildings or mountains, nothing to slow the wind down, and it's blowing 50+ mph! After we pulled into a campground and hunkered down, we learned that it toppled over several semi trucks further down road.
Such great experiences, everyone of them. Listening to musicians playing everything from "old timey music" to jazz to gospel. Watching each one play with their heart as well as with their instruments. Watching folks dance, full of energy, "flat-footing" and the Lindy, square dancing as well as other local style of "barn dancing". We ate some wonderful regional foods too. We learned the differences of Bar-B-Que (all of them good!), tasted hush puppies, and even learned to like crawdads! Jack had some of the best Mexican food ever in San Antonio (which he doesn't normally like), and we laughed a lot about the southerners adding "gravy" to theirs in Tennessee! It was great to be able to eat straight from the farm fruits & vegetables as we drove along some of the back roads. It was even fun to guess "what they were growing" as we passed field after field of "something green". (Soy beans almost had me stumped) We discovered frozen custard and next to the wonderful french Beignets of New Orleans, decided there is no other dessert that can match them!
We had a ball seeing how things were made. We all get disgusted at seeing the "made in China" label on the bottom of so many products, well I'm here to tell you that America still makes a lot of wonderful things! Baseball Bats, Braille Machines, Harley Davidson, Toyota Cars, Crayola Crayons, Coca Cola, lots & lots of candy, beautiful glassware from Traffic Lights to Chandeliers, Fire Engines, Zippo Lighters, Hallmark Cards, and Motorhomes. Were the home of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Tabasco Sauce, Buffalo Wings, the Charleston Tea Plantation, Ringling, Barnum & Bailey Circus, and QVC. We enjoyed seeing shop after shop filled with hand made local items from wooden clocks to glass beads, from cloth dresses to beautiful art. There seemed to be no limit to the creativity and abundant talent all around us. Jack was just happy that our "little home" couldn't fit much of it in!
What we learned from all of this was that we are not ready to stop just yet. We still have 10 states we haven't even stepped foot in, so to speak, and several more that we just wheezed by that we want to spend some quality time in. This past year we wanted to see as much as we could, so traveled pretty fast. This year we want to slow it down a bit and spend more time enjoying our surroundings, nature, and the people around us. More State and National Parks, more time to ride our bikes and kicking back reading the box of books we still have with us.
I would like to continue to write, but am thinking of making some changes. What do you think, dear readers? What would you like? I could use some feedback...more detail, less? I was thinking maybe more detail on the campgrounds in case anyone wanted to go there? Or more about my personal journey? Or? I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
...kicking back in California, Marie