We are home!
Wonderful, wonderful home!
Here are a few interesting facts from our trip:
Departure date: April 12, 2012.
Arrival back home: June 24, 2012.
Length of time gone: 74 days.
Territory covered: 28 states.
National Parks visited: 6.
Most expensive gas: $4.35 in CA.
Least expensive gas: $3.26 in MO.
Number of miles driven: 9,805!
Amount spent on gas: LOTS! $4, 848.41. That's if we didn't lose any receipts. :)
Rolls of quarters used on laundry: 7. ($70) Thanks to several people who allowed me to do laundry in their house! I'm sure that saved me a few quarter rolls.
Worst mosquitoes: MS, OK
Nicest people: in the Northwest.
Coldest temperatures: Crater Lake, OR and Jackson Hole, WY...both in the low 30's.
Warmest temperatures: OK...no doubt. 95 humid degrees!
Highest elevation: 8,000 feet in CO and WY.
Windiest places: Eastern CO and KS! It was a workout keeping the RV on the road. Not fun.
Worst breakdown: in Edmond, OK...broke a suspension arm (whatever that is) and it stopped us dead. For 2 full days.
Least worrisome breakdown: the leg-rest on the passenger seat quit working.
Our over-all favorite places: OR, MT, WY, CO.
Least sought after spot in the RV: the rear facing chairs at the table.
Best restaurants: San Diego and San Francisco
Worst restaurant: Kumback Lunch, Perry, OK
Best coffee: we still go with Starbucks, though we liked several we tried in the Northwest.
Oddest people: CA wins this hands down!
Best driver: Hmmm. We took a poll on this one - the girls, that is. Abe is the smoothest driver. You are less likely to get slung around, fall off the toilet, get catapulted up into the cockpit, spill your drink, or get car sick when he drives. Tim is the best for parking, backing, maneuvering. He can drive that RV over the craziest roads - roads not meant for 38 footers. For example: Jerome, AZ, the Pacific Coast Highway from Morro Bay up to Monterey, CA, the crazy streets of San Francisco, the Smith's driveway in San Diego, CA, etc. I now have complete faith and (almost) no fear when we drive somewhere. I know that if it's somewhere we want to go, Tim can take it there. Also, he can put the RV in almost any spot. He backs it like a pro and makes it fit in spaces you wouldn't think it should fit. For example: a 30 foot camping space in Sedona, AZ. That's 8 feet short of what we need. Did that stop Tim? Oh no. Just stick it in there cock-eyed with the rear end up against a bank and a 2 inch gap between the pop-outs and the trees. No sweat; no problem.
Worst driver: There's no such thing. We're all awesome! I am probably the most cautious. It's kind of hard to be wild and crazy when you can barely reach the pedal. Marci is very confident. She drove through rush-hour traffic in Charlotte on the very first leg of our trip - did an awesome job. There was the time in WA when Mar took the wheel from Abe. Tim and I were sleeping in the back and didn't know they were switching out. I think she was testing the brakes. I just know I woke up very suddenly when my 4 inch-thick Tom Clancy book hit me in the back of the head, and my face cracked up against the back of Tim's head. Ouch. He threw his arms out to brace himself and keep from falling out of bed. Just that one little slam on the brakes, then all was well. We went peacefully back to sleep.
Best swimming hole: South of Salina, KS.
Coldest swimming hole: the Merced River going through Yosemite.
User of the most band-aids: Tim
User of the most stamps: Sherri
Who ate the most sunflower seeds: Sherri, Abe, Marci. Tim and Angi can't seem to manage the putahandfulinyourcheekcrackoneopenchewthenutspittheshellout thing. We're still working with them! :) Conni can do it, but thinks it's too much work for too little return.
Who watched the most movies: Conni
Who texted the most: toss up between Abel and Marci
Who yelled the most in the shower when someone else used water: Abe, for sure! You'd think a little cool water was gonna kill him!
Who drank the most coffee/lattes: Tim, no doubt.
Who slept the most: Bear.
Who drove the most: Tim, Abe, Sherri, Marci in that order. Angi chose not to drive.
Who took the most pictures: Sherri
Who took the worst pictures: Abe
Who wrestled the most: Abe, Angi, Marci. I think the girls came up on the bad end of that every time. Abe would quote scripture at them: "You're gonna reap what you sow!" then harass them to no end.
Best practical joke: Angi putting chili powder in Abe's mouth while he was sleeping.
Why traveling in an RV is THE WAY to do a trip like this: There is no in and out of people's houses every night. Or in and out of a hotel. No living out of a suitcase. No having to eat at a restaurant every meal. You have your own space; your own bed. I can cook and eat like normal - don't have to live off of fast food and junk. No sitting for hours while you drive, strapped into a seat belt and smashed in between other people. You can get up and roam around, lie down, sleep, cook, eat, watch a movie, work on the computer, etc, while you're going down the road. How awesome is that? You have room to get away from each other; room for some privacy. Not lots, but some. And cargo space?! Wow. Lots of it. Room to bring home multiple rocks from various areas, some flea market treasures, and of course, room for all the camping gear, vehicle maintenance stuff, snow clothes, books, lawn chairs, 4 suitcases, sports equipment, guitar, firewood, fishing gear, and just about every "what if" thing imaginable.
I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this trip. It was a trip of a lifetime. I think we will all look back on it with very good memories. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to take it. Thankful for Tim making it happen. Thankful for our kids doing all they could do to make sure they could be with us as much as possible. Thankful for God leading us; for all He brought our way. His way and His timing is always perfect!
So many of you "traveled" with us. I hope you got a taste of what it was like. I hope you got to "see" some new country and maybe even got to know our family a little better. Our desire is to share our life with you - to encourage you in whatever way we can. To share what God has done for us and taught us. To be a small light of God's love and redemption. To reach out in love - to friends and family that we know and love, or to the random stranger we meet at a gas station,
or an RV park,
or the pool,
or at the lake,
or in a restaurant,
or at the laundromat,
or alongside the road while changing a flat tire,
or wherever we are!
If a trip like this is something you and your family have always wanted to do, I encourage you to do it. Even if it's a smaller version of this, do it. Do it before all your kids are gone. Do it while you can enjoy it with them.
God bless you all, and may you live a bountiful, abundant life in Christ with your family!