Our big adventure lasted from September
21st - October 2, 2000....and here's how we did it and what we experienced. At
the bottom of the page is a table of contents....listing
all the pages of this trip...this way you know how many pages are included in
this section. Also, I provided website links to a lot of the places I discussed,
places we visited, etc.
I really loved this trip.
Sadly, Les and I are now divorced. We were still married when I wrote this
chapter of my website. But nothing or no one can take away how awesome this trip
was for us. We really, really enjoyed it.
Keep in mind....my experience was in
SOUTHERN California...I know that NORTHERN California is totally
different. So, my trip assessment, as much as I loved it, is about SOUTHERN
California....Please, people, don't think that you have to inform me that there
is a difference...I am aware of it.
We had a tight schedule and saw most
everything through the windshield of our van...and that's how a good many
pictures were taken. We did not have the time to constantly get out of the van,
set up the tripod, and take our time taking pictures. Besides, being on the 'shoulder'
of a busy interstate while taking pictures is too dangerous. So, please bear
with us and appreciate that we are 'showing' you our vacation as we saw it. We
took about 18 rolls of film but I'm only putting up a representation of some of
the things we saw...no sense in trying to put them all on my site, right?
Now, before I get started on telling you
everything, let me say this...we are more than aware of all that we could not
do. We had to work within a time schedule and our money. For one thing....Les
could not take off any more time from work than what he managed to have. He
needs to be at his job. He is responsible for several buildings. If it were
possible to have had more days, we would have taken them.
We would have loved
to have done as much as we wanted to do...but we just couldn't do it all. We
talk to lots of people who say we "should have done this" and
"should have gone here and there"...but, if we talk to twenty people
about this trip, each and every one of them tells us something different about
what we should have done.
We lived 'our trip' and what we 'could
do'...we could not live everyone else's idea of what this trip should have been.
I don't think that a lot of people realize how long it takes to drive this
distance and how hard it is to do this pulling a camper. We have to drive no
less than 500 miles a day from destination to destination...and then off again
to somewhere else. We did the best we could with what we had and where we wanted
to go. I don't think we did too bad. We packed a lot into just 11 days. I hate
that I've had to defend my own vacation so much, but you know how some folks
And, please remember that I am a double
amputee...I am limited in how much I can do in a day. If I over-do it...I can
ruin the rest of my vacation. I am in wooden legs, with wool socks....in a
desert...how comfortable do you think I was? So, I have to be careful to not get
over-heated. I cannot walk as far or as long as 'normal people'...so, 'doing
everything' is easier said than done, for me. Please keep in mind that I am
Here's how it all happened....
On Tuesday, August 29, 2000, the idea for
the 'big adventure' was born. Les and I were on our way to supper and he said,
"Now....this is just a thought, but ....why don't we take all that change
we've been saving and go out to The
(like he really had to work hard to convince me!)
And in exactly 23 days we were on our way.
We bought our first camper on August 8, 2000. It was a used one...having bought
it from my in-laws. But it was in great shape. This was to open a whole new door
to us....camping. We had a great time shopping and fixing the camper up the way
we wanted. I immediately made all new curtains and Les and I both did lots of
little things to make it 'homey'. These are a few pictures of the camper.
On Labor Day weekend Les
and I went camping at Lake
Lure, North Carolina to plan our trip and etch it in stone. We figured out
some good vacation time and some of the sites we wanted to see. As we talked,
the trip grew and grew. When we returned home we got right on our computers and
began to do some research on where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see.
The internet was a tremendous help...we got an idea on prices and decided right
away that we would stay at the KOA's
that are all along the way. The great thing about those campgrounds is that they
provide a night registration. A lot of RV parks close at a certain time of the
evening and lock a gate...but KOA stays unlocked and you can pull in any time of
A good tip is to visit a
KOA and get a free Camper's Guide, which shows you where all the KOA's are and
wonderful directions on how to get there. That is a great help in mapping out
how far you want to travel. And KOA's have full hook-ups...and some have
cable for your TV....I love that.
You can stop by a KOA and
pick up a free Directory Road Atlas And Camping Guide, or you can send $3.00 (shipping
charges) to the following address and they
will send you one:
Kampgrounds Of America,
Another big help is to go
to the internet and look up the Rand
McNally website....you can type in your destinations and print out detailed
maps and also see what the mileage is, among other things.
On September 21st, 2000, at
5:05 in the afternoon, we took pictures of ourselves and then we were off on our
We figured that we could
get a good five or six hour head start on our vacation by not waiting till the
next morning to leave...so we headed to Nashville,
Tennessee....and stayed at the KOA. We were right up the street from the Grand
Ole Opry House. While reading the campground rule sheet we noticed that it
warned of 'aggressive squirrels'. We saw no aggressive squirrels.
However, we did get
something that ended up saving us an impressive amount of money during this
trip....a discount card for KOA's. I recommend one. Though these places are not
expensive, they do add up in the savings.
After leaving Nashville, we headed for Arkansas...or,
as we call it....