Wrapping it up

We don’t wanna go back home!
This was truly a wonderful trip. We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to share this time together and travel the country for a whopping 6 weeks! Being married is awesome because you have this best friend that is stuck with you forever and the best part is that we like to do the same things which makes traveling so much better. During this whole trip we were only away from each for a few hours. You know, it’s funny the #1 thing people told us before this trip, and the last, is that it’s too much time together, are you worried you will get tired of each other? Uh, nope. Why would I agree to spend the rest of my life with someone I didn’t enjoy spending my life with? Of course we didn’t get tired of each other, that’s nonsense LOL.

So many new experiences.
During this trip we have seen so many things for the first time since both of us have not been to most of these places. The only place we had both been was Colorado and, of course, Houston but that doesn’t count LOL. I had been to the Denver, including Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park. Jacob had been to Breckenridge for skiing. And that’s it, those are the only places that we traveled before on this side of the country!

Every time we arrived in a new location I would say, “we are so lucky!” At the end we were talking about our favorite things and places. Every place was amazing, it’s so hard to choose a favorite. Jacob’s absolute favorite place was Glenwood Springs. He loved the scenery, white water rafting, and the hot springs pool. My favorite was, uh…..I honestly don’t have a favorite, I loved them all so much and I want to go back to every single place again on individual vacations to spend more time. I LOVE Colorado, that state has everything you could ask for, I LOVE it! But then I also loved Zion, Sequoia, Yosemite, White Sands, and every other place except San Francisco. I really didn’t like San Francisco because we had been to so many beautiful places in wildness before that it was hard to get myself in the city-mood. I’m sure if we would have experienced San Fran in a different setting and stayed in a better location it would have been a much better trip. It is a beautiful city with much to offer for a tourist. I was in a different state of mind, a serene appreciation for nature and all it’s wonder and I wasn’t prepared for a city. On the last trip we had city after city, nothing but cities but on this trip it was mostly National Park after National Park and a city just didn’t fit into the mix.

The Last 2 stops before HOME.
It’s so sad going home. Going home means life has to go back to normal. Jacob must leave and reality must resume. Taking a vacation this long allows you to forget that you actually have a job, bills to pay, a house to clean, and other obligations. The great thing about going home is seeing family after being away so long and spending time with them. Another great thing is we can reminisce all the great memories we created through pictures and this blog.

The second to last stop was in Junction, TX. This is hill country, the landscape here is beautiful. We stayed the night at North Junction Campground. This was a great place to stay for the night, it would have been a great place to stay for a week. There is a river along the side of the campground for canoeing, fishing, and swimming. All of the sites are pull-thru that are very level and many of them have nice patio areas with fire-rings. They also have a playground, pool, laundry, and nice restrooms with showers.

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Our last stop was in Houston. On the way we stopped in San Antonio for BBQ. Jacob was looking forward to this stop the entire trip, seriously. When he worked in Corpus Christi he raved about this place, on a daily basis, and vowed to visit the original location. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as what he remembered down in Corpus and he was bummed out. So now we have to go there for him to get his fix. I think his cooking on the Green egg is the best I’ve ever had, but he says Rudy’s is better just not this time.

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After lunch we drove on to the campground. We stayed the night at East Lake Houston RV Resort, near the Kingwood area. This is a great place to stay while in Houston and there are multiple locations all over the Houston area. On our last trip, we stayed at West Lake Houston RV Resort which was near Katy, TX and loved it. There are great amenities including a big brand-new pool, cooking stations with gas grills, refridgerators, ice makers, and gas fire-pits, a rec-room with a gym and pool table, amazing showers, and equally amazing laundry. To everyone that lives in Houston that we didn’t visit, we didn’t visit anyone. We knew that we would be exhausted and would not get to the campground until the afternoon. We really wanted to visit but we didn’t schedule enough time. We still love you all, and we are not avoiding you LOL.

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I saw this picture on facebook, it completely nails every fire we have ever had at any location!

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HOME
Driving from Texas, you know when you hit Louisiana because the road changes. It’s horrible, you can’t really tell in a car, but in a truck, and you’re especially lucky with a trailer, because it’s a rough ride! The truck goes into gallop-mode, a steady nauseating jerking motion that is so annoying! Talking becomes a hilarious challenge! I, kind of, love it because it means we’re home! To get into the louisiana-mood we listened to cajun and zydeco the rest of the drive. We stopped for a quick lunch in cajun-country with Jacob’s dad and sister. Then it was back on the road to finish it up!

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Being back home is bitter sweet. I am most excited to have a bath tub again but least excited to clean the truck and camper. The absolute worst of all is that Jacob has to leave.

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Adieu, until our next vacation!

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Grand Canyon and Sunset Volcano in Flagstaff, AZ

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We arrived in Flagstaff later than expected. After we setup we jumped in the truck to go to the Visitor’s Center in Historic Downtown. We received some valuable information and COUPONS (which is why you should always go to the visitor’s center) at the desk just in time for closing in 2 minutes. There is a wonderful pamphlet with 5 days of adventure itinerary.

