Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Fast Five Years...

The last of December is always the time I use to reflect on our year and sum everything up but this is not only the end of the year, it also marks the end of us being on the road for a full five years!  That's a big deal for we only going to "do this" for one year, and here we are, still tootling down the road after five years!  Wow!  Hard to believe... That's what our friends keep saying too!  They always think it's about two or three when the subject comes up, then shake their heads when we tell them it's "five".  The next question is always "when are you going to quit?" and our answer always is "I don't know...when we find a place we like enough to settle down to, I guess!"  ;-)  Ah, the life of a road gypsy...

Our year started out along the sunny beaches of California, just slowly meandering down the coast.  It was lovely.  We even scored a spot right by the water and built ourselves a small fire one night while watching and listening to the ocean waves coming in and caught a glorious sunset to cap it all off!

We "crossed off" several things on my list this year...One of the biggest was finally getting to North Dakota, a state that we've been trying to get to for years!  Jack just had to see "the Chipper" in Fargo, and I'm determined to camp in every state, and not just 'travel through' them.  We had such a fun time at the Fargo Welcome Center.  They even have a box of hats for people to put on for pictures!  They really get into the spirit of it all there.

I wished it were our last state, but unfortunately, we will have one more to camp in...and that's Ohio!  But, that gives us a goal for 2017!  ;-)

We also got to go up into the St. Louis Gateway Arch, something I've wanted to do all my life.  That was a wonderful thrill.  One I won't ever forget.  St. Louis was a beautiful city too, with lots to see and do.  We really enjoyed ourselves there.  Springfield Ill was another wonderful stop because that is where Lincoln was from.  I am a big fan of Lincoln's and really enjoyed being able to see his tomb, the town, all the historical buildings, etc.  I loved it all.  Another place on our list was Crater Lake.  With all our travels back and forth in that area, you would have thought we would have been there before, but no.  Wow, what a gorgeous place.  We were in awe.  We sure lucked out on the weather that day too.  Couldn't have been better.

A couple of highlights for us were "trees" this year.  First was when we visited Sequoia National Park and the second is when we visited the Redwoods afterward in Humboldt.  We just couldn't get over their beauty.  The peace that it gave us was lovely and long lasting.

We always manage to slip in a train trip or two, and this year was no exception!  We did two small ones this time, one in Arkansas and one in Northern California.  Always fun, and you get to see things you can't see otherwise.  Each train is a little different too, so it's always a "learning experience"!  ;-)

We spent Father's Day in an "old fashioned" way this year...watching families playing baseball together, having homemade picnics, playing catch, listening to the radio, and just spending the day together - but in a very special place.  The original film location for the movie Field of Dreams (with Keven Costner) in Dyersville Iowa.  It was wonderful.  Towns people bring their own balls, bats, etc. and just come on in and use the field, sit on the bleachers; there are a couple of tables to use for picnics and just like it's 1960, play ball and have a good time.  The owner's have kept it up, still live in the house and probably look out the window and enjoy watching it as much as we did.  No charge, no hassle, just good old fashion good neighbor community fun.  Nice.

We celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary this year.  With the whole United States to choose from, where do you go?  Well, we decided to go back to one of our favorites, the Grand Tetons National Park.  Only while we were there, we "celebrated" by spending one night inside the lodge!  We had a nice dinner and a nice stay! Sweet!

We continued to meet up with family and friends along the way, which always makes our trips so enjoyable!

Every year we "go on vacation"...that's where we leave the RV and go somewhere without it.  This year we flew to Hawaii.  Maui and Kauai to be exact.  Our trip was wonderful, and we learned something important too...Life is precious, you never know what is going to happen next, so enjoy every moment.  We were in a terrible auto accident that took the life of the other two drivers and through the grace of God we were spared and uninjured.

With that are our stats for the year:

We stayed at 66 campgrounds, for a total of 279 nights
Total campground fees: $10,587.54
(That averages about $37.95 a night, which is about right...some places were gratefully low, with others, like California being the highest, but overall, most places have pretty much stayed the same this year)

Mileage for the RV: 14,476
Mileage for the toad: 12,350
Gasoline for the RV: $5,210.00
Gasoline for the toad: $1,268.00
Propane: $65.00
Maintenance & Repairs RV: (muffler extension, brakes, etc) $3,532.00

Thanks for "traveling along with us"!  Here's to a wonderful 2017 filled with new adventures and fabulous surprises! 

...kicking back in the desert of California,  Marie

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