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  1. #1

    Default Back from the Road - OK to KCMO, the long way ::Part I::

    I've been meaning to write something on here for a while. So here it goes (& I'll probably write stuff in chunks)


    18 States
    14,000 Miles
    80 Days

    I knew when we left home that this (hopefully) epic road trip would either leave us in Love with the road or Hating it.

    Well, we loved it.

    After having a farewell lunch with family and friends at a tasty little restaurant in Meers, Oklahoma, we began our journey on May 1st, 2011.

    Our first days were spent in Dallas then from there we shot all the way down to the Florida panhandle (one of about three LONG haul drives we did on the trip).
    We camped at the St. George Island State Park.
    Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. You could walk a 100 yards or more along the clean, white beaches before passing a soul. It felt like the movies… like it shouldn’t have been possible for this place to feel so secluded. We stayed here with a couple friends for maybe four or five days. And lucky for us they were avid campers as we had not done any camping in at least five or six years. Also one was going to school to become a chef and he made the most amazing meals for us and was happy to do it!

    I took this while we were fishing on the east end of the island at sunset.

    After Florida we headed to Louisiana. We stopped at the visitors center on the way in. and it had to be the friendliest one we'd ever been too. The lady gaves a ton of information (and coupons!) and sent us on our way.

    While in New Orleans, we had the most delicious beignets.

    After leaving Louisiana, we went back into Texas towards Waco. Along the way we passed through a little town and had to stop for some night shots of the car.

    {To Be Continued}

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Looking forward to more.

    Hi Pfemm, good to see you here again, welcome back !

    Certainly looking forward to reading more of your travels. Love the sunset picture, and of course the one of the Subaru !


  3. #3


    I forgot to mention above that our time in Louisiana was roughly 5-6 days and was during that time when all the flooding was heading their way. Luckily nothing bad happened just one hours worth of a really good rain in New Orleans. That would also be the only Rain we saw until we reach the Pacific Northwest.


    The friend we visited in Waco just happens to work at the zoo there and was gracious enough to give us the "backstage" tour.
    We fed giraffe, pet a rhinoceros, and had an elephant paint us a couple paintings!
    af a rhino.jpg
    af elephant painting.jpg
    pretty amazing experience.. and has Totally ruined future Normal zoo visits! :)
    After there we hit Austin and San Antonio ... we didn't stay long the Humidity in San Antonio is stifling!

    Although by the time we left San Antonio we'd already been on the road for about 20 days, this is where we felt our trip actually began.
    Up until this point we had a pretty clear cut idea of where we were going, but now no clue...
    We woke up that morning, packed up the car, pulled out the atlas and started heading west. We debated on a couple locations for the night, but we ended up at the Guadalupe National Park.
    Beautiful place. Though I can imagine that it would have been even more so if they hadn't been in a drought.
    This was our first experience with showing up at a fcfs campground. We got there about 5 or 6 pm i think and the sites were filling up FAST! we had to hurry, park, and run to one of the few spots still available. :)
    The wind was so strong, I had to lay in the tent until we could weigh it down with bags on the inside because the stakes would just pull straight out of the ground.
    The next day we went to Carlsbad Caverns and had our first experience with getting in "Free" with our National Parks Pass.
    The caverns were amazing!
    After that we hit Roswell, NM. I must say that it was pretty disappointing...
    I really expected at Least ONE alien themed restaurant!
    Oh well.. maybe some day.
    Next up, White Sands.
    White sands is Really weird. looks like snow and icey roads.
    From there we stopped at the Three Rivers Petroglyphs.
    There's a trail that takes you around and the petroglyphs are Everywhere!
    i believe the guy told us there were over 20,000.
    It's weird to think about how old these images are and that at one time people were sitting there drawing pictures on all these rocks.
    After the petroglyphs, we drove all the way to Phoenix, AZ.
    There are some really awesome scenic roads east of Phoenix. hairpin after hairpin with no guardrail!
    and those HUGE!! Cactus!
    I hadn't realized that they were as big as telephone poles!
    We ended up in Phoenix a few days before Comicon and decided to stay through the weekend so we could go. It was really fun!
    We were able to catch panels from Author Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks), Leonard NIMOY!, and Stan Lee! all in row... one after the other.
    It was awesome!

