“Come, men, to see the wonders which may be discovered in nature.” Leonardo da Vinci

ICYMI (In case you missed it), February 14th marked the one year anniversary of our RV travels.  That’s right, we left Chesterfield, MO on Valentines Day 2015.

Allow me to briefly summarize this last year… We first drove to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where we had a long-overdue visit with Bev, Toshia, Craig, and Bria. Then, we headed for Gulf Shores, followed by Grayton Beach State Park, and a nice visit with Nigel in Pensacola.

St. Andrews at Panama City Beach was awesome, followed by a fun time in Homosassa where we met up with Bonnie and Cindy for golf and good eats. Next, we saw Holiday, Tarpon Springs and Largo, Florida. We had a fun visit in Tampa with Denise and Mike Minor at their home, and we spent Kenny’s birthday in the Palmetto/Bradenton, Florida area.

After that, we hit the beach for a couple of weeks in Sarasota and we were thrilled to spend one of those weeks with Cori, Andy, Logan, and Jordan. We made the most of that time with them by playing in the ocean on a paddle board, we went parasailing, we took a boat ride with Captain Andy, we visited Myaka State Park, and we had plenty to eat and drink. Who could forget how we were all “Andy” at Subzero, lol! And, the condo was awesome… Thank you again to Laurie and Mark!

After Sarasota we drove to Ft. Meyers Beach/Sanibel Island and ended up trading our brand new Class C motor home for a brand new Class A RV. Our time there wasn’t nearly long enough, but plans were made so we moved on to Key West. By far, this was one of the best stops we’ve made, but there have been many awesome stops and adventures, so I will continue…

We spent a couple of weeks at Bulow Plantation and visited with Laurie and Mark nearby at their home in Ponce Inlet. We spent one day at Virginia’s place hanging at the pool alongside the beach with great company and again, good food and drink!

We headed north again, still hugging the coast and stopped for a three-week stay at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine, Florida. We were finding it difficult to leave the beach, but it was time to head inland and start making our way to Louisville for some family time, so our next two stops were at High Falls and Tim’s Ford (Georgia and Tennessee state parks).

After a long, road construction commute we finally made Louisville where we watched Logan play baseball, went to the horse races at Churchill Downs, visited the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, celebrated Andy’s 50th birthday at Mitchell’s Fish House, and Logan had a sleepover with us in the RV.

Once again was time to continue our travels, but this time we took Jordan with us and headed south to Barren River State Park and Mammoth Cave. The plan was to take her with us to South Carolina, but we got a little sidetracked and ended up in Nashville. We had a great time touring the National Corvette Museum and Ryman Auditorium. We stayed at Jellystone Park where some kids “ding-dong ditched” us and scared the crap out of me and Jordan, but Grandpa was not phased by any of it! The highlight for the three of us was when we went to Loretta Lynn’s Hurricane Mills plantation home. By this time, Jordan had had enough of RVing, so Cori picked her up in Nashville and we were left to continue our travels on our own again… Might as well head to Charleston, SC!

After a few days touring Charleston, we headed to the Williamsburg/Norfolk area to meet up with Alicia, Zachary, Alex, Makayla, and Rose. We had a good time at the old tavern, but we had to carry Makayla out of the place 😘  Actually, the heat got to her, but her brothers stepped up and took care of her.

Our next stop took us to the much-anticipated Washington, D.C. area! And it did not disappoint us… We toured as much as we could via the Metro and on foot. We ate lunch at the Old Ebbitt, had a private tour of the Capitol, and saw the White House. We also went to the Archives and to the American Indian Museum. The tour of Mount Vernon was another highlight of this stop.

French Creek, Gettysburg, Valley Forge, and the Liberty Bell… Pennsylvania was great, but New York was calling… We stayed at a great place and met some fun people at Black Bear Campground. From there, we took a coach bus in to New York City for an all-day tour… We are so very glad we did this… We saw the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, the Hudson River, Wall Street, the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, One World Trade Center and Memorial Park… An unforgettable journey.

