The completed trip

The completed trip
49 states, 10 provinces and a territory

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Final Statistics

10,000+ hits on our blog site

266 days on the road

6 times across the continent

10 ferry trips - the longest was 41 hours on the Alaska Marine Highway

Longest Bridge in the world - New Orleans (toll bridge)

Mid points -
     - BC - Vanderhoof
     - North America - somewhere in North Dakota
     - United States    - somewhere in Kansas

26 time zone changes

113 different campsites (not including relatives and friends)

Average cost per night 29.72

Starting Mileage     197,157
Ending  Mileage     267,891

Total                        70,734 kilometres

Fuel -
Cost of diesel    $12,381.48
Fuel Stops                 164
Total litres           12,092.55

Most expensive fuel stops  -
          Dease Lake (BC)           $1.459
          St Anthony (Nfld)          $1.371
          Moses Lake (Wash)            $4.259
          All of California approx      $4.359
          Needles (Cal)                      $5.299

8 oil changes

8 new trailer tires, 2 blowouts, 1 flat
4 truck tires (not bought yet)

15,992 Pictures - About 250 posted on the blog - Check for more pictures - I will be updating the site with more pictures as I process them, they will also be on my RedBubble site if you are interested in purchasing any images.

4 Air & Space Museums

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Done, home, unpacking


That was a blast.  In just over a year we covered 49 states, 10 provinces and a territory.  We visited relatives and friends and made new friends.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hang 'em High

Today I went to the Evergreen Air & Space Museum.  This is where the Spruce Goose is now housed. The building was built specifically to hold the Spruce Goose..  They have so much that they have now split the displays into two buildings.  

Here is a helicopter (hanging from the ceiling) carrying one of the space modules.

This is DC3.

A P38 Lightning with the wing of the Spruce Goose in the background.

They have an SR71 there with several displays and drones that were developed at the same time.  This one of the cameras it would carry.  The negatives were 9"X9".

This is the SR71 from above.  The SR71 is still the fastest jet ever made and holds many speed records - not bad for something that was designed in the late 1950's.

This is a picture of the Spirit of St Louis (flown by Charles Linberg).  It had no front window so he had to look through a periscope to see where he was going.  The periscope is the little steel square in the middle of the picture.  When he was landing the plane he had to stick his head out the window.

Here is a picture of the tail of the Spruce Goose.  It is 80 feet high - so those are real people walking underneath it not Lego people.

This is a panorama of 6 shots of the Spruce Goose.  The wings are so deep (high?) that a person who is 6 feet tall can walk from the hull / fuselage inside the wing to the furthest engine.

 From the SR71 to a copy of the Wright Brothers Flyer (hanging from the ceiling) and the beginning of flight.

On my way home I passed the local drag strip and there was a race going on so I stopped by to get some pictures.

One guy was racing his Dodge Diesel.

The other day as we were leaving Bend we were treated to wonderful views of the local mountains - The Sisters.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shopping !!!

When we left this morning we were almost at 4,000 feet.  As we drove through the mountains we climbed to 5,000 feet and now we are down at less than 200.

The drive today was very pretty.  Lots of trees and mountains.  There is a town called Sisters that is near the Sisters mountains.  While the Sisters are not as pretty as the Seven Sisters in BC, they are definitely a great view.  That is a little town that will be interesting to go back to one day.

At one point the rocks along the side of the road started to look very volcanic.  We were just musing about it, when the next road sign was called "Lava road".  Okay, definitely volcanic.

We stopped in Woodburn tonight (named after a slash burn got out of control).  We have stayed at this RV site before in January when we travelled with Don.  We went over to the outlet mall and purchased James' birthday present.  Then spent a little more money.

Tomorrow Paul is planning on going to McMinnville to see the air museum again.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Golf Carts and Camping?

One of the things we have seen over the year that we haven't in the past were golf carts. In some of the campgrounds most of the campers had their own carts. Some of them were modified, lifted and looked like Stephan's truck. Some of them had wheels and tires worth more than the ones on my truck and they had NASCAR racing numbers and decals. Of course the campground will rent you one for $70 a day if you don't have one, but it would be a plain Jane model. In Cedar Key, Florida the police department had one, it had POLICE across the top of the windshield. In Cedar Key the pace was really slow.

We saw carts mostly in the south and east. It could be the heat that drives people to use them more there. When it is over 40 degrees it is more fun to drive a cart down to the pool or lake than it is walk. The carts are trailered behind motorhomes, put in the beds of pick-ups or stored at the campground.

