Our Year in Review

Well, we have been home several days now and are still trying to wrap our heads around the realization that the trip is over…..done…..the end.  Robin has quickly settled into her routine and has been very busy working and running errands.  I, on the other hand, have no “home routine” as we literally left home the day after my last day of work.  So, I have to admit that right now I think I am more comfortable on the road than at home!

The trip was so long and encompassed so much that trying to sum it all up is proving to be very formidable.  We have been going through our pictures and blog posts and are finding the exercise an even mix of sadness and joy.  Sad it’s over, Joyful it happened.  We know we will share our experiences for the rest of our lives, and are especially grateful we were able to share it with many of you.  This final post will largely reflect that later point.

So what did we learn?  Well, we learned we really do love each other’s company; we get a big kick out of being on-site at historical locations; history does indeed repeat itself; people in the South really are more polite than those in the North (but generally speaking, people all over are good-natured and helpful); it is generally best to rent apartments from female owners; every city has something unique to offer; we really don’t need irons and hair dryers; laundromats near college campuses are the best; we love exploring caves, caverns, battlefields, Presidential Libraries and breweries; our National Parks are absolutely spectacular; out-of-town baseball games are a must; Augusta National is more beautiful in person than it is on TV; the Cubs are apparently better in person than they are on TV; the Kentucky Derby is definitely worth attending (once is enough for us); we sure love a good meal and surely love a good half sour pickle; visiting with friends and family and the grown children of friends and family was enjoyable, entertaining, and rejuvenating; natural monuments beat man-made monuments; there is nothing like a good long walk; our cities’ infrastructures are in trouble; and of course…….we really don’t like sharing a sink.

Some stats with some stories:

Miles driven:  27,117                                                                                                                           The Range Rover provides a few seemingly random bits of information such as average speed per trip, which for our entire trip averaged around 38 mph.  Doing the math, at 38 mph we spent nearly 30 days of our journey inside the car (hence the nickname “Old Home”). Fortunately we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Old Home driving to all our destinations, and not just because we were almost always going somewhere new and exciting (although that is mostly the reason).  Our car time was interesting, fun, and productive. Robin knitted a couple of baby blanket gifts, billed countless hours of work, read several books, and researched many of our later destinations.  She also found immense joy in looking up nearly every town’s famous residents (did you know Jimmy Buffett is from Pascagoula, Mississippi?).  We had some good conversations as well as plenty of quiet time.  We stumbled across some remarkable sites such as the pristine waters of Lake Crescent along Hwy 101 in Olympic National Park,

beautiful fall foliage on Hwy 75 near Petoskey MI,

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spectacular views driving on the Million Dollar Highway (US Route 550) through the San Juan National Forest heading to Hesperus CO from Montrose CO,

even the refineries on Hwy 10 outside of New Orleans were impressive (and nasty),1037all the weird things on Hwy 90 in So. Dakota (not to mention all the Wall Drug signs),

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the amazing sight of Devils Tower off State Route 24 in Wyoming,

and the Buffalo herd grazing off Hwy 25 on our way to Estes Park, CO from Sheridan, WY

We also had some funny incidents including my “went down the wrong pipe” latte explosion while driving Hwy 464 on the way to Kitty Hawk, NC;  and our hitch hiker in Pacific Grove on the Pacific Coast Hwy:

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Gas fill-ups: 108

Wish we had more of this throughout the trip:

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Tucson AZ

Miles walked: 1,700 (4,200,000 steps, 6,700 floors climbed, 600,000 calories – fitbit)

We walked everywhere and loved every step (and went through 3 pair of shoes).  Some of our favorite hikes were in Sedona AZ, Carlsbad Caverns NM, Dupont State Recreational Forest and Chimney Rock State Park near Asheville NC, Bryce Canyon Natl Park, Arches Natl Park, and of course our walk up the Narrows in Zion’s Virgin River.

Hicking with Al and Janie in Sedona

Hiking with Al and Janie in Sedona

That's us out on some big natural arch

That’s us on a natural bridge

The long and winding road entrance into Carlsbad Cavern

Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest

Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest

Chimney Rock

View of Chimney Rock….we kept on going up and up…

The top of the Bryce trail

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View from the bottom at Bryce

On the way to Delicate Arch

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Robin in the Narrows

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This was so cool….

