Travel does not exist without home. If we never return to the place we started, we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface, a place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world.
Monday, May 14, 2018: Underway from cousin Mary Kate’s home at 0919 hours under drizzly skies and a temperature of 58 degrees. There are two main routes to our next destination…The Garden State Parkway, not my favorite, and PA-32 that parallels the Delaware River which is far more peaceful and scenic…so that’s the one we choose.
The road was narrow, winding, and in some places a bit steep…the kind of road we like. However, the camper, was not too fond of our chosen route. Added a few additional battle stripes and scars to the rig, but oh well…if you don’t travel where you want, why own an RV?
It was a beautiful drive paralleling the west side of the Delaware River, however at some point we needed to get to the far shore and start heading for the northeast. Not that there weren’t a few bridges along the way that would get us there, but they all were truss construction style with clearances lower than the top of our camper. Then when we noticed a bridge that was clear of obstructions…the weight limit was 6 tons and we top out at close to 10 tons!?!? A local constable seeing our plight helped us turn around and directed us back south a few miles to a suitable crossing, so all was good.
Around 1645 hours we pulled into our destination for the next few day, Round Pond RV Park, on the grounds of the US Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Just before a major thunderstorm was due to engulf us.So, I left truck and camper connected and plugged into shore power as the Weather Armageddon hit with strong winds, torrential rains, thunder and lightning…going to be an interesting night!
Tuesday, May 15 through Saturday, May 19, 2018-West Point, NY: An evening of rocking, but fortunately no rolling, was endured…actually felt similar to being aboard ship in moderate seas.
Following breakfast, we took a walk about the campground to survey the damage which was remarkably light.
The radio reported many trees down in the area which brought the power grid to its knees in many localities, however our power remained on and the rig came through the storm unscathed.
In years past, being this close to home, Kit and I would be making tracks for Maine…however this year our granddaughter Katie is graduating from Manhattan College a few miles to the south, so we are delaying our return to attend this momentous occasion.
Manhattan College is a beautiful and vibrant campus located in The Bronx, the northernmost borough of New York City.
Established in 1863 as a Roman Catholic liberal arts institution, the college was moved from Manhattan to it’s present location in the Riverdale section of The Bronx in 1922. A compact campus nestled within a residential neighborhood, the college has a real homey feel…
…and is very walkable due to its many beautifully landscaped paths.
Katie, shown below with proud parent’s son Joe and daughter in law Ann…
…was honored with an athletic scholarship to this Division One school due to her talent and prowess in High School Lacrosse. A high achieving scholar, Katie graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Baccalaureate Degree in Accounting and another in Finance.
Which led to her being offered a job at one of the worlds largest banks in the financial capital of the world…New York City.
Katie was joined by fellow Manhattan College graduates, boyfriend Brendan…
…and college roommate Molly…
…shown in the middle, along with new apartment roommate Liz to the left.
Also attending this auspicious occasion was Katie’s OPA from Vermont…Monk.
Sadly, Katie’s Vermont OMA passed since this high school graduation was taken.
However, we felt her loving presence as Betty watched with pride from her vantage point in heaven.
Following the commencement ceremony, we walked down the block to a nice Italian Restaurant to continue the celebration.
Kit and I thoroughly enjoyed the day and are immensely proud of this fine young lady with all she has accomplished and are thrilled to follow what will assuredly be a very bright future…Love you Katie!!!
Returning to the campground on the campus of the US Military Academy, we took a drive around the grounds of this venerable institution and paid a visit to the museum.
Established by Thomas Jefferson in 1801, West Point is the oldest of the five US Service Academies where Cadets earn an academic degree and receive military leadership training while participating in mandatory athletic events.
The museum is full of US Army artifacts such as this “Special Tractor” used during the first World War.
And the little tracked vehicle in front is an early drone prototype…a self-propelled vehicle controlled by an unspooling 2000-foot wire sent the explosive laden demolition vehicle into battle. Not very successful as the control wire was susceptible to damage which would cause the slowly moving bomb to wander amuck about the battlefield.
A great stay at West Point, but tomorrow will be an even better day as Kit and I finally head home to reconnect with family and friends…we are getting excited!
Sunday, May 20, 2018: Up and on the road at 0745 hours. This older area of New York state has many low clearance bridges, so we had to follow a convoluted path…south, then west, then north in order to get to an Interstate.
The trip toward Maine was pleasant with light traffic on this late spring Sunday.
Which is unusual for the historically congested Northeast Corridor. Kit and I really like living in Maine, however the travel environment south of the border is a necessary evil when returning to our home state from these trips. Which in the past is one of the reasons we generally choose to return via a more northerly route.