The other thing we noticed over the last year was working people living in campgrounds. In Texas one campground only had a couple of spots left for "campers" and the rest were taken up by people working in the oil industry.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oregon has 2 time zones

Who knew?  We stayed in the one county in Oregon that is in Mountain Time Zone.  So I did not get back to Pacific Time until today.

We drove west on Highway 20.  We saw a road runner and (appropriately) a coyote.  We also saw some deer and lots of cows.  The first part of the road from Vale to Burns was fascinating as we drove around and over mountains.  Sort of like the BC north but without any trees.  It was desert mountains.  From Burns to Bend it is high desert - this part of the drive was pretty boring.  Lots of sagebrush and not much else.  Until we got closer to Bend and now we can see the peaks of some coast mountains with snow.  Woohoo, almost back to the coast.

We are here today and tomorrow.  Then shopping near Portland for a couple of days, then the plan is to be home Monday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bye Idaho

Yesterday was a rest day, Paul rested and slept.  Today we move back to the Pacific Time Zone.

Monday, July 16, 2012

For Few Dollars ...Less

One of the nice things about being down here is there is a great selection of almost everything.  There was a variety of outdoor clothing at Cabela's at a good price.  One of the things I found was a waterproof breathable jacket for $30.  

Yesterday we drove through Buford Wyoming - here is the sign announcing the town.

This morning when I was out looking for horses - before I saw any I took some pictures of Pilot Bluff.

After driving along the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop and only seeing horse dung I figured Barry had beaten me to the area and planted the dung.  However, after driving on a very rough dirt / rock road for about an hour I saw a couple horses in the distance and then I came to a family feeding along side the road.


We have moved up to Declo in southern Idaho.  The weather has cooled off today (it was 30+ earlier) and we will be here for a couple of days.  We had planned on staying at the hot springs in Garland Utah but they forgot to tell us that the pool was closed for reno's so we drove north for another couple of hours.  Tomorrow is a day off as I have driven over 2700k in the last 6 days and over 5000k this month.

A Fist Full Of Dollars

We drove yesterday to Rock Springs. Normally a tank of fuel will last us all day but yesterday because of the hills and wind we went through nearly a tank and a half with a corresponding outflow of cash. We went through the town of Buford with a population of 1 and an elevation of 8600 feet. The store was closed, maybe he was out for coffee.

This post could also have been called "They Shoot Horses Don't They". This morning I went out and got some pictures of the local wildlife. They have wild horses here and I actually got some pictues.

We will be moving to Utah in a couple of hours. The temperature this morning was the coolest we have seen in quite a while 12 degrees. Everyone is feeling more energenic with the cooler temps.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Today was a good day.  I wanted to stay here in Sidney because Colorado is only about 10 miles south of here and I could cover 2 states quite easily.  The fact that Cabela's is a stones throw from the campground had no effect on my decision.  I drove down to Colorado looking for barns and other things to take pictures of.  I found a number of barns and old farmsteads both in Colorado and Nebraska.  

So the good part - the first picture is our map - now filled in except for northern Canada.  That will be another trip.  The other good part is one of the barns from today.

The bad part is the smoke from the fires in Colorado.  The blue sky is a dirty blue not the really nice blue we are used to seeing in this area.

Now for the ugly part - here is a picture of the warnings on the campground door office.

Friday, July 13, 2012

High Plains Drifters

We started the day in Lincoln Nebraska and drove west and ended up in the high plains.  Even though there were only a couple of  noticeable hills we started at 1,200 feet and ended up at 4,100 feet.  The drive was very un-prairie like.  There are lots of corn fields with trees and lakes.  The truck was working hard today partly because of the long long hills but also because of the heat.  It was over 35 degrees again today.  Kody got to ride in the truck again because in the canopy it was over 42.

We were going to stay east of here but when we got to the campsite there was very little in the area and the campsite was a long way from anything.  I am going to go barn hunting tomorrow and Kathie and James may want to walk somewhere.

We ended up in Sidney Nebraska.  We are at the Cabela's Campground.  Cabela's is a large outdoor store (think the CostCo of outdoor stores).  They sell clothing, camping supplies, guns, fishing equipment and boats.  They have an indoor boat show room.  We have visited a number of their stores and a few of the have campgrounds.  The campground here is the only one in town.   The campground is also between the local Cabela's and the head offices.

After dinner the sun was going down so I took a couple of pictures. 

We are here for a couple of days and then we will head to Oregon.

Back in Sidney

We arrived in Sidney today.  Nope, not Sidney, BC.  Not even Sidney, Nova Scotia, but Sidney Nebraska.  Apparently there are also Sidney's in Arkansas, Iowa, illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New York, Ohio, and Texas.

