Travel Thoughts By Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together….Cross Country!
I have written about several main features of the cross country motor home trip I took with my brother, sister-in-law, and her sister in the fall of 2016. I thought I might use this issue of “Travel Thoughts By Kim” to pull it all together and talk about how we did it.
Our mother passed in April 2016 – to say it was a very difficult year for us is a huge understatement. We needed a distraction to just get away and for the three of us to spend time together. Kevin and Lylace invested in a motor home earlier in the year and tried a few times to talk me into going on little trips with them. But, I’m not a “camper”. And, then, they mentioned going on a 15-20 day trip through the mid-west that I thought sounded interesting and a good way for us to reboot our lives after so much sadness. So…..we started planning…..and 15-20 days turned into 30+ days. We dubbed it our “Most Excellent Adventure”….and, it truly was!
I’m a “planner”…..yeah, I’ve gotten more spontaneous in recent years, but my brother’s suggestion that we just “see where the road takes us” was a bit unsettling for me. So, we compromised. We sat down and decided on a couple major points to work around, a list of things we each hoped to get to see or do, and mapped out a rough….very rough….route to accomplish it all. And, from there, we just “went where the road took us”!
What we knew: We were stopping for a couple days in Wisconsin to pick up Lylace’s sister, Donna, we all wanted to spend some quality time in South Dakota, and we had to spend a week in Louisiana visiting with Lylace’s son and his family. The only time constraint we had was getting to the only pre-booked campground in South Dakota. Other than that, we were flexible and able to change plans as we went. Each morning, we looked ahead and decided how far we wanted to go – general rule of thumb was to get to the next campsite in time to set up before it got too dark, what we wanted to see/do within that distance, and about mid-day, we searched for a campground to call and book for that night. We mostly looked for KOA’s, but also stayed at some Good Sam’s and a Jellystone park. Some were better than others, but for the most part, had really good experiences with all the parks we chose along the way.
We started out with just me, Kevin, Lylace, and their dog, Kahlua. We made stops on the way to Wisconsin at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – including the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace. When we got to Wisconsin, we spent a couple days visiting family and seeing the sights – remember my article on the cranberry bogs?
Donna joined us and we headed out for the main portion of the trip. First stop was Lake Itasca, Minnesota to see the head waters of the Mighty Mississippi River – the only place where you can actually walk across the river. This also resulted in us seeing the Mississippi from start to finish, as we also visited the Mississippi Delta when we got to Louisiana and several points in between.
We spent a week in South Dakota seeing The Badlands, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, and so much more. If you ever get the chance to go to South Dakota, GO!!! What an awesome state. I’ve been there twice, now, and would jump at the chance to go again.
We, then, headed to Louisiana with lots of states and stops in between. We spent about a week in Louisiana visiting family, where I broke off from the group and took a side trip to Pensacola, FL to visit a friend. I also spent time with another friend in New Orleans. Other friends we visited along the way were in Minnesota. After Louisiana, we headed back to Wisconsin to drop Donna off and then home….seeing more states as we took a different path up north and east.
While we were planning the trip, I was nervous about being cooped up in a motor home with three other adults and a dog for so long….remember my comment about not being a “camper”? So, I told myself that if at any time I felt I’d had enough, I could always find the nearest airport and fly home…..I never even considered that option, again! It was one of my best memories and times with my brother and his wife at a time when we all needed it so very much. I cherish that trip and am happy for each and every one of the 34 days, over 6000 miles, and 21 states we experienced together.
Visit My Most Excellent Adventure blog post for all the statistics, state welcome signs, and key points of interest we visited here!
For all the individual blog posts with tons more details and photos, visit my blog and type in “MEA” in the search box – there are 10 posts covering each aspect of the trip here!