Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Another Fabulous New Year On the Road

Now that 2013 is coming to a close it is time to reflect on what another great year on the road it was.   We started in Tucson, Arizona and ended up just 1,600 miles away, as the crow flies, in the Florida panhandle.  Whoa, that statement makes us sound like total snowbirds.  But somehow, we managed not to take the path of the crow; instead, we covered over 7,300 miles, ended up in a foreign country (even if it was just Canada), spent the night (or more) in 15 states, and experienced the country like we love to see it – from the windows of our motorhome.

Our year began leaving the desert southwest making a bee-line for California.  Sorry desert-loving people but I just don’t like the desert and can’t get into it.  In my world, the saguaros needed to be replaced with sand dunes and the dry desert needed to be replaced with a crashing ocean.  I told Spirit we were heading for Cali and would not stop until her paws could frolic in the sand with her fur dripping wet with salt water.  O.K., so we took a three-day detour for the purposes of visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  Sand beneath our toes would have to wait . . . but it was imminent.

The RV ended up in the cute coastal towns of Moss Landing, Ventura, and Pismo Beach.  The crab pot came out of storage and we filled our picnic table with Dungeness crabs right off the boat, warm drawn butter and cold beer.  We moseyed up the coast of Cali for some incredible wine, spectacular coastal views, the best shrimp and fish taco ever, and an unspoiled coast that left us enthralled with the water all over again. 

waterfront living
But soon it was time to head inland through Oregon to see an old high school friend and pick up a Pendleton blanket.  We were on our way to our first work camping job in north-central Idaho and had to stock up on wool blankets and flannel shirts.  Having never been to Idaho before, we were warned that the weather may still be cold in April so we decided to stock up on essentials for the frigid north.

Turns out the weather in Orofino, Idaho in spring was glorious and we fell in love with the unspoiled area.  We could not have been happier spending three months working at a campground we loved and with wonderful people that made us laugh.  From now on, we will have fond memories of Dworshak Dam and Reservoir and Dent Acres Campground and all of the people that went with it.

Cowboy Ken introduced us to Black Velvet and entertained us with karaoke.

All in all, we spent a good four months exploring northern Idaho and fell in love with the lonely state that never seems to get talked about.  I’m only sorry we did not have time to see the southern part and spend more time there.

But, we were on our way to northern Montana and up into Canada, eh!  Of all the “wild” places we experienced, Glacier National Park and its Canadian partner Watertown Lakes National Park quickly became ranked at the top.  The hikes were fabulous and took us to places that jump right off the pages of a National Geographic Magazine.  Watertown NP was a highlight of the year with absolutely incredible hiking and scenery and we were spoiled with daily bear sightings. 

Leaving Waterton was hard but there was more of the splendid Canadian Rockies to explore.  Quickly, we became enthralled with Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper where we saw glacial blue water, snowcapped mountains, and hiked to the Ice Fields Parkway that gives a whole new meaning to the term “Scenic Drive.”

Heading back into the states, was a perfect opportunity for Betsy and I to catch up with old friends and visit new places.  It seemed like no time had passed since we had seen these long, lost friends and the laughter flowed like old times.  After meeting up with Betsy’s high school pal, Cara, I’m not sure whose past was wilder?

The Washington coast was a welcome site with the wide open beaches, scrumptious seafood, and breath-taking views.  Port Townsend (on the Olympic Peninsula) captivated us with its historic buildings and small town charm.  In Oregon, we fell in love with the town of Bandon and it became my favorite town of 2013.  This is a quaint town that we had never been to before but held our interest and gained our hearts in just four days.  Bandon has a wide beach, intriguing light house, delicious creamery, irresistible sea food, and fun market.  What more do you need?

It's pretty windy here in Oregon!

The California redwoods were on our “must-see” list for the west coast and even with the government shut-down we managed to still see these glorious, majestic giants.  In fact, without rangers to bust us we let Spirit run off-leash. 

So as the fall began approaching it was time to head west to spend time with my family before winding up in Florida.   Kansas City was a great stop to see an aunt, uncle, and cousins, pick up another Presidential Library and eat some great barbeque.  Next we headed to St. Louis to spend time with my family.  The time we spent with my family was great and makes us feel so blessed that we have wonderful family members who carve time out of their busy days to hang with the vagabonds.

I hope I look as good as my Grandmother does when I'm 91.
And so by mid-November we ended up at our ultimate favorite campground which is Grayton Beach State Park in the Florida panhandle.  We love this park which comes with easy access to an incredible beach, fun hiking, and spectacular views.  The park’s location is within an easy walk or bike ride to restaurants, markets, shopping and everything else you need.  Don’t even think I am going to tell you our favorite site . . . no way!

We are having a blast here in the Florida panhandle where we have made many new friends, enjoy long walks on the white sandy beach, hikes in the pines, paddling the tranquil coastal dune lakes and eating great food.  As 2013 comes to a close we look forward to all the 2014 has to offer and new adventures as we head up the east coast and make our way up to Maine and to share time with Betsy's brother, Mark.  We also treasure friends we met blogging and dogging in the dog parks!  

Here’s hoping you have a great New Year and safe travels. 

Thanks to all the wonderful people who made our year spectacular!  


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