The one in Nebraska has a Cabela's campground right at the Cabela's store.  So, I'm thinking that, when Paul goes out to take pictures tomorrow, I may have to go shopping.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Great visit

Today we stayed around Lincoln so that I could visit with Cynthia, one of my co-supervisors for my M.Ed.  Although I met her many times virtually over the course of my studies (she was also an instructor in one of my courses), it was neat to meet face-to-face.

Her two Corgi's could smell Kody and decided that I was someone who would scratch them and throw the ball.

We had a great visit!!  It was so much fun to sit and talk to her in person and our conversation ranged over many topics.  

After the visit, back at the campsite, we just lazed about and visited with the RV neighbours who are from California - too hot to do anything else (up to 35 today).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Hunting For Barns & Pony Express

Today was spent hunting out more barns.  I already have pictures from Nebraska and Kansas but I wanted more.  So I went south from our campsite in Lincoln Nebraska and took some smaller highways and gravel roads and ended up in Kansas.  I found a few barns along the way. 

The first two pictures are from Kansas.

This one I got in Nebraska a couple of hundred metres north of the Kansas border.

 This is what is left of an old windmill at an abandoned homestead.


To get to Kansas I had to tell Ouija (Sacagawea / WeeGee) our Garmin GPS an approximate area to head to.  I chose Marysville Kansas which was just across the border.  When I got there there were signs all over the city pointing to the original Pony Express barn.  In addition, one the highways was part of the original Lewis and Clark Trail (Sacagawea was a guide for Lewis and Clark).

This is a plaque from the side of the Pony Express Barn.

Lincoln Nebraska

Yesterday we moved on to Lincoln Nebraska.

We originally had a place picked out, but it turned out not what we wanted, so we moved on. The place we are staying is close to the highway, so there is a bit more noise than we have been used to, but it is handy to everything in Lincoln.

Tomorrow I am meeting my co-supervisor Cynthia. I met Terry, the other supervisor, at the RIDES, and now I get to meet Cynthia too.

Paul is going out to get more barn pics today. But, other than that, a quiet day is planned.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Barn Plus

I had some time today to look for more barns.  Most of the barns I found were in yards with freshly cut grass and new vehicles parked near by.  One looked particularly interesting and I was slowing the truck down to get a better look when a large dog came running toward the truck, I kept going.

I found this one after about an hour driving down country and gravel roads. 

We are also in an area where there are a lot of remnants of the "old west" days.  We have seen a few covered wagons along the way.

Since I was in Waukee I spent some time looking for Hans Solo driving his 55 Chev but he was no where to be found.

Shade in Waukee

We arrived in Waukee, just outside of Des Moines yesterday. Last night it actually got down to 18 degrees. This is the coolest we have been since Manitoba.

The campsite has plenty of shade and we are staying here an extra day before moving on (mostly because I booked the wrong day at the next place).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cooling Off

Today was our hottest day yet and just as I was cooking dinner the temperature started to drop and by the time dinner was over it was down to 31 (an 8+ degree drop).  During the 1+ hour we had some wind, lightning and rain, but it all went away and left us with cooler temperatures. 

I went on another search for barns today and found a couple.

When we were in Maryland in October we saw a lot of barns that were cantilevered, here the regional difference seems to be these big cupolas on the roof.  

 We are moving on tomorrow heading west.  Soon we will have to pick a route home.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Moving West

We moved across Illinois today and we are now just east of Davenport Iowa.

The campground has lots of room but they are cramming the campers in tight.  The group that is currently unloading beside us looks like a soccer team.  There are 12+ men many of whom did not know how to set up the tents.  It is now dark and they only have one tent set set up.  The group reminds me of camping with the slo-pitch teams.  We are scheduled to stay here tomorrow but we may be moving.

It was hot again today so Kody road in the truck with us.  He and Abby used to fight in the cab of the truck so we put them in the bed of the truck.  Kody was happy riding there so we just let him ride there.  Today the temperature was 42 in the canopy so we were glad he was in the truck with us.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Red Tails

The theatre semi was in the July 4th parade in Angola and their intention was to come back to the airport and set but it was over 37 degrees so they put it off until the evening. When I went over at 8 they were just starting to set up, I offered to help but they have a routine that does not need a third person. They did invite me back to see the movie once they set up.

They were nearly finished at 10 and setup the movie for me to watch. I was the only one in the theatre - "sit where you want". I got to watch the 1/2 hour documentary. At the end I was given some Red Tails dog tags and some brochures. What a blast.

We moved west today to eastern Illinios and to yet another time zone. Our GPS (Weegee) took us down some country roads today. We were trying to avoid the traffic of Chicago and the main roads all go towards there. When we go to our choosen campground there was no one around and so it was on to the next one.

