Marcia and I sold our house in Kentucky and bought a 37- foot Coachmen Santara to live in while we traveled around the U. S. A. back in June of 2007. We had to delay the start of our trip because I had been diagnosed with cancer so we were able to spend time close to home in VA at the Cumberland Gap National Park and in Berea while I went through several radiation treatments.
Once the treatments were completed we left KY and went to Ohio to see family. We needed to go to Iowa to have the hydraulics repaired on the RV so we passed through Indiana and Illinois on the way. When we arrived in Iowa we had the rig repaired and then set our sights on South Dakota where we would get SD drivers license. Getting to SD we had to pass through Nebraska, which gave us an opportunity to see Mark and his family.
We spent a week in SD seeing Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Black Hills, Sturgis, Deadwood, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave State Park. Seeing the things we had only seen in pictures was a real treat for us, and Marcia getting to see all these places was a real joy for me. At last I was able to share a lot of new places with Marcia.
From SD we headed west through Wyoming to Montana where we were entertained by Randy and Carolyn for a week. They were terrific hosts offering us a place to park the rig, and showing us the best of times in Lima MT. We had to leave MT when our water hose froze, after all we were chasing the 70's and ice should be in Margaritas not a water hose.
Idaho was the next state we passed through, and it was so beautiful we made a commitment to return and spend more time in that state. After ID came Washington but it was getting late in the year and we had so much more we wanted to see before winter we elected to just spend one night there and then head south into Oregon.Driving the rig out onto the beach was a real thrill for us, and capturing the moment on the camera has given us a chance to relive the moment over and over. Oregon is another state we want to revisit, and someday we will.
California was next in our list of states to visit. Our rig was too large for the Red Wood National Park so we parked it in a fairgrounds campground while we took the motorcycles and toured the red woods. It is unreal to see trees as big as they are there. So much of the U S A goes unseen by most Americans, I wander why people want to spend their money in foreign countries. Hwy 101 and 1 was a dream I've had since watching "Then Came Bronson" on TV as a child, but now I was fulfilling that dream. We drove the rig down much of the 101 and during our stops we would ride the bikes fulfilling my dream.
We spent a couple weeks driving down the CA coast before heading inland to Ramona where we were chased out by the fires of 07. We actually had to run a roadblock on the KLR to get the rig and Leo (Marcia's bird) out of the path of the fires.
Arizona was next in our path, and Jon was being stationed there when he returned from Korea so we would wind up spending the winter in AZ. The desert gets way too cold for us during the winter months, but the experience was well worth enduring the cold. We met so many people; we will always have good friends to gather with along our travels.
February brought the hitch itch for us so we started heading east. New Mexico was a one-night stop leading us to Texas the state we almost chose to become residents. Texas was not good to us, we, or should I say I, tore the roof on the RV so we spent way too much time in TX. We had planned on being in TN for the birth of our fourth grandchild: miss Jaelynn.
Crossing TX took us weeks, but it was enjoyable even with the setbacks. Louisiana and Arkansas was between TN and us so we conquered them hurriedly. Marcia wanted to see the little girl Corey and Jennifer had created, and I was looking forward to seeing our family in KY again.
After spending time with family in KY-TN we started looking for warmer weather. South Carolina had always interested me so we decided to check it out. It is so nice to live in an RV where you can drive to where ever you want. North Carolina was the only state between SC and us so we conquered it on the way. Spending time in SC and Georgia was a lot warmer than KY so we were content to hang around for several weeks.
Our time in SC was interrupted by a phone call telling us my Brother Scott had wrecked his motorcycle (again) and he was being flown to UT Medical Center. We tried to get them to send him to KY but the weather prevented that. We got the call around 6 PM and by 7PM we had decided to pack up and drive back to TN to be with Scott. After Scott was well into recovery, after several weeks of agonizing pain and surgeries we felt comfortable enough to leave the area. So it was back to Lexington KY to spend our first anniversary as full-timing RVers. Friendships we had made last year were re-kindled. We left our friends in KY to visit another couple in Ohio that we had met last year in WY. We also got to be with Chuck and Terry the day Cody and Nicole became proud parents.
Virginia and Pennsylvania was our next states to add to the map we had purchased and placed on the side of our rig. The outline of the USA was put on and then as we spent the night in the RV in a state we would add that state to the map. A lot of RVers have these maps to show where they have been. PA also brought the opportunity for Jenelle to come spend some time with us in the rig.
Now some careful planning was required for us to spend a night in all the states in the North East including, DE, NJ, CT, NY, MA, RI, NH, VT, MD, and ME. Gas prices reaching above the $5 a gallon was hindering our travels severely, but we did manage to get all the states on our map, and we even had a couple visits by Jenelle.
Jenelle had chosen to move her life from NY to TN so I thought it would help her if we took the rig back to Knoxville TN so she would have a place to stay while she looked for an apartment. We drove back to TN by way of Warsaw VA where we spent a few days on the "rivah" with some great friends we had met back in Quartzsite AZ.
Jenelle arrived in TN a few days after we did, I still wander how she made it with that car loaded down so much, and a crunched fender rubbing one of the tires. I guess the good lord was watching over her. She found a job the first week, and an apartment the next week. After we helped her get settled in we were off again.
Branson MO was our destination, but we had to stop by Broken Arrow OK to visit another couple we had met in Q back in Jan of 2008. When we got there we found two couples we had met and spent s few days sharing good times with them. We left OK and went to Branson where Marcia was going to be trained as a camp host for the Escapees RV Club.
After her training we went back to KY for one last visit before heading to FL for the winter months. We spent four months enjoying the FL sunshine, we saw many sights while we were there, and had several visitors. Dad came down and spent six weeks with us, Jenelle came and spent a weekend, Corey, Jennifer, Jaelynn, Cody, Nicole, and Jacob came to FL and stayed with my brother so we moved the rig from Bushnell to Tampa where we could be close to the kids while they were in FL.
Finally March rolled in and our commitment at Sumter Oaks RV Park was complete so we were off again in search of new states and new things to see. We left FL and drove over 400 miles to get into AL where we would get to add another state to the map. After AL it was a night in a casino parking lot in MS so we could add MS to our map.
LA was the next state to be added officially to our map before we returned to TX where we would meet up with 17 other rigs, that are all part of the Escapees full-timing class of 2007. The reunion would last for three days, filled with way too much food and plenty of good times.
We left the reunion to head to Livingston TX, the Escapees Headquarters, where Marcia will be camp hosting for 5 weeks. Now this has been a very brief overview of our travels covering the past 22 months. I will now attempt to give a little more details of our travels in a blog that I have set up.
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