Friday, August 12, 2011

Back Home...The end...of THIS adventure...

Yes, it is nice to be back home, but there's still that want to be traveling again.  We drove pretty quickly after Mt. Rushmore.  We drove through South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri and then down through Nashville to see some friends. We made it home on Monday or Tuesday (don't remember which one) night.  Joe and Jan are in North Carolina at the cabin right now and we parted ways in Missouri. :(

It started getting hot in Iowa, but we didn't need the A/C until Missouri. I figured that I could turn the generator on so we can turn the A/C on.  Holly was panting and Laurie and I were starting to sweat some. I cranked it up and it ran perfectly...for 10 minutes. It shut down on us and we pulled over at a rest area so I could check it out.  I looked at it and tweaked a couple of things on carburetor and it still wouldn't start. I tried a couple more things, but it still wouldn't start.  We were 2 1/2 days from home and I didn't feel like tearing the generator apart at a rest area.  So, we opened the windows back up and cruised on.  The trip through Iowa and Missouri was nice because we had never been there.  There are so many acres of corn and soybean fields.  Until you get around the major cities, that's about all there is.

We stopped by Dale and Bobbi Jo's just North of Nashville for a small visit.  It was great seeing our temporary home and family again because we stayed at their property from January through March of this year. We said goodbye and told them that we would be up soon, then drove down to see Jason, Erika, Colton and Collin (the new one...2 1/2 mnts old).  We had a great visit with them.  Jason cooked some awesome hamburgers and Erika fixed some french fries.  It was just what we needed after driving all day.  Laurie got to feed Collin and hold him for a while until it was time for bed.  We also got yelled at by Colton because he was trying to sleep and he said that we were talking too loud. He's the boss, so we hushed up.  The plan was to get up early the next morning so we went to bed around 11pm.

I woke up at 5am and got moving.  One stop for gas and we were on the interstate headed south again.  We were going to make it home from Murfreesboro, which is 715 miles to Plant City.  It was hot, but we were cruising along nicely.  In Tifton Georgia, we got gas again for the last time.  I decided to get the generator manual out to see where the ignition points were.  I had been thinking that they could be dirty because of all of the dust that we drove through on the way to Alaska and back.  I took the cover off of the ignition point and took a papertowel to them.  I hit the start button and it fired right up.  Wow, we are 4.5 hrs away from home and it decides to start running again.  We had no problems on the entire trip with the generator until it got hot outside and we NEEDED the A/C.  After some tweaking on the carb again and a few slaps on the arm by Laurie, for just figuring out what it was when we are so close to home, we were back on the road again...with A/C!  The rest of the ride was uneventful even though it rained from the Florida border until we got home.

I had some time to reflect on our trip, during my 15 hr drive home. Here are some events and thoughts that stick out in my mind...

