Let’s just say it’s been amazing from beginning to end (and it isn’t over yet!).
|Months on the road||5|
|National Parks and Monuments visited||27|
|State Parks and Campgrounds visited||46|
|Nights spent at Camp WalMart, Rest Areas or Truck Stops||21|
|Appearances at L.L. Bean stores||32|
|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||Kansas|
|Business cards handed out||1,000|
|Longest day of driving||16 hours|
|Most 18 wheelers per highway mile||Pennsylvania|
|Number of times I had to drive in the rain||3|
|Number of floods||1 (Detroit)|
|Greatest pet peeve||Talking gas pumps|
|Greatest gift||Complete solitude (desert hiking)|
|Best meal||Church Street Cafe, Albuquerque|
|Best gas price||$1.79 (Oklahoma City)|
|Best hiking venue||Sedona, AZ|
|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||36 years|
|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.|
Love this! Great snap shots of a tremendous journey.
Thank you, Janie. What an amazing adventure. I am still writing about it while everything is so fresh.
The writing is phenomenal. Very rare combination of style, color and design flow a reader cannot help but enjoy. Interesting contextual choices in which both author and reader can find mutually shared joy.