04-02-2014 Home Run

In Rocky Point Oregon, sunny and 42F at 10AM

last days_056We are home, and “home run” can mean more than one thing.  First, the trip was a classical “Home Run”, meaning a great success.  Secondly, we “ran home” pretty darn fast once we were heading that way.  The weather was spring-like throughout the west, completely unpredictable.

I have been trying to keep up with fellow bloggers, many of them Canadians, who are also on the trek home.  Many of them are meandering, with a month or so to get north.  Others are bookin’!  I especially loved reading about Peter and Beatrix’s homecoming.  Sheesh.  Made me really appreciate coming home to Rocky Point with just gray skies, a skiff of snow here and there, but nothing to speak of on the ground.  Lucky us.

With high winds predicted all along our route from Edward’s AFB north, along highway 395, we hunkered down for a day, waiting for a break.  The morning we left, things were reasonably quiet, and we traveled north towards the back side of the Sierras without any difficulty.

last days_050We had seen several reader boards touting high wind advisories, and when I had access to the internet, I saw chain requirements on several stretches of 395.  Somehow we missed all the bad stuff, both before us near Mammoth when we got through without chains which were required later that night, and the next day when we waited long enough for the chain requirements to be lifted north of Susanville.

In spite of all the dire warnings, the trip home was a piece of cake!  Sometimes our luck is so incredible I have to trust that it is someone watching over us more than mere luck. We drove 350 miles or so the first day before spending the night at Silver City RV Resort in Minden, and completed the second leg of our route home with ease the next day. 

For me, coming home was a bit strange.  I felt completely loose, ungrounded, disconnected and weird.  I suppose that is to be expected after more than 3 months away, but it didn’t seem to bother Mo in the least.  We were both really happy to be home, but I was rather disoriented.  Today I am fine.  It took a day or so, and a hug from my daughter and granddaughter for me to come down to earth, but now everything feels normal again.

last days_052Recapping the trip, going over the numbers, helps me to put it in better perspective.  We traveled 9,179 miles/14,772 km in the MoHo, with an additional 2,500 miles of explorations in the Tracker.  Our total fuel cost was $4,179.55 an average of 46 cents per mile.  Fuel for regular gas ran the gamut from 2.99 at the lowest in New Mexico and 4.99 the highest on the California border.

We camped 84 nights (not counting our 8 days on a cruise ship) with an average cost per night of $17.39.  Our expensive campgrounds in Florida were offset by several nights boondocking and discounted National and Passport America parks.

last route homeNow it is time for doing taxes, starting on the winter yard cleanup, putting away the Christmas tree decorations, and getting ready for Easter with the family here at home.  Today I’ll fill the bird feeders for the birds that are returning.  The hot tub water is balancing nicely and tonight will be our fist soak under the stars in a long time. 

I have some amazing memories of the trip, images in my mind that stick and come to me when I am still.  I also have an untold number of images on the computer to go back to when I want to remember our travels.  There are a few days and some great experiences that I didn’t manage to write about during the trip, and those stories are waiting in the wings, but they will be backdated as catch-up posts.

Any fears we had about being gone for three months never materialized, but it was a long time to be away from home.  I am not sure we will do that again.  A month or two at a time might be enough for us in the future.  For me, the most noticeable feature about traveling for that length of time is the ability to live in the moment, not worrying much about anything except where the next stop might be, or the next hike.

entire trip mapLife does require a bit more than that when back in the “real world”.  Unlike full timers, we didn’t take much of our “real world” with us, leaving those concerns back home and putting most everything on hold.  Sure, we had the internet, and Quicken, and a printer when we needed it. 

last leg homeWe had telephones for communication, and yet when I talked to my closest friend Maryruth in California a couple of days ago, she exclaimed, “I am so glad you are home!  I missed you!”.  We both laughed about how different it felt to talk on the phone from home than it did from our “vacation” home.  Just different somehow.  My daughter said the same thing yesterday when we had lunch together in Klamath Falls.  I can’t explain it, but I am glad I am home, really home.


