It has taken me several days to get to this final post of our cross country road trip. Once home, I quickly slipped back into my old routines, as well as putting my house in order and packing away camping equipment. Now that I'm sitting down to write, I first want to say that I'm sending positive thoughts and prayers to all those families and businesses facing the horrifying danger and destruction of fire in California! Just two short weeks ago, Doug and I were driving through some of those areas and admiring the landscape.
The final two days, we traveled through Tennessee and Virginia in the more familiar Appalachian Mountains, catching glimpses of early autumn colors.
- If it weren't for missing family and friends, I could probably be happy making a home most anywhere in the US--except for high traffic areas.
- It's important not to forget you're pulling a trailer when you try to park your car.
- Everything tastes better when cooked outdoors on a campfire or campstove, even Dinty Moore Stew from a can, topped with Bisquick dumplings.
- Camping in the rain is miserable.
- Camping on a clear night with a wide view of a starry sky is magnificent and humbling.
- It's strangely fulfilling to have to heat water over a fire to wash dishes. It's also a great way to warm your hands on a cold morning.
- It's important to consciously take the time to live fully in the moment, soaking in the small details through all five senses.
- Don't ride a mule when you're my age.
- It's really good to take a respite from political news.
About my marriage...
- The wife of a photographer must have patience, but it helps tremendously if the wife is a writer and has pen and paper handy.
- The husband of a writer must have patience and enjoy a good cup of coffee, especially when the wife is trying to write blog posts and needs to find "wifi" cafes.
- Fortunately we both found out we don't like to drive all day, day after day. Our future long distance trips will involve flying to the location, setting up a base camp ( i.e. campsite/rental house/hotel), and exploring the area in more detail.
- Laughing always makes a miserable, cold, wet night more endurable.
- We're still happily married after being closed up in a car and/or small tent camper everyday for eight weeks!
About life in general...
- Politics not withstanding, the vast majority of people are friendly, interesting, accepting, and ready to smile.
- It's heartwarming to see how many international visitors we have in our country, especially in our national parks. And they, too, are ready for a smile and greeting from Americans.
- I always knew the United States had an amazing variety of landscapes, but I didn't understand their full impact and beauty until I stood on the rims of Crater Lake and the Grand Canyon, viewed Mt. Rushmore up close, walked the wide sand and rocky beaches of the Oregon coast, smiled at the sunflowers along the lonely roads of Nebraska and South Dakota, stood next to a 150+ year-old Saguaro cactus, was up close and personal with a bison trudging along the road in Yellowstone, listened to bubbling geysers and raging waterfalls, and looked at towering, craggy peaks through smoky skies.
As I said before, it's been quite a trip. Thank you to my readers for traveling along with us!