Summary of our Trip

We are home. Our camper is safely parked at our son’s farm. It was quite a trip and a wonderful adventure. Here are a few statistics:

We drove 6,481.2 miles. Some of it was driving around Big Timber, Montana; Dalzell, South Carolina; and Rapid City, South Dakota; where we stayed for more than one night. A little bit of our driving was sight seeing along the way with our trailer parked, but over 6,000 miles we were pulling our camper.

We stayed in our camper 32 consecutive nights, parked in 11 different locations. There were 4 campgrounds where we staying both headed east and headed west. One campground, in Rapid City, South Dakota, was our home for four days on our west bound leg of the journey. We stayed at my sister’s place in Montana for 6 nights when we were east bound and one night on our return trip. We parked in our daughter and son-in-law’s back yard for nine nights.

We used 518.5 gallons of diesel, averaging 12.5 miles per gallon for the trip.

We topped out 7 mountain passes going both directions.

We didn’t experience any major breakdowns with the camper or the truck. We didn’t have any flat tires. We did make a few minor repairs along the way, but none delayed our trip. Making small repairs is part of the camper lifestyle. I have a theory that the people who enjoy traveling with a recreational vehicle are the ones who enjoy working on their vehicle and making small repairs. I had to replace a couple of screws in a drawer slide. I replaced a cable that operates a plumbing valve. I tightened a few screws and nuts. I also made regular checks of tire pressures, wheel bearing temperatures, oil levels, and other routine items.

We saw an amazing slice of the United States, driving from the northwest corner to nearly the south east corner. Our camper is currently parked 4 1/2 miles from the coast and 5 miles from the Canadian border. When we were at our daughter’s home, we were in the center of South Carolina. We crossed the Rockies, the plains, the Appalachians, and a lot of other beautiful country. We drove across and alongside the Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. We crossed 12 states.

Those statistics, however, don’t come close to telling the story of our wonderful adventure.

I have had significant conversations with all of my living siblings. I have had some important time with nieces and nephews and their children. I have sung the old camp songs with family and friends. I have dipped in cold mountain streams and busy swimming pools.

We have seen first hand the condition of the highways and bridges in our country. We have experienced construction delays and seen repairs in progress. We’ve bounced through a lot of pot holes and rough patches in the highways.

Importantly, we have had a wonderful time being a couple, eating our favorite home-cooked foods and visiting a few very good restaurants. We’ve sampled some excellent barbecue and smoked meats, some tasty Japanese-American cooking, a bit of seafood, and a few treats that we don’t often get at home such as pecan waffles at a waffle house and sweet tea. We’ve also drunk gallons of ice tea that we made ourselves along the way and feasted on bagels and peanut butter, our favorite quick lunch while traveling. We’ve had conversations about a thousand different topics, some simply amusing and enjoyable, some important planning about our future and decisions that we make. After 48 years of being married, we still simply enjoy taking a walk hand-in-hand and having a conversation about the things that are going on in our lives.

We have fitness tracker software on the watches we wear and we completed our exercise goals every day of the trip. We took walks together and separately, we paddled and swam and played with our grandchildren. We got a bit of work done, helping out with projects at the places where we stayed.

We visited friends, old and new. We sat down for conversations with folks that we hadn’t seen for more than a year. We enjoyed renewing friendships that will continue despite the distances between our homes. We visited the homes of friends who will visit our home when they get to make big trips. We were reminded that love is stronger than distance.

The stories of our people are filled with stories of journeys and pilgrimages. We have had the blessing of enjoying many road trips over the years. We have traveled to places that are even farther away than the destination of this adventure. Each time we travel, we learn and grow and experience a bit more of the culture and lifestyle of those who are different than ourselves. Driving across this country reminds us that ours is a union of diverse people with many different concerns, opinions and ways of life. When we travel we get to experience different dialects and accents. I joke about enjoying visits to the south where my name has two syllables. Down there it is pronounced “Tay-ed.” Up north it is a quick “Ted.”

Today we will have some time with our grandchildren who live near us in Washington. We’ll play a few games and have a lunch. We’ve already had supper with their family at their place. Today they will visit our home for a few hours while their parents are working. It should be warm, which will be perfect for us to visit a splash park within walking distance of our house. We’ve walked by it many times, but when you have children, you get to stop and play and even get a little wet. Maybe we’ll have pizza for lunch - something that we don’t do very often in our regular lifestyle. We only ate pizza once while we were on our trip.

This summer holds many more adventures for us. We will be hosting a gathering of Susan’s sisters and their children and grandchildren. We will begin a new job. We will be shopping for a new-to-us home.

Our life is a journey and some seasons involve a lot of miles. Each day is an adventure with surprise and delight.

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