Friday, 26 days after we left Seattle we returned home from the Great American Road Trip.
By the numbers:
- 140 Hours of driving
- 5826 Miles
- 41.4 average MPH
- Fuel Economy 12.7 miles to the gallon
- Average $4.00 a gallon
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
7 National Parks
2 National Monuments
1 National Memorial
4 State Parks
2 Navajo Tribal Parks
23 Campy Roadside Attractions / Activities
We saw a lot. We did a lot.
But in Seattle we returned to break lights and rain, two things we saw very little over over the past 5800+ miles. Summer in Seattle. It was good to be home.
We took a full day to unpack, clean, and store our camper. There isn’t much to blog about today because I’m sparing you details on the 11 loads of laundry, the hours of washing and vacuuming the car and trailer, the unpacking and repacking of gear, the sorting of what stays in the camper and what goes home or storage, the cleaning of gutters and yard work at the cabin….
Speaking of yard work…I was trimming back branches from the house when I realized two babies squirrels were trying to find a way back up to the drey under our upstairs deck they had earlier emerged from. Apparently I had cut back the branches they used as a bridge from the trees to their home. On advice of our local pest control and animal advocacy company I built them a small bridge from the trees back to the porch so they can return home. They assured me in a few weeks the squirrels (who are just now exploring from the drey) will move on and pest control will come back, remove the drey, and fix the hole.
We saw so many wild animals at the coast this stay. It was interesting having driven across so much of the country to see buffalo, antelope, elk and wolves, while I have an abundance of wildlife in my own backyard. On this one day I saw two baby squirrels, 27 deer, one rabbit, and a bald eagle. While the places we visited on the Great American Road Trip were beautiful, inspiring, and full of nature, it made me appreciate the beauty and nature of my own backyard. The only difference is that the rest of America seems to benefit from better weather. Returning to the Pacific Northwest brought us clouds, rain, and daytime highs in the upper 50s; temperatures and precipitation we hadn’t seen in nearly a month – as if the Pacific Northwest was welcoming us home.
Sleeping in a guest bed and taking a real shower in beautiful home was a nice reprieve from the road. But it also signaled that our great american road trip, and my sabbatical, were coming to an end.
We went to visit my aunt and uncle in their home for morning coffee and see the work they’ve done on their patio, from the flowers and fountains, to the ingenious netting curtain my uncle designed to keep the golf balls from hitting them when they sit outside (they are very close to the tee). Somehow, Cody received a cup-of-joe as well, not a good idea for a 12 year old to have before an 8 hour drive…
We returned to my cousin’s home where George had prepared another delicious meal. We packed up, said our goodbyes and hit the road north by northwest, heading to the Washington Coast and our beach cabin in Ocean Shores.
We took the scenic highway by Mount Hood where we told the kids about the Timberline Lodge being used as the location for Stanley Kubrick’s movie The Shining; which we told them they could see when they are 16…
We really wanted to do something fun and offbeat for our last day pulling the trailer. Tawny got out a Roadside America app and we looked for funky side trips we could take along the way. There weren’t a lot of options to choose from. So we set our signts on the mysterious Mima Mounds, which we’d heard of over the years but never visited. Unfortunately we were running late after a late start as the kids were hungry and we stopped at one of our favorite places – Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon for lunch. Tawny and I had been to Edgefield years ago when we were first dating. We stayed in the historic hotel, ate at the fancy Black Rabbit Restaurant, and drank beers in their movie theater. Today we just went to the Powerstation Pub for some burgers and fries. Tawny and I noted the need to come down here sometime for a getaway weekend, maybe for one of their outdoor concerts.
Onward to Ocean Shores. Running late we skipped the Mima Mounds (another time) and headed straight for the ocean stopping only for gas. We rolled into Ocean Shores about 8pm and went directly to Bennet’s Fish Shack for dinner. We love this place. It has some of the best fish and chips on the west coast and never fails to deliver. It was a satisfying way to end the day before parking the trailer at our beach cabin and deciding to deal with it tomorrow.