Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Some Thoughts on Our Trip Cross-country

 What we were not surprised at: We love being on the road. Scott and I get along great in close quarters, in this case even closer quarters than our boat. Our experience in the past was repeated in this trip - people everywhere were friendly and helpful. The Southwest area of the country is endlessly fascinating to us Northeastern people. We have some wonderful friends and family across the country. Segregation is alive and obvious in most of our country. Boy that was sad. Our experience on this trip would not be the same if we were an interracial or a black couple. We did meet some of both and a few black families but the RV world is white in general and the communities we visited were the same. Big exceptions we noticed, large cities in the south, southwest, and San Diego.

Here's Baby and Junior just before we left Vermont 12/20/20 after 3 feet of snow.

 What we were surprised at: It is cold in the southern states of our country in the winter! We had snow in Texas and Arizona. We never did take out the summer clothes we'd packed in the truck, never used the air conditioning, and always needed at least one of the two comforters. Trains, most at least a mile long, one after another, paralleled both of our routes going west and then east. Death Valley is beautiful and the south rim of the Grand Canyon is not a commercial strip mall (OK you probably knew that but I had formed prejudiced opinions). Pretty good wine is made in states like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and North Carolina, with the notable exception of fruit wines. Tap water in most of the country might be safe but it tastes terrible. We ended up buying gallons of "spring" water to drink. Getting gas took planning - first the price, second how to enter and leave the station safely with a trailer behind us. This is embarrassing, but I had never shopped at Walmart before this trip (the evil empire) but we had a strong recommendation from friends that the PU outside was easy and the website friendly (and they are all over the south). We ended up shopping there almost exclusively before we had both vaccines. Then we switched to Whole Foods (I know it's Whole Paycheck) and stores like it, if available. Parking at Walmart was always easy and NOT at Whole Foods. 

Set up for dinner at the Jesse Owens Museum and Park in Alabama

What was different this year: Due to COVID, very few museums were open but the ones we visited later in the trip (only allowed a limited number of people and everyone wore masks) were great. We learned a lot at those out west, like the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Pretty much all the Visitor Information Centers, and often the bathrooms at the National and State Parks were closed. We look forward to another trip where we are able to enjoy all the lovely places we saw more fully. There were surprisingly excellent restaurants which we were able to enjoy outdoors, usually eating early for lunch or dinner (even in cold weather, dressed warmly as they had fancy heaters of all kinds). After we had the vaccines we did eat inside occasionally but aside from a few exceptions, they were distanced tables and everyone wore masks, until they were eating if customers. The few exceptions were where no one wore masks but the restaurant was sparsely populated (very rural spots) and attached to our RV site - like the breakfasts at the Terlingua Ranch in Texas. 

Taken on May 19th at the end of our trip, the same driveway as above although pointed in a different direction and in much warmer weather.

We have pretty much decided to keep Baby and Junior (our trailer & truck). It was a long debate but since we plan to sell Scott Free next spring when we bring it back to the U.S., we will be using it the following winter. And we have already planned a series of short trips with them these next couple of months. Now we have to figure out a place to store the trailer for next winter safely. You can be sure we'll be heading back across the south of the country again!

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