Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My First 10 on 10: November 2014

For quite a while my daughter, Nicole, over at GidgetGoesHome has joined with Rebekah at a bit of sunshine posting 10 pictures on the 10th of every month to showing beauty in the ordinary. I thought it would be fun to give it a try and give you a few peeks into my day on the 10th:

Little moments go by all too quickly; it's nice to remember them!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Exploring the USA

We took our first USA RV Trip with our good friends, Sue and Bill, (and our dog, Sydney, of course!). Our wonderful journey started on August 11th when we left Lake Almanor in Nor Cal.We returned home on Oct 8th, 2014.
(we drove to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado)
We spent 8 1/2 weeks on the roads of northern America in our 40' RV, towing our jeep, on our trip of a lifetime (the first of several such trips).
Nick and I have camped our entire marriage. We started camping in a tent, before we bought a camper. After the camper, we owned 2-travel trailers (18" and 24"), 2-Class C motorhomes (22' and 28'), 1-Class A 34' motorhome, and 2-diesel pusher 40' motorhomes. We have always talked about seeing and traveling through all the states of the USA.

Last year we bought our USA map (those of you who camp have seen the USA maps on the sides of RV's). On it, we put the states' stickers for the states we traveled to in 2013 in our RV: California, of course, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.  Now our USA map has 19 states' stickers, only 29 more states to go, 30 if we take our RV to Alaska!

Here's a look at our trip by the numbers:

We traveled 17 states:  (18 states if you count driving 20 miles through Arizona!).

We visited and or/traveled to:

*** 38+ American cities/towns

*** 6 cities visited friends

*** 8 National Parks:
    Glacier National Park
    Yellowstone National Park
    Theodore Roosevelt National Park
    Badlands National Park
    Rocky Mountain National Park
    Arches National Park
    Bryce National Park
    Zion National Park

*** 26+  Points of Interest and National Historic Sites, including:
    National Bison Range, MT
    John D. Rockefeller Memorial Pkwy (the road between Yellowstone and Grand Tetons)
    Little Missouri National Grasslands, ND
    Mt Rushmore National Memorial, SD
    Custer State Park in the Black Hills, SD
    Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
    Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, SD
    "Wall Drug," SD
    Jefferson Expansion, St Louis Arch Gateway to the West, MO
    Anheuser Busch Brewery and Budweiser Tour, MO
    Branson. MPO
    Air Force Strategic Air Command and Museum, NE
    Holy Family Shrine Chapel, NE
    The Mall of America, MN
    Minnehaha Falls, MN
    Harley-Davidson Museum, WI
    Wisconsin Dells, WI
    Vesterheim - Norwegian-American Museum, IO (both Sue and I are Norwegian!)
    Covered Bridges of Madison County, IO
    United States Air Force Academy and AF Cadet Chapel, CO
    Pike's Peak, (14, 115') CO
    Garden of the Gods, CO - National Natural Landmark
    Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, CO
    Grand Mesa outside of Grand Junction, CO
    Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, NV

*** 4 baseball parks: Minnesota Twins, Target Field; Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park;
               St Louis Cardinals, Busch Stadium; and Kansas City Royals, Kaufman Stadium

*** 33 RV parks, including 3 state park campgrounds and 2 city RV parks

*** 28 days/nights of rainstorms with thunder and lightning, like we've never seen in southern California! Everywhere, along our trip, locals told us it was the "wettest" summer in years, which we can attest!

***12 audiobooks listened to along the way

*** 2,000+ pictures taken

*** and 8,600 miles put on our RV and 1,500 miles on our jeep.

America is so much larger than we imagined, with the most amazing beauty, vastness and diversity of the terrain. We saw green rolling hills, lush foliage and forests;
many rivers, including the Missouri River, the Mississippi River, the Arkansas River and the Colorado River; waterfalls: many lakes and the very Big Sky of Montana; the wildflowers; glacier, hot mineral springs, and geysers;the brilliant blue skies over America with the clouds almost close enough to touch; the beautiful sunsets;
the sunflower fields, as well as the endless fields of sorghum and soybeans, and corn fields; Hoodoos (spires); the plains; the many mountains, including the mighty Rocky Mountains; and many different wild animals, including: American Bison, Elk, Prone Horn Antelope, Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, Prairie Dogs, bear, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and Mountain Goat.

We drove on two lane highways, interstates, back roads, and dirt roads; throughout National Parks; through small towns and large cities; in the middle of what seemed like nowhere, alone on an interstate and stuck in traffic (YES! there is traffic outside of California, although shocking, I know!); used 4 GPS's and a good old-fashioned Atlas, at one time, to guide us along our way, sometimes finding a "different" way to get to our destination. We drove on sunny clear days and through some torrential thunderstorms; had warm weather and some really cold weather in the fall (woke up to 27 degrees in Bryce Canyon National Park); through the plains, over the continental divide several times, and over the Rocky Mountains via the Independence Pass, 12,096 ft.

To see more of our trip check out  my flickr page !