Our 2017 Summer trip has now come to a close. We returned to our home of record in Sarasota, Florida on October 20th, by coincidence the same day that we returned from our 2016 trip last year. We left the Portland, Oregon area on October 9th after a morning spent with our oldest Grandson, Oliver. We checked out of the campground we had spent 6 weeks parked in and drove the RV to his house. It was Columbus Day and his daycare was closed but his parents had to work and his brother, Martin’s daycare was open. So we got to invite Oliver into our RV for the morning to hangout with us. We played some games and watched some of his favorite TV shows that Ellyn had recorded on our DVR for him.
Later in the morning came the big adventure. We started up the RV and drove it to a shopping mall nearby where we had sometime playing in the kids’ play area there and then went to a book store. After buying Oliver and Marty each a book, we went to lunch and then back to the RV for the ride back to Oliver’s house. We think he had a lot of fun riding in the RV. At one point Oliver asked “how do you make an RV?”. It would be fun one day when he is older to take him to Elkhart, Indiana and show him one of the production lines.
So after this late, but worth it, start from Portland, we drove about 4 hours to south east Oregon for the night. The next two days were spent driving across Idaho and Nevada and into New Mexico to Santa Fe. We had never been to Santa Fe before and we had planned a three night lay over to see the area and to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta one day. We had been to the Fiesta in 2009 but Geoff had always wanted to go back again. Right after we got to Santa Fe, we found out that Sandy and Carl Greenbaum, two friends we had seen in the Grand Tetons the year before, were also there. We met up with them one day to visit an Audubon sanctuary and to hang out in downtown Santa Fe. It was a lot of fun and we dropped a bundle shopping.
The next day was a long one. We got up at 4am, caught the train at 5am for Albuquerque, got to the Balloon Fiesta grounds a little after 6am just in time to see the “Dawn Patrol” balloons lift off. About 7am, the Mass Ascension began inflating and for the next 2 hours we watched lots and lots of balloons take to the skies. The weather was perfect with no clouds and virtually no wind. Many of the balloons went up, hung over the grounds for an hour, and then landed back in the field. It was quite amazing.
After Santa Fe, we headed East on I-40 through Oklahoma. In Tulsa, we stopped to see the Woody Guthrie Center, which was wonderful. His music came right out of the Depression Era and is well know to both of us. The story of his life is told in great segments depicted by his experiences and his many notes and sketches. We also took in a Jewish Art Museum that had many pieces of antiquity and historic artifacts. Finally, there was a Cherokee Museum marking the end of the “Trail of Tears” which moved many Native Americans from their lands in the East to Oklahoma.
After Oklahoma, we made our way through Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama before returning to our home state of Florida. In all, our path crossed 33 states in the 5 months we were away and covered nearly 10,000 miles. We saw lots of family and friends along our route and saw a lot of amazing sites. Our stay at home will be a relatively short one of less than 5 months. Then we will be off on a new adventure. Watch this space for more.