    {To Be Continued}

  4. #4


    From Phoenix we headed north to Flagstaff driving through Sedona.
    the temperature difference between Phoenix and Sedona is incredible!
    For being so close to each other and there be about a 30 degree difference.

    And the drive......... oh the drive was Gorgeous!
    Pine trees! and winding roads! cool breeze! I will be going back!
    That night after checking into a hotel we decided to try for a few attractions.
    We started with Walnut Canyon with the intention of going there first then to Meteor Crater.
    Well... we were too late. Walnut had just closed by the time we got there.
    But there was a Ranger still there that I asked about whether Meteor Crater would be open.
    He scoffed at Meteor Crater! (because it was privately owned, i'm sure)
    He told us not to waste our time and to just head north to Sunset Crater and Wupatki Monument because they didn't close.
    We followed his advice and from people I've spoken with since then... we made the right choice.
    ac Grand Canyon.jpg
    Then next day (Day 31) we made our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. walked around for a couple hours and then headed out to the North Rim because I had heard that it was completely different than the South Rim.
    And I had been fortunate enough to book a night of camping there.
    But Holy Cow is that a LONG! and mostly boring Drive!!
    and then all of a sudden Forest.... Meadows... Deer... SNOW!!! It was Cool and Green and Beautiful!
    We got checked in at the campsite and let me say... that is not roughing it at all! Convenience Store with nearly anything you need. flushing toilets, showers, wifi! lol...

    So the PLAN was to set up camp, cook dinner, than go on a quick hike before sunset.

    Well... we made it through setting up. and almost all the way through cooking dinner before an unfortunate turn of events.

    The ingredients:
    a stubborn package of hotdogs
    a Dull pocket knife
    a Really sharp new small kitchen knife with a sheath
    good intentions

    So Steve, my husband, is trying to open the hotdogs and watching him struggle with his dull knife.. I offer to get the new knife we just acquired.
    When I bring him the knife we realize that the sheath is zip-tied on.
    He proceeds to use the dull knife to cut the zip-tie off...
    The zip-tie pops and pocket knife continues on into his hand!
    Stabbing his left hand in the webbing between his thumb and index finger. He immediately dropped everything and applied pressure.
    He said he stabbed himself good and sent me to get the first aid kit.
    By this time it's dark and fumbling through the kit we finally get him cleaned up and patched.
    It's pretty bad. it's a hole maybe a bit over an eighth of an inch deep.

    So we forgo the hike... and just go to sleep.
    The next day, he started to freak out a little bit so we packed up everything and headed to the emergency building we saw coming into the park.
    They were pretty much just a fire station and recommended that we go to the hospital... Nearest one... Utah. over an hour away.
    We initially agreed. but after driving for about 20 minutes we pulled over... looked at it again and decided we could take care of it.
    It's not the first puncture wound Steve has had... he's accident prone :)
    So we felt equipped to handle it without an emergency room visit.
    We drove on to Chinle. Never did see the Grand Canyon from the North side.... guess we'll have to go back :)
    We stayed at the lodge there and visited Canyon de Chelly and Four Corners Monument the next morning before heading to Moab.
    Canyon de Chelly was interesting but Four Corners... I did not like. I don't know what I expected but that wasn't it ... oh well.

