Don & Sandi at "home", back in the Stockton area.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We are home! Final "100-Day Trip" blog entry...


Well, we did it.  We completed our so-called "100-Day Trip" around the United States.  We arrived "home" late Monday evening after a couple of days of "chill'n" in Laughlin, Nevada...we saw three movies in two days at the local cineplex; and we just relaxed.  We are now "camping" at a nice campground in French Camp, just south of Stockton.  This will be our home-base for a while as we begin the hunt for a house or condo in Stockton verrry soon.

We decided to summarize our trip as succinctly as order to help our "old" brains keep track of our favorite adventures and scenic sites.

Trip Summary:
1. Traveled for a grand total of 127 days (July 12 to Nov 15).
2. Traveled out-of-state for 99 days (Aug 9 to Nov 15) on our "100-Day Trip"!
3. Traveled a total of 18,305 miles (11,130 in the motorhome and an additional 7,175 in a lot of "side-trips" in the car).
 4. Traveled most of the time at about 55 mph, even in those states where it would have been legal to go 80 mph.  We averaged approximately 7.0 mpg in the motorhome (while towing the car)...yeah!  (We had predicted we would get only about 5.0 mpg.)
5. Had only very minor mechanical issues (two blown tires, one blown shock absorber).
6. And yes, we did visit 44 states during the trip.  On previous RV trips, we visited the four states that we did not see on this trip.  Consequently, we have now been to EVERY state in the 48-contiguous states in the good 'ole USA!   (Alaska, here we come...sooner-or-later!)

Favorite event of the trip?   Without a doubt, the several days we spent with family (son, daughter-in-law, daughter, and our two granddaughters) at Disneyland was wonderful!  That was our favorite part of our trip...and a great way to start our retirement adventures.  OK, now to our favorite adventures and scenic sites, aside from the family part of the trip.

Top 5 Favorite "Adventures":

1. Dolphin Swim in the Florida Keys (for Sandi).
1. Fighter Pilot for a Day (for Don).
2. Zipline rides in Branson, Missouri.
3. Helicopter ride to view the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri (and our visit inside the Arch).
4. Bi-plane ride to view the Florida Keys.
5. Space-shuttle amusement park ride at EPCOT (the ride that provided real "air-sick bags" in front of each rider...and we almost used them.)

Top 10 Favorite Scenic Sites/Monuments/Cities/Places (with a list of the "Why?":

1.  Florida Keys:  dolphin swim;  bi-plane ride;  snorkeling;  camping 10 feet from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico;  Key West;  Southern-most point in U.S.;  beautiful scenery.

2. Niagara Falls (New York):  Cave of the Winds walk;  Maid-of-the-Mist boat ride to Horseshoe Falls;  beautiful.

3. Grand Canyon (Arizona):  walks along the South Rim;  beautiful;  beautiful;  beautiful...truly so "grand in scale" that it is hard to take it all in.

4. Kennedy Space Center (Florida):  Shuttle "Discovery" on the launch pad;  Saturn Five rocket on display (huge!);  touched a real moon rock;  history of US space travel.

5. Washington, DC:  Four museums;  Declaration of Independence (the real one!);  Dorothy's red slippers from "Oz";  Spirit of St. Louis airplane;  shuttle Enterprise;  Memorials/Monuments (Lincoln, Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Vietnam; Korean, WW II, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier).

6. Branson, Missouri:  Showboat ride on a paddle-wheeler;  zipline ride;  multiple shows.

7. Mt. Rushmore (South Dakota):  Mt. Rushmore monument of the presidents;  Crazy Horse Monument;  Badlands;  buffalo.

8. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina:  historic first flight by the Wright brothers (monument and first-flight "runway" location);  Jeep ride on the beach on the Outer Banks of NC;  wild Spanish Mustang horses.

9. North Dakota Trip:  drove to ND for dinner;  beautiful segments of scenery;  fields of sunflowers and grain;  really relaxed for the first time...reached the realization that "we really are retired".

10. New York City:  Ground Zero site;  Times Square;  Statue of Liberty;  Broadway.

Honorable Mentions: 
A.  Devil's Tower (Wyoming)
B.  Mississippi River (campground on the river in Arkansas).
C.  EPCOT (Florida)
D.  Harper's Ferry (West Virginia)


OK, that's it...this is the final blog entry (for this trip).

We would recommend this trip (or any portion of it) to anyone and everyone.  Go do it!   We had a great time; and although it does seem like we were gone for a very long time, in other ways the time and miles just flew by.  We had a great adventure...and we still love and like each other ;-) !!!

Thanks for following the blog and allowing us to share.

Take care.
Don & Sandi

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grand Canyon


We have spent the past two days at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.  We had previously visited the North Rim and it was beautiful...but we have found that we believe the South Rim views are even more beautiful.  But you cannot lose by visiting either rim of the Grand Canyon...absolutely spectacular!

We hiked some of the South Rim trail on Wednesday and enjoyed the views and the walk.   On Thursday we drove about 25 miles along the South Rim roads and stopped at scenic-view outlooks about ten times.  We also visited the Tusayan Pueblo Ruin,  occupied by Native Americans over 800 years ago.   We also visited the Desert View Watchtower, built in 1932.  It was designed as a re-creation of prehistoric towers found over large areas of the Southwest, believed to be used for food storage and protection during war.  This tower was built as an observation tower and rest stop for early visitors to the Grand Canyon's South Rim.

We will leave the Grand Canyon on Friday and head towards California.   We should arrive home in the Stockton area in the next 7 to 10 days...or so  ;-).

Take care.
Don & Sandi.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

White Sands & Belen


We have spent the past couple of days with "Uncle Ken" in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  We had a great time visiting with him and going to the White Sands and the Space Museum.

The White Sands are incredible...miles-upon-miles of white sand (looks almost like snow from a distance); and the sand is soft, almost like talcum powder.   The Alamogordo area has been an instrumental site in the development of weapons (first A-bomb test called the "Trinity" project took place at the White Sands); as well as space-related projects.  The White Sands Space Harbor is an emergency landing site for the Shuttle.

Our visit with Uncle Ken was great.  He has been a fixture in Alamogordo for decades and he has to be the youngest 95-year old person I have ever met.  Our wish is to be as "young" as him when we are 95 years old!  

We then drove north to Belen, New father's birthplace.  He grew-up in Belen until he was 17 (and moved with the whole family to Richmond, California).   He worked at the railroad station as the person who had to wake the train engineers and caboose-men to tell them their train had arrived and it was time to get to the train.  He worked out of the "Harvey House" (see photo), which is now a national historic site.   He would wake the men sleeping at the Harvey House, or run to their homes locally to wake them.  It was great to visit Belen.

We arrived at our campground inside the Grand Canyon National Park late on Tuesday.   Boy is it cold (predicted low of 23 degrees F tonight)!   There are even some small patches of snow on the ground in our campsite.

Take care.
Don & Sandi