Monthly Archives: November 2012

Final Trip Analysis

We left our home in Union, Kentucky on January 26, 2012.  We spent 292 days or 9-1/2 months on the road, and ended our trip in Wimauma, Florida on November 12, 2012. 

Being the geek that I am, I’ve meticulously logged various aspects of our trip in a spreadsheet.  You may also wish to review my 3-month and 6-month analyses.  This may be a little boring to read, but cross-country RV travellers may find this information to be very useful.

Shadow and Theresa at our campsite in Zion National Park

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Facebook Running Narrative – Part 3

In addition to writing this blog, I post a steady stream of comments and photos on Facebook.  Since my Facebook posts are visible only to my family and friends, I’ve replicated them here for all to enjoy.  You can read Part 1 and Part 2, which chronicle the start of our trip January 26 through September 30.  The following posts are listed in chronological order from October 1 through the end of our trip on November 12.  These posts provide a nice running narrative of our trip.

  

Smith Rock State Park is a "climber’s park." We spent the afternoon watching people risk their lives hanging from a 1/4" rope. This photo shows climbers tightroping over to the Monkey Face, a 350-foot tall granite monolith.

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Oregon State Parks

Theresa on the edge of a cliff looking out over "The Island" and Lake Billy Chinook in Cove Palisades State Park

The state parks out west tend to be as spectacular as the national parks, but just on a smaller scale.  This was also true in Oregon.  For example, Cove Palisades (see photo above) looks like a mini-Grand Canyon that’s been flooded.  Smith Rock is a climber’s paradise like Yosemite that’s visited by many world-class climbers.  And Silver Falls State Park offers 10 magnificent waterfalls on a single hike.

Please check out our photo tours of the Oregon State Parks we visited:

Smith Rock State Park
Cove Palisades State Park
L.L. Stub Stewart State Park
Silver Falls State Park

Waterfalls

“Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.”  ~Mikhail Lermontov

Timm, Darby and Shadow at Latourell Falls in Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Oregon is home to the greatest concentration of waterfalls in North America.  The Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge has over 90 named waterfalls.  And Silver Falls State Park features the Trail of Ten Falls, where hikers can see 10 terrific waterfalls on a 8-mile hike along a narrow canyon.

Waterfalls usually flow heaviest in the spring when they carry winter snowmelt and spring shower runoff.  On the other hand, waterfalls on the west coast of the United States typically flow the least in early autumn because the hot & dry summers choke off their water supply. 

Unfortunately, we visited Oregon in early autumn.  A few park officials even had the nerve to say something like, “Our waterfalls aren’t flowing very heavily now, so perhaps you should come back in the spring.”  But we’re here now!  And even with the relatively low flow, the waterfalls were captivating and beautiful.

Please check out our waterfall photo tour in two Oregon parks:

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Silver Falls State Park

Cascade Volcanic Arc

Mt. Hood

The Cascade Volcanic Arc is a series of volcanoes that extend over 700 miles from British Columbia south through Washington, Oregon and California.  The Cascade Volcanoes are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped area around the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.  All known historic eruptions in the lower 48 United States have occurred in the Cascade Volcanoes.  The two most recent eruptions were at Lassen Peak in 1915 and Mt. St. Helens in 1980. 

The Cascade Arc contains 20 major volcanoes.  Twelve of the volcanoes are over 10,000 feet in elevation, and the two highest (Mt. Rainier and Mt. Shasta) rise over 14,000 feet.  There are over 4,000 volcanic vents, including stratovolcanoes, shield volcanoes, lava domes and cinder cones.

Several major cities are located along the Cascade Volcanic Arc, including Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.  Over 10 million people live in this region within striking distance of an active volcano.  These are considered some of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to their eruptive history and potential, and because they are built upon weak rock that is susceptible to failure, potentially resulting into catastrophic avalanches and debris flows.

