"Live the Dream!" Trip Recap

The title of this post comes from our favorite comment--at the Weikel's "We Gotcha Kolache" Shell station. We were refueling, after getting our kolache snack, when a 50- or early 60-something woman came RUNNING up to us, just full of questions about the Navion and our trip. Her husband got a bit impatient, waiting for her, so she ran back to her car several pumps away. As we pulled out, she shouted "Live the dream, girls!"

And we are.

This lady wasn't the first one to either have her own dreams rekindled or to see the possibility in traveling for herself (or himself). I believe it's our favorite part of traveling: inspiring others to do this themselves. So, let's relive the dream of the last two months, shall we?

Trip Stats: 10,200 miles in about 55 days

Fuel economy: 15.35 miles/gallon (up from high 14s on initial trips) and this includes LOTS of A/C use, all those western mountains, and an inability to drive slowly

Average price per gallon of diesel: $2.39 (it kept increasing as the trip progressed; started off at $2.09 and worst paid was $2.95 in Nevada nowheresville)

Average camping fee: $20/night (and this includes the ridiculous Disney $97 for one night, offset by the various driveways our friends and families so graciously offered) We are pleased with this because we based our budget on $25 per night ;-) We've also figured out that, for us, there is practically no reason that will get us to stay in a commercial parking lot, barring an emergency. We love us our state parks, even if we have to drive a few miles out of the way. Just makes traveling so much more pleasant.

Severe weather episodes: 5 (Missouri twice, FL, SD, and AL each once)

Animals successfully dodged on the road: 5 (2 deer, 1 pronghorn antelope, 1 badger of all things, and a biiiig snake)

Favorite Roads
US 60 (Arizona and New Mexico). Click to read this article and you'll see why we went out of our way a little to drive this road.

Natchez Trace (Mississippi)

US 90 along the coast of Mississippi

US 50, the "Loneliest Road" (Nevada)

Least Favorite Roads
Route 14 in Louisiana--yikes, it was rough. Note to self: Remember to ask the Louisiana brother-in-law for which roads to avoid and which roads to take to get good road food.

I-30 in Arkansas, same problem: bumpy!

Best Road Food
Culver's frozen custard (we are definitely Culverized now!). World's best reward after washing the RV (Cheyenne, WY)

Cooper's BBQ in Llano, TX. After having compared KC, Memphis, and TX BBQ on this trip, we can safely say that we are Texas BBQ gals. We've put North Carolina on next spring's trip list, so that we can sample their famous Q, too.

Pie-O-Neer: the pie was good (we still think BJ Bull's in Elko is best), but the green chile stew was GREAT.

Old Country Store, Lorman, MS--best fried chicken EVER. Period.

Aunt Jenny's Catfish, Ocean Springs, MS

National Parks and Monuments

George Washington Carver National Monument Diamond, MO (Free). If you're ever in southwestern Missouri, you MUST go here. Fabulous exhibits, gorgeous walking trail, and a completely inspirational man. We forgot to blog about it, but it was one of our favorite stops. We learned so much and were completely moved by this man's words, life, and accomplishments.

Hot Springs National Park, AR (Free)

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, TX (Free)

Vicksburg National Park, MS

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, SD (Free)

Badlands National Park, SD

Devil's Tower National Monument, WY (Free)

Great Basin National Park, NV

Truman, Bush (41), and Clinton Presidential Libraries

RV Education
Don't store gallon jugs of water loosely in the storage compartment. Waay too easy to spring leaks. (We now have a nice plastic tub that fits 6 gallons.)

Hail = paint chips.

Don't plug a vacuum into a 5amp socket.

If you're gonna have a leak, have it over the shower.

Visiting the dealer for free warranty work is WORTH the detour. Plus, we just love Iowa.

Not to worry so much about being perfectly level.

To read the manuals. Over and over. So glad we checked on the generator and A/C maintenance. We used those appliances a TON on this trip and none of us (especially the furry beast) could have survived if we hadn't properly maintained 'em.

We are past the days of charming truckers to help us fill our tires. Sigh. I remember the days in college when we ran out of gas in Arkansas, or some such God forsaken place, and we had 8 truckers go miles out of their way to help the college girls. Them days are long gone....

Best Surprises
Everything about Hot Springs National Park: the $10 per night boondocking along a creek, the wonderful spa treatment, and meeting new friends, Bill and Michelle, who taught us dominoes.

Bright and Shine at the truck in

Porter Sculpture Park off I-90 in South Dakota

The Very Large Array on US 60 through New Mexico

Getting my face "read" in Boulder by the author of this book

The high country in both Nevada and Arizona--beautiful places in what I always think of as a vast desert wasteland. Who knew?

When Nick licked marshmallow off the hand of a "stranger" (a stranger to Nick that is) and let the fellow KEEP his hand. Amazing.

Must-Go-Back Places

Show Low, AZ and Pie Town, NM area (Bosque del Apache Forest near there)

Mississippi (more blues trail exploration, "pilgrimage" in Vicksburg), just NOT in the summer

Texas State Parks (since we bought an annual pass)

OK, I gotta go back to Memphis and see Graceland....

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