We arrived back at my house around 2:30 in the afternoon, and it was really sweet and lovely to see my little granddaughters Ori and Yuval again, after a 3+ week absence. Adrienne and I unpacked the car, sorted through our stuff to make laundry piles, put food/cooler stuff away, etc.
People keep asking what was our favorite part of the trip, or what places that we visited were our favorites? For me, that's kind of a tough question. On the one hand, some of the "detour" places we visited on a whim turned out to be really fun and fantastic. But planned places and attractions were also as enjoyable as I had hoped they would be.
I was really thrilled to be able to visit Lakewood Church in Houston and see Joel Osteen in person. That was not planned, so it had some extra special meaning to end up happening for us. Our planned visit to Graceland turned out to be a lot nicer than we thought it would be. I guess I thought it was going to be a bit more cheesy, but it wasn't at all. It was really quite lovely and sweetly sad. I didn't expect to be so moved when I visited my ancestors' graves in Weston, but I was. Being able to see a night sky full of millions of stars while at the Grand Canyon and Las Cruces campgrounds was stunning and filled me with wonderment and awe.
All in all, it was a really great trip. Adrienne and I, as usual, got along very well, especially for being in close quarters (in a car) for so many hours at a time. We were never bored (see 7th Inning Stretch post) and there was always something to keep us amused.
Our license plate game ended up with us not being able to get all 50 states; however, we got 46 of them plus 5 Canadian province plates. The U.S. states we missed getting were Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and Hawaii. The Canadian provinces we got were Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. We can spot a license plate hundreds of yards away now and know immediately what state it is - we consider ourselves "plate aficionados" now. Ha!
We covered 7,102 miles and were in 17 states, 5 of them twice. We crossed the Continental Divide, Lake Pontchartrain, the mighty Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, drove over countless bridges, and reached the highest elevation in Colorado at Vail Pass (10,662 feet - 2 miles high!).
We were on the road trip for 18 days. Our longest mileage day was day 9 from New Orleans to Savannah - 673 miles. We crossed through 4 different time zones. We passed through lakes, rivers, deserts, mountains. We drove interstates, back roads, city freeways. By and large, we escaped commuter traffic when passing through larger cities - the only exception was Friday afternoon Atlanta traffic - crazy drivers, they!!!
We ate lots of local cuisine - seafood, Creole, Cajun, BBQ, Southern. We tapped into regional fast food popular places and read up on who they were and all about their history and corporate culture before eating there, just so we'd be "in the know." (plus, it gave us something to do in the car....)
Trip Advisor and Yelp were very helpful in picking out campgrounds, hotels and restaurants. Indie's navigation system was superb as was Adrienne's focused dedication to our maps and road atlas. It was nice to have both new and heritage technology at our fingertips. We brought CDs to listen to but really ended up listening to Spa radio on SiriusXM pretty much the whole time. It was calming and served as a nice backdrop to our daily and ongoing chatter with one another.
We found gas prices as low as $1.89 a gallon and that sub-$2.00 price lasted through most of the states we passed through. It wasn't until we got into Colorado and points west that the prices started to climb again.
Finally, having the chance to meet up with a few family members and friends rounded out our fun and wonderful journey across this great country of ours. And speaking of great - our national park system is amazing and we recommend visiting these places for everyone. It's a jewel in our American crown that is not to be missed.
So - until my next trip - (coming up October 17 - November 5 - check back here for my Boston to San Diego cruise via the Panama Canal) - I wish you all safe travels, comfy abodes, good food, and everything that life has to offer.