We are home safely, and had a good night’s sleep in our own beds last night. I am sitting here on Monday morning, back at work (from home). My work computer is performing all the updates that it missed while we were away, so I am taking a minute to reflect on the trip. I emailed my IT department last week to tell them my computer was being very slow. They checked remotely and said it needed updates. In order to update, it needs to be plugged into power and connected to WIFI at the same time. This was a miracle when we were on the road. I could never get both of those things at the same time.
How does it feel to be home? Relief is the first flood of emotion. We made it through 6 weeks without going to the ER, and with no family emergencies. We made it also with no financial emergencies. We did go over budget because of the price of gas and inflation in general, but that was to be expected with what’s going on in the world.
I also feel joy. We got to see friends who we haven’t seen in years. We talked to strangers in campgrounds along the way and learned interesting things. Spending so much time in nature felt amazing. Our “living room” was the 4 folding chairs on an outdoor mat in front of the camper. And our “tv” was downloading movies on my ipad and cramming in the camper to watch them. Don’t ask… it was a tight fit.
The days flew by. We had hours in the car, during which we completed 5 audiobooks (one was Harry Potter book 7, which is 21 hrs 37 min long!). If we had a long day in the car, we spent the evening setting up camp at a new location and getting familiar with it. Mornings were for working. I have never been one to “live in the moment” — usually planning dinner or the next weekend’s activity. On this trip, we truly lived in the moment.
Madison is also home to one of the biggest and best dog parks I have ever been to. It was a bit of a walk from the campround (Across the street and up the road a bit). You can see the yellow “You are here” sign on the map. The dog park is HUGE – see the tiny paw print below the you are here sign. We walked a total of 2 miles in it! I’d seriously go back just for the dog park.
This is “The Bean” in Chicago. We parked the camper in front of our friends Kenny & Julie’s house and spent the afternoon on a tour of the Windy City. Kenny is a friend of Jason’s from college, and showed us all around. Can you tell how hot out it was from this photo? HOT.
We walked along the river walk and got ice cream. Kenny pointed out all the areas where movies like Spider Man were filmed.
Here you can see Jason, Spencer, Julie & her son Levi with Kenny. This is after we enjoyed a delicious deep dish pizza for dinner. We ordered too much, so we took one whole pie home to NJ with us. Last night, with no food in the house because I hadn’t gone food shopping yet, we enjoyed authentic Chicago deep dish pizza again. Now… I need to go on a diet! : )
I know it’s a blurry picture, but we did enjoy making a campfire on our last night. My friends Karen & Scott came with their son Ben to hang out with us in Canton, OH. I studied abroad in France with Karen back in 1997! It was so wonderful to connect with friends on this trip.
We headed out early in the morning for Ohio. It was Spencer’s request to go to the Football Hall of Fame on this trip, and he had to wait until the last day to go there.
I am leaving you with one last look into our world for 6 weeks. The Home Depot bucket is the perfect garbage can for a camper. Easy to move into the bathroom to lock it away from the dogs, or bring outside if needed. You can see our tooth brushes lined up on the side… that was not ideal. They kept falling over. In the future, something stuck on the wall would work better.
We had a “happy accident” when Jason bought buttermilk by accident thinking it was regular milk. I used it with pancake mix and YUM they are amazing!
Maggie is laying on top of the cooler in our trunk. She often fell asleep and slid off of it, but inevitably got back up there.
Upon our return, we have gotten a few questions about our trip.
What did you like the best?
Jason and I agree that we loved the Grand Canyon stop the best. It was our first big National Park stop, and truly awe inspiring. It was also the best stop because our campground was inside the park, and we could bike or take the free bus to get around. When we are driving such long days, the last thing we want to do is be in the car for longer!
I also liked just the OVERALL fact that we did it! I can’t believe it happened. We made this bucket list dream come true. I’m proud of us for that.
We also enjoyed most the stops where we saw friends. In the future, we need friends to camp with!
What would you do differently?
Jason’s answer to this is “nothing.” I love that about him. If I were forced to change something, I would cut out California so we could overall shorten up the mileage and spend longer at each stop. But I don’t regret doing what we did. California was awesome (but the gas prices were not). And I’m glad we saw our CA friends.
How do you feel about being home?
Happy. It was awesome. I’m ready to stay put for a few days….
Thanks for following along with us! We loved all the comments, texts, emails, calls along the way.
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