Now that we are done with our cross country trip, here is a review to sum it all up.
We went through the following 36 states with some of the cities we explored in parentheses:
Ohio (Columbus, Cleveland)
Michigan (Frankenmuth, Mackinac, Upper Peninsula)
Wisconsin (Green Bay)
Minnesota (St. Paul, Minneapolis)
North Dakota (Fargo, Bismarck)
California (San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles, San Diego)
Nevada (Reno, Las Vegas)
Utah (Moab, Salt Lake City)
New Mexico (Albuquerque, Roswell)
Texas (San Antonio, Houston, Galveston)
Louisiana (New Orleans)
Florida (Tampa, Keys, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, St. Augustine)
Georgia (Brunswick, Savannah)
South Carolina (Hilton Head)
Tennessee (Nashville, Memphis)
Arkansas (Little Rock)
Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
Iowa (Des Moines)
Missouri (Kansas City, St. Louis)
We went to 28 national parks including:
Cuyahoga Valley (OH)
Wind Cave (SD)
Grand Tetons (WY)
North Cascades (WA)
Mount Rainier (WA)
Crater Lake (OR)
Kings Canyon (CA)
Joshua Tree (CA)
Death Valley (CA)
Grand Canyon (AR)
Petrified Forest (AR)
Mesa Verde (CO)
Capitol Reef (UT)
Bryce Canyons (UT)
Carlsbad Caverns (NM)
Guadeloupe Mountains (TX)
Big Bend (TX)
The list of national parks does include the national monuments we went to such as Alcatraz, Four Corners, or Mount Rushmore. It also does not include the state parks we went to such as Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle, South Dakota’s Custer State Park, or Nevada’s Valley of Fire.
I drove Ace a total of 17,000 miles and the car a total of 12,000 miles. In that time, we had zero road accidents and I got one speeding ticket for going 45 in a 35 in Pahrump, Nevada. The lowest price of gas we got was $1.24/gallon in Oklahoma City and the highest price of gas we saw was $6.00/gallon in Big Sur on the coast of California. In that 8 months, I got 4 flat tires; 3 of those were on the car and blew out while I was driving, the 4th was a slow leak on Ace and was replaced before anything bad happened. I am now the proud of owner of knowledge on how to change a tire. We had 0, ZERO!!! human emergency room visits! No broken bones, no stitches, no illness! We aquired one kitten, Midnight, who used our allotment of hospital fun, going 3 times.
We tried a bunch of new-to-us foods such as bison, elk, huckleberries, puffy tacos, gumbo, muffaletta, beignets, Navajo tacos, peach cobbler, fried green tomatoes, and a whole bunch of other good stuff. We also saw many new-to-us animals that we’ve never seen in the wild including bison, elk, grizzly bears, wolves, wild horses, wild donkeys, boar, alligators, sea lions, and even wild zebras (they’re a thing in California, who knew?!) We even tried out new weather on the road with 2 tornados, one in San Antonio and the other in Nashville.
We met lots of great people (shout out to Charles and Laura, Mitze and Howard, Bob and Danna, and Roger) and so many more who really touched our lives. We also met a couple less respectable people, like the employee at Cafe Du Monde who stole Jazmine’s new phone and the cop in Pahrump who is the kind of guy who gives police a bad name.
We stuffed a life time of memories into 8 amazing months. I’m eternally grateful to have had this experience and even more grateful that my kids could have this experience.
*pic- sunset over the Pacific Ocean off the Washington coast