Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Travel Year in Review

As my camper sits parked and winterized in the driveway waiting for the new year, its a good time to reflect back on my travels over the past year.  2013 was another year that I was able to continue living my dreams (and some nightmares).  I was fortunate to continue traveling even though my health was a challenge for much of the year.  At times, it would have been easy to just stay home, but I was determined to not give in to those thoughts and let a disease deter me from getting out and living life.    

Taking a break at Gulf Islands National Seashore in March

My Roadtrek Class B RV helped make this possible.  I had a bathroom wherever I went and a bed a few feet away when I needed to rest.   I paced myself, sat when I needed, slept late, and quit early.  I took extra days to get places.  I wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere and didn’t try to do things I knew I couldn’t.  Also, my wife accompanied me on several trips and offered to come rescue me if I found myself needing help and unable to continue.

At times, I was running on fumes, but here’s a summary of what I was able to do;

·         Took 8 trips visiting 19 states.
·         Spent 116 days away from home, 82 of which were spent camping in my Roadtrek van.
·         Drove over 18,000 miles traveling by RV and boat.
·         Drove across the Mississippi River and up to the top the Rocky Mountains.
·         Visited 13 National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and/or Historic Sites.
·         Visited 11 State Parks.
·         Visited 4 Presidential Libraries.

I didn’t do a lot of hiking or biking, but did spend time sitting on some great beaches.  Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota and Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island were the best.  Watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico on St. Josephs Peninsula was also pretty spectacular.

Sitting on the beach in January instead of shoveling snow back home

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico in March

On the Trail Ridge Road in June
I got easily winded walking up a flight of stairs, but the views from the Trail Ridge Road in Rock Mountain National Park took my breath away.  The 12,000 ft. elevation may have also had something to do with the shortness of breath.
I saw lots of wildlife and took lots of pictures.  There were grizzly bears, buffalo, coyotes, elk, deer, eagles, loons, hawks, egrets, dolphins, manatees, and turkeys.  Watching the manatees in Blue Spring State Park in Florida was pretty spectacular. 

With the manatees at Blue Spring State Park in February
I did my first “freegan” camping spending several nights boon docking at Walmarts, Truck Stops, Casinos, and Cracker Barrels.  I never had a problem at any of these places.  I always asked permission and was always welcomed.  The web site OvernightRVparking.com was a great find that paid for itself with one overnight stay.

Travel wise I had a fulfilling year. I explored more places on the east coast, spent the winter rambling around Florida, and took 35 days traveling out west in the Rockies. I did more than I thought I would be able to do and I’m glad I pushed myself to get out there and go places.
Boon docking at a Pilot truck stop in Missouri in June
The year also ended on a high note.  After battling progressively worsening IBD symptoms for the past 3 years, I found that one of the mainstream drugs I was taking was actually making things worse.  I was the victim of a rare side effect that only affects 1-3% of the people who take it. Thanks to the specialist who made the recommendation, my symptoms are almost gone and I’m getting back to normal.  Second and third opinions are worth every penny.

I have much to be thankful for. I got my health back, have a great supportive family, have great doctors helping me, and was able to travel and live my dreams.

2013 was a great year and I hope 2014 is even better. 

1 comment:

  1. thank you for sharing, I hope you have many wonder years of travel. Happy Thanksgiving