Saturday, August 19, 2006

We finally made it home after 21 days, 17 states, 766 gallons of gas and about 8,000 miles of driving. The whole trip has been wonderful, exceeding all of our expectations. It is very hard to pick out a few highlights, and the real highlights are the shared experiences that we have had together and with others. The times that we got to surf together, build robots together, laugh together and sit in quiet awe together are priceless. Getting to spend a little time catching up with family and friends was really a treat as well. It has been well worth the time, effort, and money; and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Some people have asked us if there were low-lights or things we would do differently if we did it all over again. There are a few, but they are minor. We would have skipped Vegas. It was expensive, hot, and didn’t offer much family activities, while exposed us to a lot of very non-family images. We also would have planned to save up a little more money for groceries. We had assumed that our regular grocery budget would be fine, but found that we had to purchase a lot of stuff at higher prices for convenience. We also should have planned on spending more money for souvenirs, and for eating out. We planned to eat in most of the time, but also really wanted to try the local restaurants. We had a rule that we couldn’t eat at any place where we had eaten before, and it turned out to be really fun. We also should have planned on driving more miles. We planned for about 6,200 miles, and really drove 8,000 due to driving around in different destinations. As I mentioned before though, that was off-set by our better than expected gas-mileage (over 10 mpg), and our better than expected fuel prices ($3.00 average).
If that’s all we can come up with for low-lights, then we were very blessed!
There are also a lot of things that we are really glad that we did do and bring. Taking the time every morning to read the Bible and pray was essential for guidance and overall well-being. He’s in control, and we counted on Him every single step of the way. We are also thankful that we brought Gladys for a different kind of guidance. We never wondered where we were, and never argued about how to get somewhere or missing an exit. She always knew where there was a Wal-Mart or a Laundromat, and showed us up to the second progress along the way. The motorhome itself was really the right way to do this kind of trip. We considered using a van and staying at hotels, or pulling a trailer, or even flying west and then renting; but having our home with us all along the way was truly ideal. Having internet service using Verizon Wireless’ “BraodBand Access” was very helpful for checking email, updating the blog, finding points of interest, and uploading pictures was really helpful. Speaking of uploading pictures, we sent all of our pictures to Flickr so that others could see them right away, and so that they would be safe in case the laptop got lost or stolen or broken. That really helped me have peace of mind that we wouldn’t lose all of our valuable pictures. Being together all the time was really the best thing of all. As we were almost home, we talked about not feeling too home-sick even after such a long time away. It was because we were all together that we really didn’t feel like there was much missing.
This was the trip of a lifetime, and we will carry these memories together forever.

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