Wednesday, April 13, 2011


We arrive home after four days of driving through, at first, beautiful sunny skies, which change to rain and wet snow by the time we cross the Canadian/U.S. border.  Sigh - yes, back to the north, that which we had escaped in the beginning.  But it is good to be home, to see our son and the rest of our family and friends.  Last impressions:

I describe our trip as magical.  We saw so many wonderful things, went so many fantastic places and, of course, made so many great new friends.   It is the people we met that stand out most in my mind when I think back on the past five months:  Jean and Denyse, Denny and Linda, Janice and Jerry, and everyone else.  The campfires, the pranks (still sorry about the rattlesnake Mike and Julie), "happy hours"... such fun!  RVers are the best people in the world.

Of the places we visited, it would be difficult to pick a favourite.  Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico was a highlight, as was swimming at Balmorhea in Texas, but then Slab City in California was a whole different experience.  Camping alone in the mountains in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico was so peaceful, almost spiritual, as was camping in the middle of the desert at times.  Seeing my uncle for Christmas was a special treat, having not seen him for over 20 years, and he so reminded me of my dad.  The beaches in Texas, at least on the Padre Island National Seashore were full of seaweed and nothing like the pristine, clear beaches of Florida - a surprise for us.

Weather-wise, we were caught by how cold some of the states were in November and December.  We damned near froze in New Mexico and Arizona and had to buy warmer clothes and blankets.  I guess we're just as guilty as Americans who think all Canadians live in igloos and have sled dogs, we thought the southwest would be warm, but there was snow on the ground in many areas due to the elevation - up to 9,000 feet in southern New Mexico.  Lesson learned!

Grady was such a good boy on this trip too.  He didn't like being in the truck, especially when we had to make long journeys over several days, like from Texas to Florida (three days) and home (four days), but he survived.  He never tried to get out of the trailer, even the few times I tried to take him out on a leash - that just made him nervous and he wanted back in the trailer, which I guess was good.  But he's happy to be home and he runs all over the house which took him a few hours to get used to.

Texas - the Lone Star State.  It certainly is.  The people of Texas are extremely friendly and the state is very travel-friendly.  RVers are welcome to stay overnight in highway rest areas and picnic areas, unlike many states (like California, a very travel-unfriendly state!).  Texas tends to think of itself separately from the rest of the states - it's bigger, it has more resources, it's just different; it's special.

New Mexico - Land of Enchantment.  It enchanted us.  We had never been to New Mexico before this trip, and we found it had a lot to offer the nature lover.  We will definitely go back, but in warmer months.  Great people, great land, great hiking, caverns, hot springs, mountains, beauty abounds.

Arizona - the Grand Canyon State.  Well it's a claim to fame, but I think they need a better nickname.  We didn't go anywhere near THE Canyon on this trip (too far north), but we've been there twice before and it is a sight to behold!  We found southern Arizona less attractive than northern AZ, although still some good parks to see and when the sun sets across the desert, the lighting is spectacular!

California - the Golden State.  You know, no one I asked in CA knew their state's "nickname".  They thought it was "the Sunshine State", but that belongs to Florida.  I had to look it up online.  So named because of the Gold Rush?  Because the setting sun on the Pacific Ocean turns the grasses a golden colour?  Who knows.  California can be a beautiful state, but it's bankrupt and most tourist facilities are closed.  Remember the commercials with Arnold "come to California" - just don't try to find a rest area or Welcome Centre on the Interstates!  Great parks though once you get away from the cities - Mojave, Death Valley and Joshua Tree.

Nevada - the Silver State.  Well they did and still do find a lot of silver here.  Everyone comes to Nevada for Las Vegas - GET OUT OF LAS VEGAS people!!!  Nevada has so much more to offer.  Valley of Fire State Park is the most breathtaking park I've ever seen.  Seriously!  And the Hoover Dam offers tours (which we took in 1987).  And now the new bridge - WOW!  Lake Havasu is gorgeous too  (ok, this is really in Arizona, but on the highway near Nevada).  London Bridge is in Lake Havasu City, transported stone by stone from England - really.

Florida - the Sunshine State.  Actually, New Mexico and Arizona get a lot more sunshine than Florida because the former states are much drier so they see something like 350 days of sun each year - not kidding.  EVERY day when we were there, we'd get up and see the sun.  It ALMOST (but not quite) got boring.  In Florida, like California, we had quite a lot of rain.  But, our warmest weather was in Florida, so I won't complain!  And the beaches were the best in Florida.  We only spent time in the panhandle (northern FL), although I've certainly been to many other parts of Florida in past years.  Florida was our last stop before we came home, so it was already spring and everything was in bloom - gorgeous.

So where to next?  Well, next time we're thinking of starting out later in the year so we can finish later in the year and see some of the states more in the north - parts of northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, northern California and Colorado.  We can't wait and will probably start planning soon.  But for now, we're still cleaning up from the past five months - finishing unpacking the trailer, cleaning it, and dealing with five months of mail.  I'd rather be RVing!

1 comment:

  1. wow, you make me tired reading about all the "states". glad you had such a good time. looking forward to catching up with you next time around!