We also really enjoyed our city walks and had a few favorite trails for our morning walks and runs.

Forsyth Park in Savannah. Gotta love the Spanish Moss (and cute old couple). Exactly 1 mile to go around the park

Lakefront Trail, Chicago

Lakefront Trail, Chicago

Charles River Esplanade, Boston

Charles River Esplanade, Boston

Ocean Blvd in Pacific Grove

Ocean Blvd in Pacific Grove

The beach in Pismo Beach

The beach in Pismo Beach

San Diego Waterfront

San Diego Waterfront

La Jolla Cove and Waterfront

La Jolla Cove and Waterfront

States visited:  43 plus DC and Ontario, Canada.  (missed  NV, ND, OK, MN, KS)

In order to count as a “state visited” we decided we had to at least make a credit card purchase in the state (a written record of proof).  So, we purchased gas in Arkansas on our way to St. Louis from Memphis, gas in Mississippi and lunch in Alabama on our way to Destin Florida from New Orleans, lunch in Rhode Island, gas in New Hampshire and Delaware, several dinners in West Virginia, coffee in Boise Idaho, and lunch in Montana after visiting Little Bighorn. We’ll have to get to the rest on the next trip!

Cities visited, Beds slept in:  78

We spent one month in Chicago, Boston and San Diego; three weeks in Seattle, two weeks in Savannah, Washington DC, and Pacific Grove CA; ten days in NYC, nine in Orlando and La Jolla, and one week in Scottsdale and Santa Barbara.  We really loved being able to unpack our bags, park the car, and really get to know a city.  I think we will be doing more of that kind of traveling in the future.

We also had the great fortune of visiting with so many friends and family in their home towns where we were often fed, chaperoned, and sheltered.  We really appreciated their wonderful hospitality and want to thank them for meeting and taking us on amazing tours of their amazing cities.  Here are special friends and family we met along the way….

Cousin Jill took us in on our very first night.  Studio City CA

Cousin Jill took us in on our trip’s very first night. Studio City CA

Caught up with Robin's cousins Larry, Nancy, Sarah, Jonathan and Ella Wintroub

Caught up with Robin’s cousins Larry, Nancy, Sarah, Jonathan and Ella at Hoppdoddy in Scottsdale

We also had a nice dinner with Robin’s cousin Jack Lieb and his friend Jeanette at the Hotel Florence in Florence, SC (sadly forgot to take pictures)

The Jeffries not only housed us for night in Augusta GA, they gave us tickets to the opening round of the Masters!  One of our very best days....check that one off the top of our bucket list!

The Jeffries not only housed us for a night in Augusta GA, they gave us tickets to the opening round of the Masters! One of our very best days….check that one off the top of our bucket list!

Cousin Amy Ginsburg and hubby Andy Maynard  took us into their home in Durham NC

Cousin Amy Ginsburg and hubby Andy Maynard took us into their home, to a Chick Corea concert, and to all the best sites in Durham NC

Thanks Buzz and Sue Ritenberg for taking us in and getting us to the top of Kennesaw Mountain. Marietta GA

Thanks Buzz and Sue Rittenberg for taking us in and getting us to the top of Kennesaw Mountain. Marietta GA

We were treated to many meals and had a lot of great home cooking in Chicago, starting with a nice (but pictureless) Shabbat dinner at Jonah Rosenberg’s condo in Old town (assist from girlfriend Lauren):

My Aunt Corie with cousins Amy and Janet and sister Linda at the Davis Street Fishmarket

My Aunt Corie with cousins Amy, Janet and sister Linda at the Davis Street Fish Market.  Linda also had us for dinner at her beautifully remodeled condo in Chicago.

Cousins Paul and Marge Feldman at Max and Benny's

Cousins Paul and Marge Feldman at Max and Benny’s

Barry and Claudia Altshuler at their home in Barrington (thanks for the birthday cake!)

Barry and Claudia Altshuler at their home in Barrington (thanks for the birthday cake!)

