Borrowing from Johnny Cash’s I’ve Been Everywhere:
We’ve traveled every road in this here land.
We’ve been everywhere, man. We’ve been everywhere, man.
Crossed the deserts bare, man. We’ve breathed the mountain air, man.
Travel, we’ve had our share, man. We’ve been everywhere.
We’ve been to California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Maine.
We’ve ridden 95 and 85 and 15 just the same.
We’ve been to New Orleans, New York City and Key West, they were cool.
We’ve stayed in Hot Springs, Palm Springs and Salt Lake City too.
We’re killers. We’ve been everywhere, man.
An adventure of a lifetime. WE’VE BEEN EVERYWHERE!
I’ll start by writing that the last two years plus have been spectacular. As Alayne likes to say, “she’s seen things she never thought she’d get to see, and she’s seen things she didn’t even know existed.” From Bar Harbor to San Diego Harbor. From the white sands of Fort Meyers Beach to White Sands, New Mexico. From Lake Pontchartrain to Lake Ontario and Lake Yellowstone. We’ve seen a LOT of America, and even a couple bits of Canada.
We managed to hit 42 states and nearly 100 campgrounds in our time on the road. In both cases, some were more memorable than others. A popular question is, “What’s your favorite place?” That’s impossible to answer. Surely some standouts in my mind are Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming (see Snowballs in July) and Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota. The drives were just beautiful. There was also the first two rocket launches I’d ever seen in my life, as well getting to stand in front of Frank Sinatra’s first house in Palm Springs as well as his headstone at Desert Memorial Park. And there was the desolation of standing in the middle-of-nowhere Utah staring at the very bright Milky Way with its overwhelming number of stars. That’s the sort of stuff you simply don’t see every day.
In all, we traveled 20,000 miles in the RV. But the RV was only part of our travel. The Honda endured 20,000 miles behind the RV plus another 40,000 miles of me behind the wheel; it now has 92,000 miles on its 2012 chassis. Aside from a flat tire on the Honda in the middle of South Dakota near Wall Drug, we’ve never had any trip disruptions of any consequence. Sure, the RV has required quite a bit of maintenance. But unlike your everyday camper that only gets used a few weeks a year, we’ve used it.
Certainly one would wonder what we missed if we only saw 42 states. I don’t think we missed a lot.
We missed Delaware simply because we forgot it existed when we were in the area. Sorry, Delawarians, but I don’t think we missed much. We avoided North Dakota because we’ve seen flat ground. We live on relatively flat ground. We purposely didn’t go to Wisconsin, Michigan or Minnesota because having grown up in the upper Midwest, we’d already traveled those areas extensively. We didn’t go to Alaska. Sure, I could have proven a point by driving the 1,400-mile Alcan Highway, but there are easier ways to see Alaska without taking a grueling, month-long drive. For obvious reasons, we didn’t go to Hawaii. That leaves us with Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, all of which we’ll make time for down the road, probably as part of a cruise to Alaska.
I always thought we would tour the country and make a determination regarding where we’d settle down based on what we’d seen. We’ve lived lakeside. We’ve lived in mountains. We’ve been nestled among pine trees, and we’ve lived in the desert. But having experienced all of these, we’ve decided to return to Texas. We like the area, and we like the people. We pretty much like the weather, although it does get hot. And my allergies don’t bother me near as much as they do in the Southeast or upper Midwest.
As we start to transition from what has been one helluva vacation into a more conventional lifestyle in Gunter, Texas, we’re packing, we’re moving stuff, and we’re readying the RV for its new owners. It will surely be with moist eyes that we put our previous home of two and half years up for sale, but we’ve got some fantastic memories that will always remain from the pleasure of owning it and fulfilling our lifelong dream of living on the road.
In closing, I hope you’ve enjoyed my missives. If you ever want to ask for more detail about places we’ve been, just let us know. And if you’re ever traveling through North Texas, drop by and pay us a visit.