    I must say that Moab was a pleasant surprise.
    I'd never heard anything about it and we stayed at a motel there the first night so we could search for some near by campgrounds.
    We found one. King's Bottom, i think, it was called. right next to the Colorado River. primitive. but nice.
    While in Moab, we drove around and hiked Arches National Park.
    I think I took this at the Double arch... when there was a ring around the sun.
    Even though the temperature wasn't that hot... the lack of clouds and the sun Beating you down really takes it out of you.
    So the next day we decided to check out the La Sal mountains.
    We drove as far as we could on a couple of the mountain passes but never made it more than halfway before turning around because the snow was so high!
    So strange to touch snow and ice in June!

  5. #5


    One of the nights camping, we goofed off taking pictures.
    car night.jpg

    By Day 36, we were REALLY tired of the heat so we packed up and drove till we saw pine trees. We wound up in the mountains in the middle of Utah.. south of Capitol Reef.
    We stopped at a Rest stop that had maps of several campgrounds up the road.
    I picked the one with the highest elevation. 8,600ft. because I thought it would be the coolest temperature wise.
    Oak Creek.
    There was one spot right next to a mountain stream and a little walking bridge built by an old ranger that led to an area big enough for several tents. We didnt' set up there though. opting to be closer to the car and table.
    After setting up, we spoke with the couple running the visitors center nearby and they told us to check out a slot canyon not too far away and they gave us a route to hike the next day if we wanted. 7 miles!
    We began having a camping routine that went like this: paint watercolor postcards, play dominoes, read.
    That night while playing dominoes a car drove down to our camp site (all the sites were full at this point) and the gentleman said he had heard there was a stream you could camp by around here. Since the grounds were full, we offered him that spot across the bridge at our site. He accepted.
    After he set up ... turns out he was about become a doctor and had just finished his residency. He'd been volunteering at the hospital near Chinle. He ended up looking at Steve's hand the next morning and told us it looked good and to keep up our care and warning signs to watch out for. very serendipitous :D
    The next day we went on that 7 mile hike Up the mountain! PHEW!
    This is where we stopped for lunch.

    While on this hike we reached the point where we started heading back down the mountain. we were in a meadow and I saw this medium sized brown thing running across the clearing maybe 30 yrds or so... I say... "Look! A Beaver!?" Steve says "that's not a beaver... what would it be doing on the mountain?" I reply,"otter?" haha
    Then it hopped on top of this big rock... sat down on it's hind legs... looked around and then hopped off running into the trees... at which point we realized... that was a baby Bear! with it's nubby tail.
    It looked so Fluffy!
    the scary part was that our path led down to where it came from and it ran towards where we had just been... Makes me think that we just skirted Mama Bear.
    I count myself lucky that we didnt' see her!

    After returning from our hike, we made dinner.
    Now I should tell you that prior to leaving for this trip I had the ill-advised idea that a good way to save money on the road was to create a bunch of dehydrated meals. Well... this night was the WORST of the Worst! Steve couldn't even stomach it and he eats ANYTHING! Oy! and i finally breakdown and confess that I hated all of the meals and he agrees that some are pretty bad. So we go through all of it and keep the more palatable ones...

    The next morning we woke up to a couple life lessons.

    #1 We are not linking up our sleeping bags EVER again! somehow the sleeping bags had flipped completely around so I was on his side which is WAY too big for me and He was squished on my side and we were both FREEZING because that night got down to 20 degrees!

    #2 Don't leave the trunk open with your food inside because a squirrel will find it and ravage it. ripping...tasting... pooping... repeat.

    OH Darn... ... you can imagine I was Terribly upset about the loss :P

    {To Be Continued}

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Cool report.

    Hi Pfemm.

    Really enjoying the report and the great photo's.

    #2 Don't leave the trunk open with your food inside because a squirrel will find it and ravage it. ripping...tasting... pooping... repeat.
    ....Or you will wake up with "Mama bear" alongside you and a wrecked vehicle !!!

    OH Darn... ... you can imagine I was Terribly upset about the loss
    Glad that you have now recovered. LOL.

    Oh, and life lesson number 3. You almost always cut yourself when using a blunt knife, not a sharp one. ;-)

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