|The Sierras are in there somewhere!|
Since our entire game plan in Mammoth Lakes was to go hiking, and the air quality was clearly not going to be compatible with that, we decided to go ahead and cancel our reservation, and just continue on home. Some 650 miles, and 14 hours later, we arrived. It felt very strange when we walked in the front door, and I don't think we were necessarily excited to be home, but we were certainly relieved to have the long day's drive behind us.
Today has been consumed with laundry, grocery shopping, going through mail, cleaning and putting away our trailer, washing our SUV, and unpacking. Tonight I'm making black bean burgers and grilled potatoes, which we plan to enjoy while watching a Redbox DVD, 42 - The Jackie Robinson Story.
Whew! So would we do it again? Oh my gosh, yes. We had the time of our lives. We visited dozens of national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, lighthouses, state parks, and historical sites, seeing and learning things about our nation, and this amazing planet we live on in the process. We had countless encounters with interesting people, tried dozens of new eateries, saw and picked wild berries everywhere we went, hiked almost 250 miles, kayaked, biked, saw all kinds of wildlife, came in under budget, and even managed to each lose five pounds in spite of pretty much eating whatever we wanted during the entire 7 weeks.
Of course, now that I'm back home and not surrounded by miles of hiking trails, I'll have to go back to counting calories, but it was fun while it lasted!
Life will now take a different turn as our Lifelong Learning program gets ready to start. We have volunteer training this Wednesday, with the fall semester kicking off next Monday. Between now and the end of the fall semester in early December, we'll continue to RV on the weekends, but other than one RV trip to San Diego at the end of September, we'll be Orange County bound until then. (We have big plans for our 6 week winter break, never fear. We'll spend or time between semesters traveling to Key West, Ecuador, Palm Springs and Malibu.)
The one big lesson I learned from our Pacific Northwest trip was that I really needed to do a little more research on what to do during each leg ahead of time. I spent a lot of time researching RV parks, and the overall places we should visit, and it was time well spent. Next time I'll spend the same amount of time researching the specifics of what we should do, so I can avoid taking time during each leg to do so. Our strategy, which worked pretty well but was time consuming, was to set up our RV site, then head to the closest visitor center or ranger station to get information on what there was to do. It worked out just fine looking back, but I felt panicked at times as I tried to figure out our game plan, which I didn't particular enjoy.
And there will be a next time. In 2014 we are planning to spend four weeks traveling through the southwest in the spring, and eight weeks traveling through the northern plain states in the summer. The research for it all has already begun, and it looks like both trips are going to be amazing. :-)
|Home, a little leaner, and ready to do it all over again!|