Alice and Elliot Rosenberg took us to a great dinner at the Contential in Buffalo Grove

Alice and Elliott Rosenberg took us to a great dinner at The Continental in Buffalo Grove

Chuck and Rachel Rosenberg had us for dinner with Ari, Letal,and grandaughter dldke

Chuck and Rachel Rosenberg had us for dinner with Ari, Lital,and granddaughter Yuval

Al and Ruthie Pearlman treated us to golf and to BBQ at their home in Hawthorne Woods

Al and Ruthie Pearlman treated us to golf and to BBQ at their home in Hawthorn Woods

Barb and David Rosenberg at their home in Deerfield

Barb and David Rosenberg had us for dinner at their home in Deerfield

The Levays had us for Lobster tail at their home in Long Grove

Robin’s sister Debbie, Hubby Brian, with Zach, Josh and Jordyn had us for lobster tail at their home in Long Grove

Photo courtesy of Ryan

And we enjoyed a breakfast with William McKeever, a friend of Adam’s visiting Chicago from Arkansas. William got us great tickets to several baseball games. Thanks again William!

And the hospitality kept on coming post trip intermission:

Dinner with friend Ina Miller at her friend Drew Hyman's home in Boston

Dinner with friend Ina Miller at her friend Drew Hyman’s home in Boston

Chuck and Pam Ex (on the right) had us to their DC home for brunch

Chuck and Pam Ex (on the right) had us to their DC home for brunch

Courtney gave us her Upper West Side NYC apartment for several days

Courtney gave us her Upper West Side NYC apartment for several days

And joined us for dinner with Ethel Brual who works for MLB and got us tickets to a couple of games.

Hal and Barbara Levay gave us the grand NYC tour. NYC cabbies have nothing on Hal!

At The Katz Counter

Adam and Marla Gamoran had us (and Emily) over to their incredible Upper East Side apartment for a great Shabbat dinner

With Josh in his office

Robin’s cousin Josh Lieb treated us to tickets to see Jimmy Fallon

Al and Janie Murow took us in, fed us, and entertained us.  We also got to check out Daniel son's apartment

Al and Janie Murow took us in, fed us, and entertained us. We also got to check out Daniel son’s apartment

We had a great dinner and desert with March and Casey Ruback

We had a great dinner and dessert with Marcy and K.C. Ruback

We went to see Robin’s brother Mark in his office at the Omaha J

And got to visit with Julie and Rachel too

Mike and Ellen France hosted us for several days while giving us the grand tour of Portland OR

Mike and Ellen France hosted us for several days while giving us the grand tour of Portland OR

Saul and Devorah Gamoran also had for a wonderful Shabbat dinner at their home on Mercer Island, WA

Saul and Devorah Gamoran also had us for a wonderful Shabbat dinner at their home on Mercer Island, WA

Jill and Harris Smith had us for dinner at their home in Pacific Palisades

Traveling with Friends and Family

We also had the good fortune to have many close friends and family join us for parts of our trip (some planned, some by happen stance).

In-laws Mike and Kim Sheffiend met us for lunch at Harris Ranch just hours into our journey.  They gave a wonderful monogramed tote bag filled with delicious goodies

In-laws Mike and Kim Sheffield met us for lunch at Harris Ranch just hours into our journey. They gave us a wonderful monogrammed tote bag filled with delicious goodies

Al and Janie traveled with us to Rancho Mirage, Sedona, Scottsdale, and San Diego

Al and Janie Murow traveled with us to Rancho Mirage, Sedona, Scottsdale, and San Diego

Bonnie and Peter Landini met us in New Orleans and San Diego

Bonnie and Peter Landini met us in New Orleans and San Diego

IMG_2350Emily found us in Savannah, NYC, Seattle, and San Diego

Emily found us in Savannah, Boston, NYC, Seattle and San Diego

Sister Linda met us in Charleston

Sister Linda met us in Charleston

Adam and Ryan met us in Chicago

Adam and Ryan met us in Chicago

The pregnant version of cousin Stephanie Rubin extended a business trip to join us for a couple days in Boston

The pregnant version of cousin Stephanie Rubin extended a business trip to join us for a couple days in Boston

Bruce and (sorority sister) Jan Krawetz were also in Boston on business.  We met for dinner in

Bruce and (sorority sister) Jan Krawetz were also in Boston on business. We met for dinner in the North End

Friend Ina Miller also travels to Boston for work!

