Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year and Looking Back at 2016

We would like to take this moment to 
Wish Everyone Reading this a
Happy and Blessed New Year!
May you find Happiness and Joy
as you Travel through 2017.

Looking back on this past year the first word that comes to mind is fun.  We are living our retirement dream, loving it, and enjoying the days as they unfold. Sadly many people never get to live their dream so we get up grateful every morning for the day ahead. 

Highlights of 2016:

January: We welcomed 2016 at the Saddle Mountain RV Park in Tonapah, AZ. While there we met some very nice couples Linda and Len (our neighbors), Joyce and Jerry, and Molly and Charlie, all of whom we hope to see again. 
We attended the second Blogger Fest in Quartzsite, organized by George and Suzie Yates of Our Awesome Travels, and it was so nice to be able to put faces to bloggers whose blogs we have been reading the last few years. 
We are hoping to be able to attend again this year. It is being planned by Sue and Lorne Green of  A Place Called "Away" and will take place on January 28, 2017 again in Quartzsite at the La Posa South LTVA.

February: By the 12th we were parked out in the desert where we spent about 4 weeks enjoying the quiet that is the desert. We did take the time to explore some of the area and I took some beading classes but mostly we were just content to be sitting in the sun, watching sunsets and sunrises, or looking at the night sky filled with stars. When we had a full moon it was so bright we felt like someone had turned the lights on.
We also drove over to Joshua Tree National Park which was beautiful. Our hope is to go back now that we have a vehicle which can handle some of the off road trails.

March:  We left the Quartzsite area on the 8th and headed to Lake Havasu City for the Annual Yooper Picnic-definitely a fun time. 
We also spent time in the Kingman area and connected with fellow yoopers, Jill and Rick. They have a wonderful home in a beautiful spot and it was nice to get to see it. 
We again drove down Route 66 and this time we stopped in Oatman. 
We started our slow trek East towards home on the 21st. One of our stops was the Petrified Forrest National Park. We drove through, stopping at several lookouts, on a cool windy day. 
We spent a week near Albuquerque which is where we spent Easter.  While there we drove the Turquoise Trail up to Santa Fe. (Another place it will be nice to visit now that we have a smaller vehicle to maneuver through the old streets.)

April: Still traveling East we stopped in Amarillo for a couple of days, visited The Big Texan and watched three young men try to conquer the 72 ounce steak meal. 
We also drove over to the Texas Panhandle War Memorial and it ended up being the day they were having a welcome home ceremony for Vietnam Veterans. Tom is a Vietnam Veteran so it was a special moment for him. 
Continuing East we stopped at the Little Rock High School Historical Site in Arkansas. 
We spent a week at the Escapees Raccoon Valley RV Park near Heiskell, TN.  From there we drove to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cumberland Gap National Park.
On the 17th we officially pointed the truck north on I 75 and headed towards Michigan. We spent the 20th through the 28th visiting with our son and his family in St. Clair Shores. 

May: We pulled into our driveway on the 2nd. We had been gone 200 days and put 15,291 miles on the truck. Our Second Adventure had come to a close but will always be remembered.

June, July, August, September:  During these months we spent time going through stuff. In 47 years we have accumulated a lot more stuff then either of us imagined. Since, it was not the only thing we did during this time we did not quite finish but this coming summer it will be done. 
We also went through the Crusader and pulled out what we did not absolutely need in anticipation of purchasing a motor home. (We started looking last year taking our time as we wanted it to be the right and only one we purchase.) 
The 4th of July our son, daughter-in-law, and their three children visited and we did family pictures. During this time some of our extended family gathered at our home for what was a great day of visiting. 
August 1st our newest grandchild, Adelaide Ann, arrived. 
In September we gathered to celebrate Nathaniel and Adelaide's baptism. 
It was a busy summer and it just flew by. We were able to spend time with family and friends and that is the best part of being in Escanaba.

October: On the 20th Tom backed the Crusader out of our driveway at 5:45AM and we drove a short distance over to the Family Inn to have breakfast with our daughter, Rachel, and grandchildren, Charlotte, Nathaniel, Adelaide, Aden, and Nolan. At 7:50AM we left Escanaba behind and began our Third Adventure . 
We spent the first night in Frankenmuth and found out we had lost the bottom plate on one of the front stabilizers so we could not unhook. Dinner went from a nice restaurant to hot dogs from the freezer.
We spent 12 days at the Riverview Marina and RV Park in Algonac so we could visit with our son, Thomas, or daughter-in-law, Nadine and grandchildren, Noah, Jonah, and Marcella.  Our time there included Halloween so it was fun to watch them get dressed up and go out trick or treating.  Though it ended up being the coldest night during our visit.

November: We left Michigan on the 2nd and on the 3rd we stopped at an Urgent Care and found out Tom had Bronchitis. Which, considering just about everyone was sick at our son's house when we left, was inevitable. At this point we decided to spend one more night traveling south and on the 4th we parked at the Zooland Family Campground near Asheboro, NC and stayed for 7 nights resting and recuperating.
After spending two nights in Walmart parking lots we parked at the Arbor Terrace RV Resort in Bradenton, FL. Our next door neighbors in Escanaba, Joan and Ross, had recently purchased a winter home near where we were parked and it was nice to be able to get together with Joan and see their new place. She had been busy remodeling and is making it into a beautiful home. 
The rest of this month and December we spent looking at motor homes. 
Leaving this park was not the best moment and we learned a valuable lesson. (Information in December post.)
We then parked at the Zephyr Palms RV Park in Zephyrhills until the 17th of December. 

December: On the 13th we quietly celebrated 47 years of marriage. 
On the 10th we saw for the first time, in person, the motor home which would become our new home on wheels. We walked in and immediately knew we had found the one. Even after talking about it, a lot, we still had no doubts about it being the one. (I had said all along we would know immediately when we walked in if it was home. Over the past year we walked into a lot of motor homes that for one reason or another did not make the cut.)   On the 17th before we signed the papers after yet again opening up cupboards, closets, checking out the bathroom, and standing in the shower, I sat on the couch and it felt like home. Luckily it also had what Tom was looking for as far as the engine etc...It is a 2007 Coachman Pathfinder, we have named the Stinger B. After signing the papers we spent the rest of the day moving everything out of the Crusader into the Stinger B. Then the morning of the 18th we said goodbye to the Crusader for the last time and headed north for the holidays. 
On the way home, on the 21st, we stopped in Abrams, WI and purchased a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk to tow behind the Stinger B. 
We are still in Escanaba as I write this but if the backup plan goes as expected we should be headed downstate on January 4th and back in Florida on 13th.

All in all it was a great year. We did have some bumps in the road but that is part of life. We are looking forward to 2017 and the new adventures ahead. Remembering, as we go, it is not just about the destination it is about the trip and being open to the detours that happen along the way. After all sometimes the detours are the best part of the trip.

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