Monday, May 12, 2014

Wrap Up: 5000 miles and 55 nights

It's been two weeks since we returned back home from our amazing 2-month trek and every day I've thought about writing a "wrap-up" blog post and every day I've felt too daunted to write it. I mean, how can you possibly do justice to so much varied travel and adventures in one blog post?! I think I finally have all of my thoughts together now and have had time to absorb the essence of the trip, so here it goes...

By The Numbers

Total Nights on the Road = 55
US States Visited = 5
National Parks Visited = 5
Campgrounds and Boondocking Spots = 22
US License Plates Seen = 46 (we're missing DE, KY, RI and WV, dangit!)
Airstreams Seen = 67 (including one named "Grey Goose" - loved it)
Miles Traveled = see the map section below...
Games of Farkle Played = 14 (Jeff's win ratio is just over 2:1)
Miles Hiked in March = 74 (Jeff), 51 (Heather) [I didn't do a good job recording the April hikes]
Naps Taken = 19

What We Learned

  1. We love traveling. We love seeing different climates, different landscapes, and different quirky towns. We love the adventure of not always knowing exactly what's next. 
  2. We like to cook! We'd gotten out of the habit of cooking regularly since we moved to the Vegas area in October, but on this trip we cooked 90% of our own meals and really enjoyed it. It was good to eat healthy again. And it was fun to plan our weekly meals and make the most of our tiny fridge and cupboard space -- kind of like a puzzle. I'm going to be posting some of our favorite recipes here on the blog in the coming weeks.
  3. We like to watch the stars. I absolutely love the handy Sky Safari app on my iPhone and we used it multiple times on the trip as we watched the constellations move in the sky over the course of two months. Many times we were really in the "boonies" so we had great views of the Milky Way and zillions of stars and there's something really peaceful about just sitting and absorbing them.
  4. Never drive in sand while pulling a trailer. That's all I'll say about that one. This is the incident-that-must-not-be-named.
  5. We really like boondocking. When we first bought Audrey last October we didn't even know that "boondocking" (dry camping in the middle of nowhere on public lands) existed! Over the course of our trip we really found that we liked the solitude and privacy of boondocking and we definitely plan to do a lot more of it in the future. In fact, we just updated our truck to a 4x4 to help us accomplish this (see item #4 above).
  6. It's okay to do nothing. This one is mostly my own (Heather here!) personal learning. I'm big into lists and tasks and being productive, but on this trip I consciously made an effort to slow down and just spend hours watching the clouds drift by or watching the waves roll in. I've been continuing this lovely approach to life since we've been back home and I'm enjoying the peacefulness of it. Of course, it's easy to be relaxed when you don't have any work pressures or deadlines, so the real trick will be to see if I can maintain this Zen after I return to the work world.

The Big Map

I had fun making this custom map below with Google Maps that shows our route. Click on any red dot to see where we stopped, the dates we were there, and a link to the appropriate blog post (if there is one). Overall, this route covered 3,690 miles! However, we put 5,026 miles on our truck through other various excursions.

[If the map doesn't appear for you, here's the direct link.]

What's Next

We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel for two whole months at this stage in our lives. It really makes us look forward to retirement, as well as has us keeping our eyes open for other opportunities like this between now and retirement age. For now we're working on rejoining the work world and continuing our shorter Adventures with Audrey on weekends or one-week trips as time allows. THANK YOU to all of you who followed along with us and sent encouraging words. It was incredibly fun to share our adventures with you!

--Heather and Jeff


  1. Wonderful write-up. Y'all have been so incredibly blessed (I know, you call it lucky) to be able to do this anytime, but especially at your age.when most folks must keep their nose to the grindstone all the time. Keep on havin' Adventures with Audrey.

  2. Glad to see that the trip was great fun. My wife Kathy and I are about to start a similar trip. Two to three months west traveling through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, and Washington.

    Boondocking is great, especially since you get away from the commercial campgrounds. It has its downside, but very few. This type of camping is all we did when we lived in Idaho. The National Forests are great. We could be at a spots for a week or two and never see anyone else. We did it with a trailer and 4 wheel drive, so getting a 4X4 is a great idea. Just remember that your trailer is not the same and you run the great risk of damaging or going off the side of a mountain at 7,000 feet as we did.

  3. Roger - thank you so much for your note! I'm really excited to hear about your upcoming trip! Will you be posting pictures anywhere? (And please watch out for 7000 ft mountainsides!)

  4. Hi, Heather and Jeff! I just found out about your move, this trip, and this blog, and, of course, had to read every entry RIGHT NOW. What a great trip! I'm sure you guys had more fun than can be quantified.

    My one-year-from-now dream is to sell everything I own--except a fiberglass camper and 4WD tow vehicle, neither of which I currently own--and go out on the road full-time. Who doesn't need a grand adventure at least once? Looking forward to seeing your recipes.

    Sara Ramsey Hearin

    1. Sara - that sounds like an excellent one-year plan!! Thanks for checking out the blog!! We're off to the Zion area again this weekend so look for a new post (and yes, recipes!) soon!