To pass the time, Kit and I started reminiscing about the past ten years of our Excellent Adventure Trips, starting out in 2009 with a 22-foot travel trailer.
Wow, who would of thought that on January 16, 2009 when we departed on Excellent Adventure #1 that we would still be at it ten years later! A lot has changed since that first frosty morning including us!
And our rig.
Which, being smaller and lighter, we took to areas of our great country that would make the manufactures warranty department squirm!
Yes, a lot has changed, but we still visit our ancesteral hometown of San Diego and of course photograph many of our restaurant meals.
And stop to see family and friends along the way, especially these two Vegas Munchkins, Tucker…
…now age 11, and Jack…
…now age 13!
Also, the hundreds of western sunrises and sunsets are still as spectacular as the very first one we posted!
So, here’s to another 10 years of adventure with the best traveling partner in the world…
… love you Kit!
Also, just for fun, here are some facts and figures compiled from all ten of our Excellent Adventure trips:
1. Total time on the road: 1,439 days
2. Longest trip: 207 Days
3. Shortest trip: 99 Days
4. Total distance traveled: 118,503 Miles
5. Total fuel consumed: 11,202 Gallons
6. Average price per gallon: $3.25
7. Average cost per night for campsite: $25.83
8. Average spent on campsite fees and fuel per year: $6,714.42
A side note: If one takes that $67,144 in one-dollar bills and lines them up, they would reach all the way to a Corvette dealership…just saying!
9. Number of nights camping for free: 303
10. Lowest elevation visited: -279 feet at Bad Water Basin, California
11. Highest elevation visited: 11,158 feet at Vail, Colorado
12. Lowest temperature experienced: 26 degrees at Coconino National Forest, Arizona
13. Highest temperature experienced: 102 degrees in Globe, Arizona
14. Number of states visited: 46, only Rhode Island, Washington, and Alaska remain.
15. Number of National Park’s enjoyed: 27
16. Number of Canadian provinces visited: 4-Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
17. Number of Excellent Adventure Journals issued: 249
18. Number of hits on our webpage: 130,661
19. Number of address’s in group notification email list: 203
20. Number of folks signed up for notification of release of latest journal: 68
21. Number of comments from readers: 1,936
22. Top commenters: Chet G, Pat C, and Nancy G…Thanks Folks!
It was fun reviewing our early years, but now back to the present. Trundling up Interstate 95 we viewed this welcome sight shortly before 1400 hours…
…as we crossed the Piscataqua River and into the state of Maine.
Traditionally, we make a stop in the Town of Kittery to take a break and grab some Maine seafood for lunch…and this trip was no exception as we pulled into a large parking area across from the Weathervane Restaurant.
Where Kit enjoyed some Fried Haddock and I consumed their signature Fried Clam Dinner!
What a treat! With all the great regional cuisine we enjoy during these Excellent Adventures, nothing beats the succulent Maine seafood!
An hour later, we were back on the road heading north and within another hour pulling into our coastal hometown.
And down our treelined street.
Where family and neighbors welcomed us home!
Great to be back in Maine at one of the most beautiful times of the year…and just in time to enjoy some of grandson CJ’s playoff lacrosse games and proudly watch him graduate with honors from high school.
CJ will be attending college in the fall at a university in Rhode Island.
Before they head north to guide for the summer on the Penobscot River.
Well, that brings to a close this, our tenth year of adventure travel…it has been a fun ride, and so glad to have you all along!
Here are the statistics for our 2018 Excellent Adventure:
Length of Trip: 172 Days
Total Distance: 11,588 Miles
Total Fuel Used: 1,058 Gallons
Average Fuel Economy: 10.57 MPG
Highest Diesel Fuel Cost: $4.99 in California
Lowest Diesel Fuel Cost: $2.56 in Louisiana
Highest Camping Cost with Hook-up’s: $78.00 in Surprise, Arizona
Lowest Camping Cost with Hook-up’s: $10.00 in Gila Bend, Arizona
Average Camping Cost: $25.83 per Night
Freebie Camping: 27 Nights, “THANK’S FOLKS!”
Kit’s Bit’s: Wow! It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for 10 years! I’m so glad we’ve had the opportunity to travel through most of the US. From the very beginning of our life together, we have always talked about traveling the country with an RV. We were fortunate enough in the early days of our marriage to be able to travel across the country to new duty stations, courtesy of Uncle Sam. However, in those days, we were always on a mission to get to our destination quickly. On those trips, we always saw things we wanted to stop and see but never had the time. Since we always seem to seek out the unusual sights, RV travel fits the bill perfectly! We’ve enjoyed every minute of these trips and look forward to many more adventures! Many thanks for all your comments on the journals!