Friend Ina Miller also traveled to Boston for work!

We found Dave and Louise Fong in NYC and they took us to the NYSE!

We found Dave and Louise Fong in NYC and they took us to the NYSE!

Cousin Jill met us in South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado

Cousin Jill met us in South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado

Chuck and Rachel Rosenberg met us in Seattle

Chuck and Rachel Rosenberg joined us in Seattle

Restaurant meals out:  490

As you know, we really loved sampling every city’s most popular cuisine.  Afterall, we had to do something to offset the 1,700 miles we walked.  We had A LOT of incredible meals. The oysters in New Orleans, lobster in Maine, deep dish pizza in Chicago, guacamole in Austin, fish in Seattle, and corned beef sandwiches in NYC all have a special place in our stomachs.  So, who (in our opinion) has the best food? If we had to pick just one we would say Boston…….because of dishes like this:

Zuppa di Pesce (for 2) at Giacomo's in the North End

Zuppa di Pesce (for 2) at Giacomo’s in the North End

and this:

Cannolis from Modern Pastry

But the food in New Orleans was really just as good:

Fell in love with Po Boys and Muffalettas

Fell in love with Po Boys and Muffalettas…..

and Beignets from Cafe Du Monde

and the Beignets from Cafe Du Monde

Robin’s favorite meal this entire trip was a pasta dish from Bencotto in San Diego:

Fusilli with Summer Sauce from Bencotta in San Diego.  It was so good I got it the next time we eat there!

Fusilli with Summer Sauce from Bencotta in San Diego. It was so good I got it the next time we ate there!(upper dish)

Mine may have been the ribs from the Blues City Cafe on Beale Street in Memphis

And of course we both loved the Shrimp and Grits from Savannah and Charleston:

And don't forget the poached egg!

And don’t forget the poached eggs!

as well as the yummy Huevos Rancheros at the Nine Ten in La Jolla:

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We could do a whole blog post just on food……but will refrain.  Wow, I’m getting hungry!

National Parks: 17

We sure made good use of our Annual Park Pass! How about one favorite picture from each park not yet pictured?  In order of our attendance……

Carlsbad Caverns:  Already pictured.  This was our best cave tour and we will be back!

Shenandoah:  The views from Skyline Drive in this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains are truly outstanding; plus, the park is ripe with Civil War history.  Unfortunately we were in the park the wrong time of year (April) and just missed the spring blossoms. Autumn would also be a great time to visit as the park is in a deciduous forest.  We also had our worst night of the trip staying in a very rustic cabin inhabited by every imaginable insect.

View from Skyline Drive into the Shenandoah Valley

Great Smoky Mountains:  To visit the park we stayed in Gatlinburg TN.  The park was great, the town was awful.  We were expecting a quaint little sleepy mountain town nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains; instead we found a noisy amusement park atmosphere filled with haunted houses, wax museums, carnival barkers, and fast food.  Oh well, we were there to see the Smoky Mountains and were very pleased with the park hikes, drives, bears and dazzling scenery.  We even got to hike a mile of the Appalachian Trail.

Clingman's Dome

From the top of Clingman’s Dome……they really are smoky looking.

Welcome to Gatlinburg!

Mammoth Cave:  We had a really nice hike through 2 miles of the 400 mile cave system, but the best part was our very entertaining tour guide and his wonderful thick Kentucky accent.

Entering Mammoth Cave

Entering Mammoth Cave

Acadia:  We had such a good time in Bar Harbor, Maine visiting Acadia National Park. The hikes, bike rides on the carriage roads, and kayaking in Western Bay nicely complimented our lobster dinners.  Such a beautiful place!

Eagle Lake

Biking around Eagle Lake

Badlands:  We truly enjoyed touring the Badlands in South Dakota with cousin Jill.  It was a cold blustery day so we pretty much stayed in the car and did the park loop drive, but we did get out for a couple short hikes and saw some magnificent sites.