Day 41 August 15 Home to Rocky Point and the trip stats

Capture KlamathI took not one single photo today.  Not one.  The 278 mile trip from our COE campground at LePage on the John Day River to our home in Rocky Point is a well traveled, well known route for us. Familiar. I suppose if I were in a different mood I could find something wonderful to photograph, there is beauty everywhere if you take the time to look and to see it.  But on this day, Mo and I were what my daughter calls “barn sour”, we were heading home, fast, and not taking any time for anything except filling the MoHo in Madras.  The sky was a bit cloudy in the morning and the heat of yesterday had cooled.  The temperature was a balmy 60 degrees with a stiff breeze, and we were still in shorts.

We did take a bit of time at our favorite little funky café at the Crater Lake Junction of 138 and 97 for lunch.  We started this trip with breakfast there and decided it would be fitting to try lunch on this final day of travel.  The place is not only famous for breakfast, but has sandwiches, burgers, and real chocolate milk shakes that are renown.  It’s not Western Oregon Cool Food, it’s Eastern Oregon Comfort Food.  Great lunch!

Instead of driving the shortest route home across the beautiful Wood River Valley, we continued south toward Klamath Falls, with plans to stock up on home groceries at Fred Meyer, fill up the MoHo with gas, and dump at the free/donations accepted RV dump in Moore Park.  It added a few miles to our trip, but we wanted to get home fully stocked and ready for the next go round.

I was feeling a bit low as we traveled, remembering all the magnificent beauty we had seen over the past weeks, and the dry dusty eastern side of Oregon between Biggs and Bend wasn’t doing much to cheer me up.  However, once we began slipping into the Klamath Basin, and Klamath Lake opened out in front of me, the magic returned.  I do love this place. The skies blessed me with clarity as well, no fires adding muddiness to the horizon, and the big white puffies accentuated the gorgeous blue. There were white pelicans cruising above the lake, and the east slope of the Cascades were reflected in the water.  There is still snow on Mt McLoughlin, a very unusual sight for mid August.  It has been a cool summer in the Cascades for sure.

photo (15)As we got close to town I got all teary, and told Mo, “I have to see Melody”. She patiently negotiated the town traffic and parking lots with the MoHo and Tracker so I could run into Melody’s workplace for a serious daughter hug.  It was great for me to see her, and I think that the hardest part of the trip was the inaccessibly by telephone while we were in Canada and in many parts of Alaska. Like so many busy families, we often keep in touch by telephone when we can’t get together, and I really missed that.

Once filled and loaded with groceries and dumped, we traveled around Klamath Lake to our home.  It’s always just a little bit scary coming in after being gone for so long, especially since our home caretakers had to leave a bit before we arrived. The long driveway opened up to the cabin, the greenhouse, the gardens, the big house, all sitting there in the brilliant afternoon light, welcoming us back.

The deer still haven’t eaten the roses or the azaleas, even though I last sprayed Liquid Fence more than six weeks ago.  The lawns were still green, the greenhouse intact with tomato plants to the ceiling.  The cool summer has blessed me with a ton of green tomatoes, still, but hopefully they will ripen eventually. We spent the first afternoon just walking around a lot, unloading the necessities, and enjoying that great feeling of coming home. 

It has taken us three days to finish the cleaning up process, but that is less time than I imagined when I looked at all the dirt on all the rigs.  Everything has been washed, cleaned, rubbed, and scrubbed.  The laundry is finished, the ironing is done, the only big job left for me is the final writing of the story.  I somehow stopped when we got to Hinton and never got back to the blog.  Soon.

I did figure out the stats of our trip:

We traveled 7,243 total miles in 41 days, 1,265 miles in the US getting to and from Canada, 3,991 miles in Canada, and only 1,987 miles actually in Alaska.

The total cost of the trip was $6,168, with $4,659 spent on fuel, with an average of 5.14 per gallon since so much of our mileage was in high priced Canada.

We stayed in campgrounds, either dry camping or with hookups 30 nights, with an average cost per night of $23.  Our 11 nights boondocking brought that average down to $17 per night.

We spent very little on excursions, with the Discovery River Trip and the Columbia Glacier Trip costing just $360.

We didn’t eat out very often, and actually managed to cook from our grocery stash for a very large part of the trip.

Total cost per day including food, fuel, camping and all incidentals came to $150.44.  75 bucks per day per person is a darn good price for a fabulous, incredible, life time vacation like this one. 

I took almost 6,000 photos and managed to delete some with about 3,200 left in my Picasa albums. Maybe I’ll delete some more, who knows, but not for some time yet.  I’m having fun picking my ten favorites of each subject, just for fun.