Volcanoes are ominous and intimidating, not only because of their reputation and destructive potential, but also because of their imposing profile.  Mountain peaks tend to be surrounded by other mountains, whereas volcanoes tend to be isolated and therefore can dramatically rise 10,000 feet or more above the surrounding plain.

Please check out our photo tours of parks in the Cascade Volcanic Arc:

Mt. Rainier National Park
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mt. Hood National Forest
Deschutes National Forest
Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Crater Lake National Park
Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Lava Beds National Monument
Modoc National Forest
Lassen National Forest
Lassen National Park

Our Adventure is Over

Timm saying goodbye to the Grand Canyon

We have hiked the final trail in the final park on the final day of our adventure.  We hiked the Grandview Trail deep down into the Grand Canyon and sat just above the Horseshoe Mesa, where we enjoyed our lunch and a spectacular view of the canyon.  We said goodbye to this amazing place and also to our adventure of a lifetime.

Our nation is blessed that our forebears set aside so many natural lands for future generations to enjoy.  And Theresa and I are truly blessed to have visited so many beautiful places over the past year.

 

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RV for Sale!

This morning, we put our RV for sale in RVTrader (click on the link to see the ad).  We spent the last 2 days cleaning and scrubbing to get it looking “like-new” so we could take pictures and have it ready to show to potential buyers. 

RV in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

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Gift #5: Freedom

As I wrote earlier, this trip has given us 5 unforgettable gifts.  The first gift is having the luxury of time to explore and meander. The second gift is being able to take the long way around and discover the road less traveled. The third gift is the shared passion Timm and I have for this journey.  The fourth gift is we have become emotionally closer to our family and friends.

The fifth and final gift is freedom.  It is hard to express how free we have felt these past 10 months.  We have been free in so many ways:

  • Free to wake up slowly every morning.  Free to lay in bed awhile longer and enjoy the warmth under the blankets.
  • Free to wander the country.  Free to visit whatever cool parks or tourist attractions we happen upon along the way.
  • Free to stay an extra day in a dispersed camping spot that is… well… free.
  • Free to follow the sun.  Free to pack up the RV and move on down the road because the weather is turning rainy or cold.
  • Free to sit for hours gazing at a warm campfire.  Free of guilty feelings about gazing at the campfire for hours.
  • Free to eat whatever we want because we know we’ll burn off the calories on tomorrow’s 8-mile hike.
  • Free of nearly all time commitments.  Free of appointments, meetings and reservations.
  • Free of nearly all health-related problems.  Free of all but only minor aches and pains.

P1200463B

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A Birthday I’ll Always Remember

Our original plan was to end our adventure around my birthday November 4th at a great park somewhere in the desert southwest.  Fortunately our plan worked out that way.  My birthday was the second-last day of our adventure, and we spent the day in Grand Canyon National Park.

Flying over the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

We have visited many many amazing parks on our trip, but there is no place as truly grand as the Grand Canyon.  It’s such an iconic place that we’ve all seen so often in photos and movies, that when you first see it in person, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it.  Standing on the rim, the canyon appears larger than life, and yet it also appears two-dimensional and flat.  To really experience the canyon, to understand its immense size and scale, and to fully appreciate its beauty, you have to hike down into it and then fly over it.

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Facebook Running Narrative – Part 2

In addition to writing this blog, I also post a steady stream of comments and photos on Facebook.  Since my Facebook posts are visible only to my family and friends, I’ve replicated them here for all to enjoy.  You can read Part 1 here, which chronicles the start of our trip January 26 through June 9.  The following posts are listed in chronological order from June 10 through September 30.  They provide a nice running narrative of our trip.

 

When there’s 22 hours of daylight, there’s no longer a need to rush.

 

We climbed a thigh-burning 1000 feet in a half mile for an incredible view of the turquoise glacier-fed Muncho Lake in British Columbia. Canadians don’t seem to like switchbacks… the trails go straight up!

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