Sunday, August 11, 2019

Wrap Up

Our Hop On Hop Off Tour of America

The map helped us with planning--the different colored dots are the various routes we took 

  Possible Book Titles
  • Travels with Terry
  • Closing out the puzzle--What if everyday was Saturday
  • I have learned more the first 4 years of retirement than 4 years of college 
Don't be that person:
  • Stay more than 1 night at a commercial freebie (Walmart, Pilot, etc.)
  • Start lecturing people on what you have seen and what they HAVE to see
  • Run the generator after midnight
  • Stink up the place with faulty holding tank management
  • Be in a hurry  
5 best meals:
  • The Thompson's --Lobster in Maine
  • Bibiji's--Indian food--Santa Barbara
  • 411--McMinnville, Or
  • Hamilton's - Washington DC
  • Martha's --Yuma, AZ--Date shake
 Tips of travel:
  • You can take our own bed, toilet, kitchen, wardrobe (had to learn to manage the TV reception, generator, water, holding tanks)
  • Set your own budget
  • Set your own pace
  • We plan on driving no more than 4-5 hours a day. It always takes longer than the maps say and if you get in early all the better--don't be in a hurry, enjoy the scenery
  • Talk to everyone that will talk back
  • Stay flexible 
Places to stay:  
  RV parks, Walmart, Pilot, BLM, Rest Areas, most Casino's, Fairgrounds --haven't stayed but others have--Cracker Barrell, Pro Bass, Cabela (all these call first).
Useful devices:
  Garmin for RV, phone, paper maps, kindle, jet pack, camera, sat TV, antenna, DVD player, computer and printer
Useful Traveling Apps:
  Park Advisor (with a little help from Compendium, Allstays and The Dyrt), Weather/Radar/Wind Alert, Yelp, Safari/IE/Firefox, Maps(various), I-Heart Radio
Important to us :
  Warm in winter, Cool in summer, Tennessee for fall, spring(kids birthdays), Christmas at home, Tennessee Football and Basketball, NASCAR
Places we liked to plan for:
  Presidential Libraries (get a pass), National Parks (be sure to buy a park pass), NFL Stadiums. Not necessarily our bag but other things people did: State Capitols, Cemeteries, Prisons, Shopping, Beach--Know that every town seems to have a museum--some are great others are awful.

Monday, July 22, 2019

St. Louis

A nice, pricy RV park in St. Charles, MO sits about a half hour outside St. Louis, is only 3 hours from Independence and most importantly--we can plug in and run both air conditioners.  It is HOT, dry and conveniently just 5 hours from home.  We spent 2 nights here waiting for Hurricane Barry's wind and rain to clear out of middle TN so we can go home. The first night there we ate a great birthday dinner at Tony's on Main in St. Charles--Wed. night and it was packed.  St. Louis turned out to be a delightful stop--we visited the Arch which heretofore we had simply admired from the water.  They have a really good museum in the visitor center in the base. We stayed cool and spent the day.  There is a lot more to do here and we will come back (free zoo, Busch Stadium, etc) maybe a good place to bring Leeton and Holden. 
In the middle of downtown St. Louis sits this iconic National Park

The museum and visitors center have been added in the last few years and are really interesting

Who knew?

View from the top

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Truman Library (with a little football thrown in)

There is a lot of rain coming from the Gulf caused by a Cat 1 hurricane called Barry so while we are heading home we do not want to head too quickly. In Independence, MO is Harry Truman's Presidential Library and we love to visit those so there we go. Independence is just outside Kansas City --very cute little historic town that reminds me of Franklin, TN. It is hotter than hades so we need to stay plugged in for air conditioning--what happened to our dry, cool weather of upstate Washington? So 2 nights in at Campus RV in Independence and then on to celebrate our birthday in St. Louis.
A lot happened during the Truman Presidency which began when
FDR died less than 6 mo. into his 3rd term (April 1946). We took the tour
and had a great docent named Jack who had lead the tours for 25 years and we were his last.

This is the only known authorization given by Truman to allow for the dropping of the nuclear bombs
 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war in the Pacific (he was in Europe and wanted to be home before it happened).
Bomb 1 was dropped on April 6, 2 days later the Russians decided to show up, April 9th when the Japanese still
refused to surrender, we dropped bomb no. 2. For all that, the Russians still got half of Korea!

A lot came out of his time in office-- ending WWII, NATO, Marshall Plan,
Berlin Airlift, Korean War.

Iconic--he liked to take solitary walks but he and Bess seemed to be a loving couple

The library opened in 1957 and he worked in this office there until his death in 1972

My FB says it is only 45 days until Football Season (YAY)
Arrowhead Stadium is just 15 minutes down the road from Truman's library in Kansas City.
They only do tours on the weekends so day late and a dollar short but we drove/walked around a little.

Lamar Hunt was instrumental in starting the AFL in 1960's

Monday, July 15, 2019

Colorado Springs

On to Colorado, Springs via Montana and Wyoming--we are rolling down hill towards home. We retraced some roads we came through last summer and came into Colorado Springs to visit (in particular) 3 places we had left on the table when we were in Denver last summer:

The Air Force Academy
My Dad was in the Army Air Corp during WWII and LOVED this place.

