Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in review, our trip west

     As 2016 winds to a close it is time for us to reflect on this years travels. Our 5 month tour of the west ended to soon. We wish we could have kept  going another couple of weeks, but we both had over  due  doctors appointments. 
     Some of the highlights included travel thru and  visits to 19 different states, including Florida. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.
     We also visited 20 National Parks, Monuments and Seashores. Gulf Island NS, The National World War Two Museum, Carlsbad Caverns NP, Bandelier NM, Guadalupe Mountain NP, Black Canyon Of The Gunnison NP, Colorado NM, Hovenweeps NM,  Rocky Mountain NP, Arches NP, Bryce,  Canyon NP, Natural Bridge NP, North Rim of the Grand Canyon NP, Vermillion Cliffs NM, Grand Staircase  Escalante NM, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Zion NP and Curecanti Nat. Rec. Area.
     Some of the other areas we visited that weren't national parks were just as interesting. Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley, Moki Dugway, Mexican Hat, Twin Rocks, Gooseneck State Park, Sand Island Petro graphs, Fort Bluff, Edges of the Cedars State Park, Lake Powell, Pikes Peak and the towns of Durango, Quray, Silverton and Colorado Springs with the Air Force Academy and the Olympic training center. In western Nebraska the town of Ogallala with its Boot Hill and the Fabulous Petrified Wood Gallery and Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala. Also the Royal Gorge in Canyon City. This is not to slight any of the other national parks which were also great. I believe we list most of the major attractions we visited and may have skipped a few.
     Overall we had a super trip. It was extremely hot most of the trip and did limit many of our hikes. Most of our hikes were short but enjoyable even with the heat and high altitude. We enjoyed all the parks but some of our favorites were horse back ridding in Bryce Canyon NP (very exciting but at times scary). Black Canyon of the Gunnison a  beautiful park with cooler temperatures . Rocky Mountain NP were we followed at a safe distance a large bull moose. Also the trail rim road to the Alpine visitors center and to the town of Grand Lake. The swamp tour in Louisiana and   a guided tour of Monument Valley with a Indian Guide. In Cedar Breaks NM we enjoyed millions of wild flowers were the wild flower festival was taking place. We also enjoyed many scenic two lane roads where some of the roads were more like a lane and a half and a white knuckle drive. Just part of the wonderful adventure.
     From Iowa it was a sprint to Pennsylvania for a visit with our three boys and their wives. Then another sprint to Florida in time for doctor visits. And guess What? THE HEAT WAS ON. We got home in time for some very hot weather.  As I an writing this the temps are in the 80's, still a little unseasonal  warm for this time of the year. But I tell our kids, I rather run the AC then the heater.
     We were home two days when it looked like we were going to take a direct hit from hurricane Matthew. We never finished unpacking the RV. So we threw some food back in and took off for a safer area out of  the predicted path of the hurricane. That is when our wonderful dog  "Hurricane Hannah" came into our lives. She was found wondering by our neighbors. She had no collar, chip or other identification. With checking with the local authorizes she wasn't reported missing. She had a few medical problems which we had  treated.  Hannah is now part of our family. She is finishing up one obedience training program and starts another new one in January.  
  The only problem we had was a break problem with our car, most likely cause by our auxiliary braking system.
     Hopefully in 2017 we can get an earlier start and beat the heat and the vacation season before the kids get out of school.
     Thank you for following along all these years. We wish you all good health and safe travels to all our friends and acquaintances  that are still on the road.         

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