Let’s just say it’s been amazing from beginning to end (and it isn’t over yet!).
|Months on the road
|National Parks and Monuments visited
|State Parks and Campgrounds visited
|Nights spent at Camp WalMart, Rest Areas or Truck Stops
|Appearances at L.L. Bean stores
|Best repair shop
|Walt’s VW Repair, Columbia, MO
|Worst roads in the country
|Connecticut. (Imagine the sound of two large boulders in a commercial dryer and you get the idea.)
|Best roads in the country
|Business cards handed out
|Longest day of driving
|Most 18 wheelers per highway mile
|Number of times I had to drive in the rain
|Number of floods
|Greatest pet peeve
|Talking gas pumps
|Complete solitude (desert hiking)
|Church Street Cafe, Albuquerque
|Best gas price
|$1.79 (Oklahoma City)
|Best hiking venue
|Most unlikely book sale
|Gas station attendant on NJ Turnpike
|Friends reconnected with
|14 (My deepest gratitude to all of you!)
|Longest time since I had seen an old friend
|Best name encountered
|Genesis Aurora Santiago
|Favorite place to drive
|Anywhere in the wide open west.
|Best “better than I remembered” moment
|Driving across the Texas panhandle.
(When I did it in my 20s I was bored. This time, I was enchanted.)
|Best impromptu decision
|Exploring New Mexico’s El Malpais National Monument for the day.
|Second best impromptu decision
|Visiting the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair in NY (and its great museum).
|Best campground appearing just when I was about to fall asleep moment
|Homolovi State Park, AZ
|Worst Google Maps moment
|Attempting to find Canyon De Shelly National Monument, Google maps sent me on a 60-mile road trip of despair on dirt roads that almost made my teeth fall out. (I gave up.)
|Most unexpected reasons for hope
1. Businessman in Fort Collins, CO in hotel lobby acknowledging black TV screen. “Thank god it’s off. Television is poison.”
2. Man in Danbury, CT picking up a discarded fast food bag in the parking lot and throwing it away just as I was walking over to do the same.
|Best food shopping discovery
|Wegmans – There is no shopping experience like it on earth. They are merchandising geniuses.
|Best impromptu blogging location
|Blue Ridge Parkway. I stopped to make a sandwich at a scenic overlook. The next thing you know, I was writing with a spectacular mountain view.
|What I thought I couldn’t live without and did
|Music. (I barely listened to any.)
|What I almost didn’t buy and was really glad I did
|Collapsable sink (for washing dishes in campsites)
|Best “helped by stranger” moment
|Danny in Sedona helping me solve my van stalling problem.
|Best “pay it forward” moment
|Stopping to help couple change tire in upstate NY.
|Best take away
|There are great people everywhere in this country. If you travel with an open mind and a generous perspective, you will be consistently amazed.