IMG_3165 Wind Cave: Sadly, due to time constraints, we were only able to take the shortest, less strenuous, tour.  Regardless, it was very cool and we saw some very rare box formations.

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Rocky Mountain:  Our very scenic hike with cousin Jill was cut a bit short by my groin injury but we did get to some very picturesque sites

Black Canyon of the Gunnison:  This little known park was our biggest pleasant surprise. WOW.  With truly stunning views and a lot of short gorgeous hikes, it is well worth the effort to get there.

Mesa Verde:  The Balcony House hike was no typical “walk in the park”.  Yikes.  Robin informed me, 3/4’s of the way up this 3 story (perched on a cliff) ladder, that she was not going to make it.  One pep talk (and near panic attack) later, we reached the top.

Arches:  We did more hiking in Arches NP than any other, and the hike to the Double O Arch rates as the scariest hike of the trip.  Robin refused to jump a very deep crevice on the extremely narrow path, so I got the picture and picked her up on the way back.  We won’t be doing that hike again!

This was Robin’s perch for about 15 minutes while she waited for me. The fall on either side is several hundred feet!

The Double O Arch

Canyon Lands:  Only got to visit one-third of this enormous park. Good reason to return.

Capitol Reef:  The park is a 75 million year old warp in the Earth’s crust.  Best part was going off-road with the Old Home. Off the main road through the canyons

Bryce and Zion:  Already pictured (pictures don’t do either park justice!).  We can’t  wait to return and hike the narrows again.

Olympic: We were so lucky to get perfect weather while visiting the Olympic Peninsula in November.  We also found our favorite B&B, Colette’s in Port Angeles.  Our hike to the Sol Duc Three-legged waterfall with all the surrounding structures covered in ice was special. 

Saguaro:   We had a very pretty drive through the Saguaro forest just East of Tucson.

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Presidential Libraries:  5

Five down, eight to go.  We really enjoyed the walks through history at the Kennedy, FDR, Hoover, Reagan and Nixon Libraries.  Viewing remarkable artifacts, hearing notable speeches and tapes, and learning about their childhoods and subsequent rise to power was so fascinating.  If you ever find yourself near one, please go!

Baseball Parks: 6, Baseball Games: 8, Football Games: 2, Golf tournaments: 4, Horse Races: 1

We really love our sports!  Although getting to the Masters and Kentucky Derby were exceptional, we also enjoyed the out-of-town baseball games, learning each teams traditions and experiencing their unique venues.  I don’t think we will ever take another trip without first checking the home team’s schedule!  And of course seeing the Cubs win game after game was dreamlike.

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Our Time with Millennials:

We had such a good time meeting with our young and energetic Millennial friends who have moved away or just happened to be visiting in our temporary locations.

Thanks to Garrett and Jessica Roland, Rebecca (Murow) and Josh Klein, Daniel Murow, Ashley Chung, Meagan Yetman, Josh Levay, Ali Rittenberg, Lexie (Rittenberg) and Nick DiLuzio, Taylor Alton, Michelle Armstrong (Meesh), Jamie and Lisa France, Jonah, Ari and Lital Rosenberg, Josh and Sarah Altshuler, Brett Shapiro, and Stephanie and Scot Rubin, for indulging us by answering all of our annoying questions!  You all have such promising futures and we couldn’t be happier for you (or your parents)!

Unexpected moments:

Of course over the span of 53 weeks a few unexpected moments or events are bound to occur.  We have already relived the spewing of latte (non-fat) all over the car interior and our long night in a room full of spiders, centipedes and crickets.  We certainly did not expect a dead car battery the day after servicing, and we had no idea you have to make reservations to visit the White House a year in advance!  Oh well, here are a few more:

The unexpected Mardi Gras parade in front of our hotel in Galveston, TX

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Civil War battlefield reenactment – we just happened to stumble upon the 149th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant festivities at Appomattox, VA.