  • I drove appx 16,000 miles over the last 4 months (no, Laurie didn't drive even an inch...but I didn't mind).
  • It was almost exactly 4 months from the time we left, back in April.  
  • We drove through 22 states.
  • A 1987 RV, with 89,000 miles on it, did an outstanding job, with only a few minor repairs.
  • We didn't have 1 flat tire. Last trip that Joe and Jan took, they had 6 flat tires. 
  • We met up with my dad in Mobile while he was out on business.
  • Don't ever stay in Natchitoches, LA before the Jazz festival, if you want to get any sleep. On a side note, the Stomp team that was performing at 3am outside of our window, was really good. They had rhythm!  
  • We found a diamond in Arkansas...and it wasn't at Jared!
  • I saw naked men everywhere at the hot springs in Arkansas...Arkansas really made an impact on me...and not necessarily in a good way. :) 
  • Native American Indians are nice, but they live in some shabby places out west. I even gave 2 Indian bums, $10 for some least that's what they said they were going to use it for. 
  • They place old tires on their trailer roofs so they don't blow away in the wind.
  •  Kansas and Oklahoma are flat and long! 
  • I can see why Kansas is a beef state. They have so many cattle processing plants.
  • Colorado is beautiful. The terrain varies widely across the they have many good breweries out there. 
  • Take a jacket that is heavier than a windbreaker next time I go out West in May. IT can snow through July 4th. 
  • Ouray hot springs in Colorado is beautiful when the snow is falling...and it does look like little Switzerland.
  • The million dollar highway is worth every penny.
  • Telluride rocks!
  • There's a lot of dessert in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.
  • Sam's casino in Vegas is the place to stay and play!
  • You can find peace and fortune tellers in magnetic forces in Sedona.
  • Goldfield, Nevada has Joe's father's property...somewhere.
  • Death Valley is another world...a place where I could spend another week to see more...and the racetrack sign is not a racetrack like I thought.  It's where rocks move when the wind blows hard enough.
  • It rains in Death Valley?!  It did when we were there.
  • No picture or video can ever do the Redwood Forest justice. You have to go there and take a raincoat.
  • The Oregon coast is magnificent with scenery.
  • Only my loved ones can make me boil with anger.
  • There is sunshine in Seattle...for 5 minutes, but it was nice. 
  • Victoria Canada is worth another trip back to see. 
  • The Cassiar Highway in Canada is long and sometimes bumpy, but the scenery and wildlife make up for that.
  • Alaska is huge! The landscape, wildlife, freedom and boondocks feeling, make it a magical place to visit. 
  • Alaskans carry weapons everywhere.
  • If you want any type of fur, Alaska is the place to get it!
  • Holly can't swallow rocks.
  • We saw whales!
  • Contrary to popular belief, Canadians are nice! At least the ones that we met.  
  • US Border agents have a sense of humor in Washington...unlike Montana.
  • Jasper, Banff and Calgary have the most amazing fields of gold flowers.
  • I hate bears!  Nothing about them is cuddly. Who wants to take a hike and have to worry about getting eaten by a bear?!
  • Bikers annoy me. Why would I look twice? Not the ones that drive BMW or the offroad/onroad traveling bikes...they are normal, courteous people. It's the Harleys that think they own the road.  
  • Montana is a place where I could have a home one day.
  • Yellowstone is also like another planet. It smells like a huge sewer, but I'd go back and visit again and again...and not only because I like sewer smells! eeewwwww!
  • Although Bison (Buffalo) look like gentle creatures, do not approach them.
  • Speaking of Buffalo...buffalo burgers are my new favorite meal.
  • Cowboys in Wyoming don't have a southern threw me off to see some guy wearing wranglers, boots and a cowboy hat and talking like a northerner.
  • I love the South.
  • I miss Cracker Barrel breakfast. There are none out west. 
  • Next time the generator quits, I'll spend time to think about it.
  • I can actually take a trip with my in-laws and never get tired of them. 
  • At 6 miles per gallon and an average of $3.75 per gallon, a 16k mile trip will make me have to get a job sooner than expected. :) ha! 
  • I wouldn't trade this trip of a lifetime, for anything...except maybe a buffalo head, no, make that a bear rug because bears are annoying.
  • The US is unbelievable!  There are so many various parts to this country, that no person could ever get tired of visiting, exploring and learning...and if they do, then they are just plain ignoramoose (a word I picked up from the triangle game at cracker barrel, for leaving more than 3 golf tees on the playing board).

We have unpacked a lot of the items out of the motorhome already, but we are leaving a few things in it because we are going down to the keys in 3 weeks for some lobster.  It's hot and humid here, but I still love it. This is the end of our adventure to Alaska and back. I learned a lot about the US, myself, my wife, my dog and my in-laws. We are blessed to be able to take an amazing trip like this one.  Now, onto our next adventure.  Lobster Season!  Look for upcoming blog posts about our trip to the keys!  I better go, my mind is starting to think of more events and thoughts, and I already have too many listed.  Good night!

The coffin.

Inside the command center for the Minuteman Missile program during the Cold War

Capsule where two people are constantly ready to turn their keys to fire missiles.

Missile silo, appx 9 miles from the command center.

Minuteman training missile

The green building is where Laurie was conceived. Mound City, MO 

St. Louis, MO


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