Sunday, August 10, 2008

You're Back, How Was It?

2008 Summer Road Trip, 9093 miles 186 hrs 35 min (driving time)

So the trip is over. Overall I would say the the trip was a success. We did a lot of traveling and saw a lot of the United States. I got to go to many places that have been on my list of places to see for a long time.

The biggest highlights of this year's trip was not a location but the time we were joined by Mary and my dad on the road. Getting to share part of experience with Mary was very special. It changed the dynamic of our group for the better. Sharing the experience is always better than the telling of it later. I really enjoyed having my dad along. The boys had a great time and were almost as disappointed when he had to leave as when Mary did. I think he a good time and I also hope he can join us again in the future on a trip. We both still have Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks on our lists.

It was great to visit relatives that we had not seen in a long time or who the boys had not met. Neal is always great to visit with. Seeing Aunt Norma was wonderful. We promise it will not be so long until we visit again.

The beauty and diversity of our National Parks were definite highlights. These places that we have set aside to preserve our heritage and protect our natural wonders are some of the most special places in our country. The history we learned was so much more poignant when standing in the spot it occurred. Also hope burns a bit stronger that we as a nation can make our country and the world a better place if we continue to protect the land.

WPA Poster of Arches National Park

WPA Poster of Bandelier National Monument

Route 66 was a great drive. For awhile I was confused on how I felt about that part of the trip. To me it was, "okay." Then I realized the problem. It was that we didn't camp as much as I wanted to. Route 66 is a trip that begs to stay in the motels along its course. Once I had that out of the way I can confidently say it is a great way to cross the country. We met a lot of neat people and saw some really cool stuff. I am glad that we drove Route 66. After all how often do you get to sleep in a wigwam?

A Postcard of Route 66

I hope the boys remember this trip fondly even if they do not remember all the details. When I look back to places I visited 30 years ago I find that my memory of them include very few details though the trip is deeply ingrained in my "mythology". The memories from this trip, driving the Generals Highway with mouths agape in total awe at the trees towering over us, the feeling of wonder looking out over the vastness of the Grand Canyon, and the amazement of the spectacular beauty of the Yosemite valley will last forever. At least one place we visited is no longer. A few days after we left Arches National Park Wall Arch fell into memory.

Now the planning for next year has started. Shorter than the last two years. We are going backpacking on Isle Royale National Park for two weeks with a circle tour of Lakes Superior and Huron thrown in. Right now though we are again headed to the shores of Cape Hatteras for a week of hanging out on the beach in the sun.

By the numbers:

Days on the Road: 39 days
Totals Miles Driven: 9,093 miles
Time Spent Driving: 7 days 18 hrs 35 min
Gas: 420.29 gallons at $1,734
Food: $1,135
Lodging: $554
Entry Fees: $377
States Visited: 19
National Park Units Visited: 28
Junior Ranger Badges: 22 each

The Prairie Dogs are Pretty Big in South Dakota

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