There we sat on the hill in the Visitors Center atop the hill

The Chapel is very unique

Here was a real treat that I had forgotten about:

A model of my Dad's plane

The different bomber groups sponsored the different models on the terrace of honor
And there is my Dad's name!  Felix Leeton

Terrace of honor with the different statues

An actual B-52 (Big Diamond Lil) sits at one of the overlooks

There was a Lacrosse tournament going on with teams from all over the country 
Garden of the Gods is a beautiful red rock garden.
We just road through--it was full of hikers and families

Balanced Rock is the picture op
Pike's Peak is one of the highest points in the lower 48
They ski there too

There was a vast remodel going on but you could drive to 11,000 ft. and then shuttle to the peak 

The mountains meet the clouds

Popular place!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Glacier National Park

Getting to Glacier is not the easiest but you want to see it (and it is worth it). After a night on the road at the Smelterville, Idaho, Walmart, we drove into Columbia Falls RV about 2PM. It was a beautiful drive -- much like the Columbia River Gorge. The mountains were covered with velvet like moss and there were a lot of farm animals--cows, horses, goats--lots of animal farms, no crops were seen. The days are extremely long--sun-up 6am- dark about 10pm.  Early Saturday morning we head into the park and Go-to-the-Sun Road--a 52 mile road full of vistas, hikes, waterfalls, wide flowers , snow and critters.

Gotta get the sign--our last one this trip

fast moving streams

As opposed to the Grand Canyon, the stream that cuts this canyon
was crystal clear

I have found my new favorite flower--Beargrass --we are told we are in luck, these flowers only bloom every 5-10 years and this is a banner year.
The wildflowers were amazing


Honestly, the biggest (and most abundant) Queen Anne's Lace I have seen.
We went all the way east gate and then up to Many Glaciers. This is actually a place and we had great debate about the pronunciation of "Many". Here we saw a moose swimming across Sherbourne Lake. This is my first moose and was thrilled. Then we turned around and came back to the top of the summit--Logan Pass. Here they have a couple of goats were posing for pictures.
Once again we see the Continental Divide

The goats had really thick coats and traveled in pairs


The swimming moose
Saturday we slept in and then headed to a 5 mile hike to/back Avalanche Lake.
 Avalanche showcased giant cedars and a beautiful lake with a waterfall thrown in if you weren't star struck enough. The crowd was almost 100% American--no foreign language was spoken but could have a lot of Canadians since we are so close to the border. Many families--we are missing the kids. Honestly, there were probably a dozen people who came up to Fitz wearing his Tennessee Hat that said they were also from Tennessee, one couple is from Maryville--they were on their way home from Alaska!


Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Turn

Nick and my brothers play golf and I see Mount Vernon, WA,  as "the turn". We are more than half way through our trip and we have gone as far north and west as we plan to do in the RV. Northwest Washington State was supposed to be a week for us to rest and relax and get ready to head home. It turns out that this area has a lot to offer and we ended up seeing and doing lots of things. Anacortes is the boaters/loopers base in the Northwest. A lot of marinas and islands--we headed there first thing and checked out the ferry schedule. We decided to go later in the week when the weather promised to be warm and sunny to the San Juan's and Friday Harbor.
We took the 9am Ferry to the San Juan's into Friday Harbor (past the Orcas and Shaw islands)

Took the trolley tour around the island and this is Roche Harbor on
the back side of the Island

Went to take the 4pm return ferry and it was backed up--turns out they
had a bomb scare and had to call the sniffing dogs out

No  worries--we found a nice little bar overlooking the waterfront and waited for the all clear
we got back to Anacortes around 9pm
Along the way we found a charming little burg called LaConner that had a lot of art, bars, and music.
Found this little jewel along the roadside--just like Craig's at home

Loved the LaConner waterfront on the Skagit River--think the owners are grandparents?

LaConner was full of parks

This park was for Dirty Biter who hung out at the LaConner Bars for 12 years
The one real rainy day we went to the movie--Yesterday (best movie I've seen in a long time). Then we went to Sedro-Woolley (yes, that is the name of the city) and the Logger Rodeo which featured the Chainsaw Carving.
Pretty little burg

The Chainsaw Carving was truly amazing

He's doing the dab (for Holden)

They put pre-finished items up for sale --not inexpensive

At the end of the day they would judge the pieces done and then auction them off
(the one's that won the blue ribbons went for thousands)
We traveled an hour south to Everett, Washington and toured the very neat Boeing Plant tour.
The mural on the super secret factory doors is the largest mural in the world. Boeing is the
 largest employer in the state of Washington--no wonder they are concerned with
 the troubles of the MAX 8 (a 737, not built here) and the federal budget

We saw the planes of the future as well as the building of the 747 and the 747

Customers pick out different specifics for their planes

The 777 doesn't use the aluminum skin--it uses a much lighter polycarbonate

Waiting for delivery
Then on the night of the 3rd we went to nearby Big Lake who had fun fireworks in a Norman Rockwell setting. On the 4th Mount Vernon does the fireworks.
At a local lake the families came to see fireworks--it doesn't get dark here until 10pm!

Yes-4th of July and I am freezing.  The nice people were sitting with shared their blankets.

Pretty here too.

This was an excellent stop

Whoo--we left Mt. Vernon more tired than we came.