We arrived at Narrows Too RV Campground in Bar Harbor, Maine on July 25, 2015. We explored Acadia National Park, went to Schoodic Peninsula, and ate popovers at Jordan Pond House. We went on a whale-watching boat tour, and we reconnected with our new friends, Wendy and Ken from Vancouver, BC, whom we met at Black Bear Campground in New York. We had our first whole lobster at Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound… 😜 And that’s all I’ll say about that. As far as Acadia National Park… It’s a must-do and we hope to make it back there again some day.

One more stop before we get home… Niagara Falls, both US and Canada. This trip marked our first time leaving the US. This part of Canada is beautiful and we enjoyed it very much. We also took a tour, which allowed us to see so much more than we would have on our own. Niagara Falls State Park is very different from ANY other state park I’ve ever been to and I encourage everyone to have this experience.

Homeward bound. By this time, we had been gone about six months and we were both looking forward to seeing everyone at home again. Ken did a great job driving and got us home a half day ahead of schedule so that we could walk in and surprise Cori and Jordan! We were blessed to be home for Alan’s birthday and his football games. It’s always fun sitting on the sidelines with Kim! We also enjoyed spending time with Alena, Big Kev, Jacob, Collin, Mason, Ashlee, Steph, Lil Kev, Hannah, Ellie, baby Kevin, and Kason (we missed you Heather). It was great spending time with Lisa, Terry, and CJ… Should we plan another painting party for August?

We had a wonderful time at home from early August until early October, but the time came for us to get to Texas and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge where we have been doing volunteer work since October 9th.

Our first four months here were spent working in the Visitor Center, and for the last month, we have been in Tram Operations. Ken is the driver of a 60+ passenger, three-car diesel operated tram, and I narrate a lengthy script to inform passengers of the history of Santa Ana while pointing out various aspects of nature… Both plant and animal wildlife. The tour is 90 minutes long and travels along a 7-mile tram route that winds its way through the diverse habitat that is comprised of riparian and sub-tropical thorn scrub forest. We often see the 9-banded armadillo, javelina, bobcat, and plenty of birds. Ken enjoys visiting with the passengers, and I enjoy stopping and walking on the trails… Owl Trail at the Old Cemetery, Jaguarundi Trail to the Rio Grande River, and Cattail Lakes to see get an up close look at the Resacas (Oxbow Lake). You get the gist of what we are doing here… Aside from life at the compound where we stay, and the occasional sighting of a UDA (undocumented alien) who has navigated his way across the Rio Grande River… But, back to travel…

We are so excited about our next volunteer position, which will be working for the National Park Service. Specifically, we are going to be Camp Hosts for the North Rim Campground inside the National Park at the Grand Canyon from May 16 until July 31. We understand that there will likely still be snow on the ground when we arrive, as it is an 8,000 ft. elevation. Logan is planning to come out for a week or two in July and travel home with us, and our good friends, Robin and Jerry Lampe are looking into a visit while we are there, too.

From here at the southern tip of Texas, we will travel through Phoenix to get to the Grand Canyon and we are excited about that because it means a visit in Chandler with Wayne, Dee, Matt, and Mark, whom we haven’t seen in more than a year.

Wow, I believe this takes us beyond a one-year update, but it had to be done, lol. I think the next logical step is to include some photos from all our stops, so I’m not finished yet.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this entry, and all those I’ve posted throughout our journey. Keep watching as we continue our RV travels because we have plenty more planned… Sneak peek includes the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia for next winter and some other surprises in between!!

Hugs to everyone back home, we love and miss you all! I hope I didn’t forget to mention anyone, but if I did, let me know and I’ll include you in the next blog 😜

6 Comments

  1. I have enjoyed reading about your travels.  I am happy for the both of you.  You two look so happy!  Continue with an awesome Retirement!Love you both and keeping you in prayer for safe travels and good health. Bobbie and Carl

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  2. You guys are definately doing the retirement thing right you look great too! Enjoy reading your journeys thanks for sharing! Stay safe

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  3. My goodness, how time flys! Thoroughly enjoyed reading your year of retirement and travels! I would love to do another paint night when you get back in town….I’m blocking the whole month of August until I receive a definite date from you! 😉 You and Kenny look so happy! Safe travels my friend! Love and Hugs!

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  4. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog!  You are giving me all kinds of travel ideas, and I hope you keep detailed notes because when it’s my time to embark on my adventures someday, I’m going to rely on you for information. 🙂  Continue to have safe travels. Amy

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