The end of this road

Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
Trip End Apr 01, 2003

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Monday, May 19, 2003

Greetings from our new home,

Wow! What a trip. In just under ten months we traveled 37,600 miles around the country as we visited 32 out of the 50 states. We also visited two cities in Canada and one in Mexico making this trip a North American tour. We even went through some of the states twice. We've seen swamps, forests, deserts, plains, volcanoes, mountains, caves, and canyons. I've simply lost count on how many museums, factories, and national parks we've been to. We've also seen every type of large land animal, except for the wolf, that can be found in the US, as well as a variety of hawks, falcons, and eagles. Mother Nature was extremely kind to us during this trip, because it only rained on us a handful of times and only once there was a very light snowfall when we were towing our house.

We met a lot of nice friends at the RV parks we stayed at, but we never exchanged information to keep in touch. We would like to thank all of our friends who invited us over when we pulled into their town. They were kind enough to take the time and show us a good time. We had no idea we knew people in so many different places around the country until this trip.

We would also like to send out a huge thank you to Betty, John, and Erik for flying out and spending their vacation with us, wherever we were. There was nothing we missed more on this trip than our family and our friends. They got to see what life was really like for us on the open road, and their visits helped make the places we were in less foreign and unknown.

Many people have asked us which was our favorite place. That is a tough question because each place has its own pluses and minuses. Overall, I fell in love with Denver and Jenn really loved Chicago. I also still love the Florida Keys. However, our best hiking was in Utah's national parks. Our favorite national park was Yellowstone in Wyoming. Our favorite RV camp was the one in San Diego. The most magnificent sunset occurred also in Wyoming on our way home from Yellowstone. The weirdest attraction we visited was the House on the Hill in Wisconsin. One of our favorite events was the Bonnaroo concert in Manchester, Tennessee when 18 friends of ours met up together to experience four stages playing at once for three days straight into the wee hours of the morning.

Now as far as bad things happening to us, they were few and far between and luckily not that serious. In the beginning of our trip we both woke up in Georgia with a few ticks on our bodies. I did have to maneuver a three point turn in an intersection with the RV attached on a steep road in the South Carolina mountains. I did lightly tap the car in front of me as we made our way out of the Bonnaroo concert in Tennessee. I waved and gave him an OK sign when he got out of the car to look at his rear bumper; he then nodded back at me and got in his car once he realized everything was all right. The outside shower controls on the RV mysteriously broke and took a few hours to fix. My front bicycle tire popped when I was by myself in Arches National Park in Utah, forcing me to push my bike up hill to the next hiking trail six miles away. All in all, it was still an amazing time and we walk away with no complaints.

If there is one word to describe how I feel about this trip, the word is accomplished. This trip began as a dream and ended up as a trip of a lifetime. We researched RV's, loosely planned our route, budgeted for it, and most important of all we executed it. We could have waited until we were retired like all the other full-time RVers we met, but instead we decided to just do it now while we are still young. I have to admit it was scary to leave the security of our predictable 'normal' lives. Many people were supportive of us when they discovered that we actually had a plan and that we were taking it seriously. I would like to return that support by saying to all of you that your dreams are important no matter what other people think of them, and it is entirely up to YOU to make them happen. Trust me, life will reward you for even taking the smallest steps towards fulfilling your dream. YOU CAN DO IT!

Jenn and I have grown closer and we learned how to communicate a lot better than we did before this trip. We may only be married for a year and a half now, but after spending ten months with each other, day after day, in only 27 feet of space, and without our friends nearby to take us out on our own I believe our marriage is actually on its fourth year. We both feel that we have grown in many ways, but it's difficult to tell in exactly what areas. I am aware, however, that we both have grown spiritually from reading The Celestine Prophecy and The Artist's Way and from spending time in some truly magnificent places on this trip.

Our trip may have ended, but our memories are full of beautiful and exciting stories. Our trip may have ended, but a written record exists of the entire thing. Our trip may have ended, but now a new one begins in Virginia. It is not a coincidence that our cousins Aimee and Marc had to go and live in Japan for a year at approximately the same time we finished our trip. We accepted the offer to babysit their house while they are gone, because Virginia was our second choice for a new place to live. The timing could not have been more perfect for both parties.

Our trip may have ended, but I am glad that I got to share our adventures with so many of you. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first began writing these travelogues. Thank you for the times you would let me know when I was slacking and not updating the website fast enough; it helped make me feel like I was doing something worthwhile. Many of you have told me that I should show it to a publisher, and I will some day. Even if I am a bit skeptical as to who else besides our friends and family would want to read this. This may by the last travelogue, but I do not want it to be the last time we talk to, or email, or see each other.

So now we are living in Alexandria, Virginia. We sadly emptied out our RV and we are in the process of finding another couple who will buy it and love it as much as we did. We are both still hunting for jobs as we transform their house into our home for now. Jenn is growing a garden in the backyard full of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. She has been talking about doing this for months and it makes me smile when I see her doing things that make her happy. Today, I finally purchased that drum set that I have been talking about for years. Growing up in Florida, I've never had a basement before and it is a great place for band practice. Are you actively working on a dream?

We wish all of you good fortune and the courage to choose your own adventure.

Live it up,
Smiles for miles,
Laughter ever after,

Love Dave & Jenn
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