No big deal, I'll just pick a few highlights of the year and post a review. Oh boy, what was I thinking? It was not a year to review lightly. Although we traveled through only eight states, some were the biggest and arguably the most spectacular in the country. So how am I going to do this? Systematically or randomly? Thematically or chronologically? Logically or emotionally? Geez, so many choices. Well, let's see what develops if I just jump in.
We started full-timing in 2011, and we've covered much of the country, except for those pesky tornado-ridden flat states smack in the middle. Somehow we just can't seem to get to them. No offense to the Heartland, but it just isn't as compelling as those states around the edges. We covered a lot of completely new territory for us this year, in some pretty exciting and "edgy" places, many of them the least populated areas of the western USA.
We brought in 2014 on the southern edge of the country at a New Year's bash in Vermillionville, Lafayette, Louisiana, dancing to Geno Delafose's Cajun/Zydeco music.
Then we two-stepped along the Gulf Coast of Texas to spend a peaceful month beach combing on Mustang Island.
We salsaed down to the southernmost tip of Texas during that time to do some exotic bird watching on the border of Mexico.
My son Mark joined us in Texas for a chunk of the winter, and we took in some old and new sights while cooling our heals along the southern edge of Texas and New Mexico.
|Mark - Enchanted Rock, TX|
|Guadalupe Mountains National Park|
Early spring found us tangoing inland, making our way diagonally northwest through Arizona. While in Pheonix we hit my now all-time-favorite museum: the Musical Instrument Museum.
We crossed over into Utah to spend a glorious month at Zion National Park, one of our
all-time-favorite places. We were joined by Steve and Wendy, two of our all-time-favorite people, with whom we waltzed in the Park.
Continuing our diagonal trek, eastern Nevada was a big surprise - much more textured and scenic than we expected. We eased on up the Great Basin Highway and the Loneliest Road, making stops at Great Basin National Park and the Bonneville Salt Flats.
|Great Basin National Park|
|Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah|
|Crystal Crane Hot Springs, OR|
We tight-roped much of our Spring on the edge between the Oregon Cascades and the Oregon desert, in Bend. This started our season of dodging the wildfires in the western states.
|Painted Hills, OR|
|Two Bulls Fire, Bend, OR|
We gently dropped our RV in Springfield, Oregon for some repairs, while we boogied on toward the northwest corner of the country. After a brief and lovely visit with our good friends Nick and Cindy in Gig Harbor, we burst into our greatest adventure yet - the Great Edge that is Alaska. For this first venture into Alaska we decided on two of the most popular places - the Inside Passage and Denali National Park. Anchorage served as a base for other smaller cakewalks into the surrounding areas.
|Glacier Bay National Park, AK|
|Three bull moose, Denali National Park, AK|
|North Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, AK|
Our flight back to the lower 48 brought us to Seattle, another visit with Nick and Cindy in Gig Harbor, and a reunion celebration with our rig.
|Gig Harbor and Mt Rainier, WA|
We spent the rest of our Summer and Fall in California, swinging our way south along the eastern edge the Sierra Nevadas. It was our first time in the Sierras and after hearing so much about how uniquely beautiful that area is, we have to concur. From Lake Tahoe, to Mono Lake, to Yosemite, to Death Valley, eastern California is a real wonderland.
|Lake Tahoe, CA|
|Mono Lake, CA|
|Yosemite National Park, CA|
|Death Valley National Park CA|
And here we are, finishing up 2014 in Southern California, krumping around the edges of Los Angeles, the largest metropolis in the country. (Well, to be truthful, we are actually on the edges of San Diego right now.) In any case, it's a pretty major change after spending so much time hiding in the hinterlands of the California mountains and deserts.
|San Dimas, CA|
|Guess where, CA|
It was a year of extremes, ranging north to Alaska and south to the Mexican border;
|Glacier National Park, AK and El Paso, TX|
...from the pale salt of Bonneville Flats to the textured rainbow of the Valley of Fire.
...from the lows of Death Valley to the heights of Mount Whitney;
...from the peopled buzz of southern California to the pristine remotes of Alaska;
|Santa Monica Pier, CA and Denali National Park, AK|
...and from smoke filled skies to crystal clear altitudes.
|Yosemite National Park, CA and Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, CA|
It was a year for wonderful dances with good friends (Nick and Cindy, Lynn and Glenn, Wendy and Steve, so many Chicago buddies and DMT friends) and family (The Hoyles, The Herveys and dearest Mark).
It was also a year of changes. We hugged and kissed goodbye to our foldable kayaks and Ms. Subaru, who took us 85,000 miles into our journey. We welcomed two new inflatable kayaks into our family and hope to be introduced to a new car any day now.
We're deeply grateful for all our new and old partners, and for our natural world that reminds us daily of the wonder and goodness all around us, and we wish the same for all of you.
Remember, keep your dance card open
and have a Happy New Year.
and have a Happy New Year.