Saturday, December 22, 2018

It's that time again, the year in review, Part 1

It's always amazing after we get back here and start settling in that the year's travel is over and that we covered so much ground and had such a good time.  We did a great loop again, up and into New England and then back out west to complete our larger than normal route.

We put an emphasis on fly fishing this year for sure and were pretty successful with it except for a disappointing float, and a terrible drought, we had a spectacular time.  We certainly did our part to try to reduce the lobster population and increase the economy in Maine, and found we really, really enjoyed Montana.  Problem wise it was a better than normal year, once we got the new tires and airbags to start us off.

I know I'm hearing an ugh, but I have divided this recap into 2 parts, because I just couldn't cull the pictures of our memories anymore.

So first to the nitty-gritty numbers.  We covered 11,044 miles, a bit more than normal reflecting our huge loop, the shortest leg was 17.4 miles from Grizzly Campground in West Yellowstone, MT to Henry's Lake SP in Idaho, same as last year, and our longest leg was 429.8 from Stanwood, MI to Iron Mountain, MI which took us over the Mackinaw Bridge.  We traveled 60 days and stayed in 21 different states at 59 different campgrounds, we actually repeated at several.  Campground prices were definitely higher, we averaged $44.92/night, compared with just over $42 last year.  We did splurge on waterfront awesomeness in Trenton, ME, near Acadia with our most expensive stay at $99.66 even with a weekly rate, and absolutely worth it!  Our least expensive stay was $0 for 6 nights, when we boondocked or stayed for repair.  Our next least expensive was $7.50 at Moose Creek, just south of Bozeman, MT, one of our favorite spots right on the Gallatin River.  You can always check out our route on the link to the 2018 Travel Map.  We used 2104 gallons of diesel at an average price slightly more than last year, but still quite good, $3.17, with a high in Montrose, CO of $3.70, and a low in Cartersville, GA of $2.82.  And we continue to see a poorer MPG due to the increased Bio-diesel and averaged 5.81 mpg.  As you swoon remember we have a 515hp engine pulling a 46,000# motorhome towing a 5600# truck.

As I said we started off by replacing the tires and airbags, got a new towbar, a Blue Ox Avail which we are very happy with, and new chassis batteries.  As far as troubles and travails, we had a toilet leak, a propane leak, a slide out drain hose leak, several air leak issues, a broken windshield, a finally have our floor replaced for the LAST time.  Nothing that truly stopped us although the air leak behind the dash almost did.  It was a leaky year:-)

We were able to visit and were visited by lots of friends along the way.  We met and welcomed Jason's significant other Joanne, and were also welcomed by her family when we were in Buffalo.  We were able to see several of our Florida friends along the way, were turned on to lobster BLT's, had a wonderful boat ride, great visits, an unexpected rendezvous with "on the road" friends Dave and Lingky, saw Jan's mother, Viv for her 96th birthday, saw Karen and Tom's house completed, and had several nice visits with them along the way, a very nice Thanksgiving week with our grandchildren Faith and Christian, also with Jason and Joanne, and our Kelly, all capped off with visits and dinner with close friends in Atlanta before we finally turned south for Florida.  It was a wonderful year, blessed with health and happiness.

So sit back, enjoy or endure, and I'll share the first installment of the memories in pictures of our year:-)
Harold and Jan running a new wire for our errant air pump
What an enormous help Harold is!

Scott, Harold, and I jacking up the slide for repair

Harold and I installing skid plates for our slide rollers

Harold and I replacing the slide seal that didn't last long,
and unfortunately the repair we did didn't make the season

The gang, Harvey, me, Harold, Bob, and Joe
helping me install the too long struts which Jack with
his ingenuity was able to build a tool to make it happen
Thanks Jack, and everyone!
As the winter draws nigh, Bert says, "Let's go"

Our last get-together at the "Dog"
First stop, get the bags replaced


A wonderful last minute meet with Harold and Debbie
on our way north!
Joanne and Jason come to visit in Atlanta

Visit to John and Diane's lake house

An epic evening
North Carolina and our Rod Vault finally arrives, after 10 months!

Installed and ready for action

A gorgeous NC stream

Jan working the trout

Me bringing one to the net
At Bailey's in Maine!
A wonderful visit with Bob and Harlean

Our first seafood, fried whole belly clams in Portland

And, oh yeah, lobster stew
Anticipation at one of our old haunts in NH, Newicks

Oh yes, fried clams and onion nuggets

Freeport, Harraseeket Lunch, where we think we found the best seafood stew 


LL Bean, an always stop in Freeport, never closed 
Surfs up In Kennebunkport

The Clamshack's lobster rolls, some of the very best
Yeah, back to Freeport

Had to get this amazing haddock sandwich:-)
Sailboats off Portland, ME

Amazing korean beef steamed bun in Portland

Getting settled in at Boothbay Harbor
Even in the rain, a long line at Red's in Wiscasset

And this is why, lobster rolls and fried scallops, yummy!
The view at the campground, Shore Hills in Boothbay

A pretty view on a rainy day at Five Islands
We found out this is the BEST seafood stew in Maine, maybe the world
At the Red Barn in Augusta

Enjoying with Harlean, Bob, and Scott
Thanks guys!

If you want the best, go here in Augusta!
Beautiful Boothbay Harbor

Yet another nice lunch on the dock

Our campground here in Belfast is lousy, but expensive
But the view is wonderful
Walking the beach near the campground

Now I have to interject here and I'm sad to say we didn't take any pictures, but from Belfast we drove up to visit Doug and Nancy, some other friends from Florida.  We had a wonderful visit at their lovely home with awesome views, and they absolutely spoiled us and probably ruined any future "store bought" lobster rolls forever.  They served us the most luscious, freshly made, awesome lobster BLTs.  Let me tell you.......wonderful!!!

An idyllic harbor

The view from our splurge campsite in Trenton, ME

Oh yeah, this was worth every penny!

One of the many views in Acadia
On a rainy hike in Acadia

Yet another picturesque harbor

Loving our hike around Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond
Another Jordan Pond, a favorite

Looking down on Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain, and as close as we got:-)
Our first attempt at making our own Lobster BLT's
Thanks again Doug and Nancy!

Oh yeah, they were oh so good

Can you almost taste it?

Seems around every curve is yet another gorgeous view
On to Vermont

Orvis central, where we each got new rods and reels:-)
New York's famous Ausable River, where we didn't budget enough time to fish:-(

Our campsite on Lake Ontario

Very nice

On a wonderful boat tour in Buffalo with Jan, Jason, and Joanne
Man, was it hot!
While in Buffalo we drove north to visit Harold and Debbie
This is the awesome view from their gorgeous boat!

The four of us on our amazing boat ride
What a wonderful time we had!
Thank you
We went with Jason to Niagara on the Lake to visit several wineries
and had a very enjoyable visit and even helped the Canadian
economy by buying several bottles:-)

Goodbye NY, and on to Elkhart, IN where we had planned to repair
our cracked wheel well.  We decided not to and kept on trucking

Into the Yupe over the Mackinaw Bridge
We got a chance to stop at the Thielen Meat Market in Pierz, MN
Awesome place!

Jan jokes she only gets to drive one day a year and here it is:-)

Westbound through ND into MT and
There are the Mountains!!!!
This is where I'll leave you with the western part of our trip still to come.  Hope I haven't bored you too much.  We really love this life and hope you enjoy us sharing it with you.

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