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Getting last minute tickets to a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh

Celebrating the 4th of July on the 3rd of July in Boston courtesy of Hurricane Arthur

We came across this International Sand Sculpting contest on Revere Beach in Boston

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Being in line at a Lancaster, PA drive-through behind an Amish horse and carriage.

In line at the drive thru (or trot thru)

The unbelievably loud bridge horn that goes off every hour next to our B&B in Mystic, CT

Having horses in our backyard in Panguitch, UT

And a herd of Elk joining us for breakfast at our B&B in Estes Park, CO 

We had to drive through Green Bay, WI so we decided to stop at legendary Lambeau Field just to snap a picture.  We ran into a couple in the parking lot who informed us that they were there for the tour……..so, we decided to join them.

And of course getting stoned with Chuck Rosenberg in Seattle

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On Location:

In conclusion (of our conclusion), as mentioned above, actually being “on the spot where ………..happened” was an important goal of our tour.  Here are some pictures showing that we were on the spot where…….

Lee surrendered to Grant

Lee Surrendered to Grant

McLean House in Appomattox, VA

Cornwallis surrendered to Washington

Surrender field in Yorktown where the British laid down there arms

Surrender field in Yorktown where the British laid down their arms

Orville Wright flew the first airplane

Field in Kitty Hawk where Orville Wright first took flight

Field in Kitty Hawk where Orville Wright first took flight

Where the first shot of the Civil War was fired

Fort Sumpter, SC

Fort Sumter, SC

Where Paul Revere was captured by the British the night of his famous ride

Location where Revere was captured

Where the shot heard ’round the world was fired

North Bridge in Concord, MA

North Bridge in Concord, MA

where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were conceived

Washington's chair, Franklin sat in the front to the left

Independence Hall

where Lt. Col. George Custer met his demise

Little Big Horn, Montana

Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana  (Marker indicates where Custer’s body was recovered)

Where Pickett’s Charge took place ending the battle of Gettysburg

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and where I proposed to Robin

Laundry room at Michigan East apartments, Urbana IL

Laundry room at Michigan East apartments, Urbana IL

So………..that’s it.  Our 91st post will be our last (and longest).  Thank you all for following us, and for all the great comments, and invaluable suggestions throughout the year. Having the blog is a true treasure for us. Had it not been for your encouragement, we probably would have given up on it by the time we got to Mardi Gras!

And special thanks to Adam and Ryan.  You guys did a fantastic job of holding down the fort for us.  Not having to worry about the “real home” allowed us to sleep easy and really enjoy our long time gone.  Feel free to stay as long as you want!

Well, we have been home for over a week now and Robin has yet to unpack………..I’ll take that as a good sign!  I’m going to start planning our next trip….right now.

THE END

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6 Responses to Our Year in Review

  1. Ellen says:

    Truly, the adventure of a lifetime, love bugs.
    Mazel tov!

  2. A wonderful and amazing year! Thanks so much for sharing your adventures – I love the way you both write and will miss reading your posts! As for more travel – can’t wait to meet you on Maui!

  3. Gail Biben says:

    Welcome home! I will be at Amy and Marc’s on March 17th for a few days and hope to see you for a live report. Also, I am planning a month long trip to Italy in July and would love some advice for setting up a blog. It’s been great following your journey. Xo Grandma Gail

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. Marcy Ruback says:

    Wow, what a beautiful recap of your very special adventure! Thank you both for sharing your trip with all of your fans. I always looked forward to reading about where you were, what you had seen and of course what you had eaten! Thanks for discovering all of the wonders and history of our amazing country and letting those of us, who will never have a chance to view it all in person, a little glimpse. Thanks also for spending a bit of your precious time with us. As always, it was too short, but very memorable! Welcome home!

  5. Sue Anderson says:

    Wow, Bob, I think you have found your next profession!!! Your writing is awesome! I feel like we were on the trip with you.. I don’t know how you managed to put all of that together. You two are our heroes! It’s so nice to have you back. Robin, it is time to dust off those golf clubs. LOL

    See you soon,
    Sue and Doug

  6. susan knightly says:

    Just came across your trip blog looking for an old friend. We’re so inspired to take to the road. Again. Thanks for sharing.

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