We were not able to go walking around downtown as planned because as we were leaving the Visitor’s Center the sky turned black, the winds began to howl, and it started pouring. It rained the rest of the evening. So we did some groceries (like it’s a verb) rented a movie and stayed inside the rest of the night. Apparently this is the beginning of their monsoon season, darn but whacha-gonna-do?

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The following day we planned to go the Grand Canyon National Park. We spent almost the whole day at this park. Walking around and taking pictures of the beautiful, gigantic canyon. It’s definitely GRAND! The park has an easy layout for any activity level. There is basically 1 main parking area, it’s huge like Disney-style with numbered rows and animals to remember where you parked. I said, “Pluto row 14,” and Jacob didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. Anyway we parked on Raven 1. There is a really nice Geology Museum about the formation of the landscape and identification of the minerals that make up the landscape.

After walking all day, we were pretty tired but I still wanted to go Downtown to walk around and window shop. Wouldn’t ya know the sky unloaded again! I think Jacob asked for this to happen, LOL! He hates window shopping and walking around with no real plan or purpose. So it was back to the camper for another rained-in night.

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The next day we drove to Sunset Volcano National Park in the morning to walk on LAVA. On the way there we stopped to recycle all of our empty water jugs and other stuff. Jacob is such a wonderful husband, he found a recycle place, without me asking, because he knows it makes me so happy to recycle everything we can.

After a great morning in Sunset Volcano National Monument we planned to head over to the Lowell Observatory during the day, have a nice dinner in the city, then go back the Observatory at night. However things didn’t go quite as planned due to the afternoon monsoon, again! It was so upsetting, because this time it started raining at lunch time which screwed up the whole day.

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Our west coast trip is planned and we’re leaving soon!

Once a again we are going on a long vacation.  Our planning is complete, all the campsites are booked, and I’m getting everything ready to hit the road again!  We are so fortunate to be able to take off and get out of town for 6 WEEKS, that’s crazy, right?

dr-seuss oh the places you'll go

Let me tell ya, planning a trip of this magnitude takes a lot of organized planning and budgeting.  We have a beautiful spreadsheet that includes, but is not limited to; dates, cities, states, campground, websites, travel time, distance, things to do, rates, accommodations, budget, and fuel cost.

Here is a list of all of our stops.

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There are so many things to see and do in all of these places.  I want to make a separate trip to each, ahhh one day…. maybe with some kids 😀

Why would we be wasting time in Robert?  I actually messed up on the image, Tickfaw State Park is in Springfield, LA and I was too lazy to correct it.

rachel-dratch

This is pretty much the face I made when I typed that.

 

Jacob has some work to do in Robert and we are leaving as soon as he is finished. Sooooo to avoid him having to drive home after work we decided to just camp near by.  It’s a beautiful campground with boardwalk trails through the swampy forest.

Back to our journey west, I cannot describe to you how excited I am to see this side of the country.  I know the landscape will BLOW my mind!  I am going to take a ridiculous amount of pictures and savor every inch of scenery!   I have been pinning things to do like crazy on Pinterest, I know we won’t have time for most of it.  Of all the places on this list I have only been to Colorado, basically just Boulder.  I am so excited to be able to spend time with Jacob there because I absolutely adored being there.

When I was in college I decided to take a field course in Boulder.  It was such a wonderful experience and great adventure for me on my own.  My mom thought I was either crazy or really brave.  I flew, not only for the first time ever but also completely alone, to a place I had never been to meet people I had never met.  Honestly, looking back, it was a little bit crazy.  After arriving in the Denver airport, which is beautiful by the way, I had to take public transportation to Boulder.  This was a little scary, being from New Orleans I tender stay away from city buses.  I do enjoy streetcars though maybe because they have multiple exit points, but the buses freak me out!  Public Transportation is TOTALLY different in Denver/Boulder everything is clean and tons of people ride their bikes to work and use the bus system to travel long distances…it’s awesome!  There is a completely different lifestyle in Boulder and you can feel it.  There air is cleaner, more people walk or bike, and there is an appreciation for nature that is lost in so many places.  Not once did I feel like I needed a gun or clench my pepper-spray ready to take action.  I even stayed in a Hostel for a night, and even after seeing several movies that make you never want to come close to one of those I never felt like my life was in jeopardy.  Overall I cannot find one negative thing to say about Boulder it was a welcoming, beautifully scenic, place perfect for a wandering traveler looking a fun and adventurous destination.  This a place that is in tune with nature and the people at least try to minimize their global foot-print, I can really appreciate that way of life and wouldn’t mind living there….but I don’t do cold weather, so I’ll just stay put.

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Me in Colorado holding the biggest dandelion I have ever seen.

I know there are not many people that see this blog, but if you have any ideas on “must-do activities” in one of our stops please give us a shout out!  I know even with all the pins on Pinterest I’ve probably missed a great deal of awesome things to do.  Also if you know of a blogger that is taking or has been on the same trip we would love to follow them too.

In closing, as I think about the wonderful things and people that have come into my life this song appeared in my thoughts.  And of course I can’t stop myself from singing it repeated!

oh the lord

Johnny Appleseed