It is like the worlds biggest sauna here. The temperature is close to 40 every day. It is 26 when we get up and 30 by 10:00. We are travelling short days right now, around 3 hours to lessen the effect of the heat.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hot Hot Hot

Today was hot.  So, we just stayed around the trailer.

We did go down to the beach at Hogback Lake here at the campsite and go for a swim to cool off.  That was nice.  We took Kody down to the water twice as well.  The second time, as soon as he saw the water he was pulling to get in.

The AC was all all night and still in the morning it was warm.  We kept the AC going all day.  Some of the day we sat outside in the lawn chairs in the shade.  Then it would get too hot and we would sit in the trailer again for a while.

Tomorrow we are moving on, starting our way home.  It will take us a while.  Not only because we are not in a hurry, but also because we don't want to travel too far each day until it gets a little cooler.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Saving The Best For Last

 Today was another barn hunting day.  Over the last year (and 1 day) we have traveled through 10 provinces, a territory and 49 states.  During that time I have taken pictures of old barns and houses in each of those provinces or states.  Today I completed the task of getting pictures of North America's old barns and farm houses.

The last state was Ohio and this barn was perfect.  It was still standing but barely there.  There are actually 2 barns here.  You can see the roof of the second one that has collapsed.  I was going to try to get a closer shot but there was a No Trespassing sign.  The barns were so good and it was my last state so I thought about trying to get closer anyway.  I thought the house at the front was abandoned.  Then a large paw stretched out through the railings of the porch.  I put the telephoto on and took the pictures.

Ohio Barn

 Across the street from that one there was another farm that had been abandoned.  There had been a fire in the farm house and the rest of the building had been left to rot.  There were two large barns and some other out building but I like this one the best.

Another Ohio Barn

On my way back I found some other barns in Indiana.  This one is just starting to lean.

Indiana Barn

Now I have to start working on my book with all of the images.

This is the theatre truck that I wrote about last night.  They will be in the July 4th parade tomorrow and then they will set up and show their movie to the crowds over the weekend.  

With any luck I will get some shots of the practice sessions for the air show before we leave.

We have been watching the weather quite a bit lately.  We would like the trade the west coast about 10 degrees Celsius.  That would drop us to about 26 and would get them about 26 as well.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Air Shows

There is an air show at the tiny airport across the highway from the campground this weekend.  The Angola Balloons Aloft will have more than 50 balloons (not the ones you blow up the really big ones), military aircraft and a P51 from the Tuskegee air squadron.  There is a mobile theatre hauled by a semi that shows a movie about the squadron and the P51 puts on a display.  The Tuskegee squadron was an all black squadron during WWII.

I saw the truck and trailer parked at the airport and walked over to find out what was going on.  The organizer of the air show pulled up and introduced himself to me thinking I was the driver / owner of the semi.  The mistake corrected, he then knocked on the door of the semi and we met the people who run the theatre.

It was hot here again (33+) and the air conditioning was running all day.

We are starting to plan our trip home - looking for some cooler weather, without much luck.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Endless Thunder

We moved today from mid-east Michigan, near Lake Huron to north east Indiana.

Not long after we got here Kathie and I sat outside drinking a beer. It is very warm here 30+. We heard what sounded like thunder but it did not stop. We looked behind us anfd there were huge black clouds coming towards us. We packed up the chairs and I talked to the neighbours who said there was a severe storm warning coming our way. Lightning, 1/4 inch hail and 60+mph winds. The warning said to go to the nearest building because it was dangereous to be outside.

The storm was very intense for about 1/2 hour and now it is only raining.

Now i have to start working on Kathie's birthday dinner.

Happy Canada Day

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Walk In The Woods

Today was shopping day. We popped into town for groceries. James came with us because the grocery store has the fastest WiFi around. For the rest of the day we just hung around the trailer.

I took Kody for a walk down by the river. We walked up the river for a bit but then there were some loud bangs from woods across the very small river. Gunshots - crap. I put the leash on Kody and headed back to the trailer as quickly as possible.

Later Kathie joined me outside. We heard more gunshots from the same area. I told her what I heard earlier and then we heard 50 or more shots go off in just a few seconds. I guess automatic weapons are legal here.

Sunny and Hot

The weather has been nice while we have been here. We were over 30 again yesterday. We spent some time down by the river that runs through the woods behind our site. The campsite does not have a pool but they do have a river. Kody will fetch a couple of sticks but he seems confused because the sticks float down stream. He is used to lakes where the sticks stay in one spot.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Working and Playing

Today was spent working and playing.  We went into town so James could watch some videos on the internet.  The WiFi here is not bad but they ask that you not watch videos.  We are using our Virgin 3G MiFi for most of our stuff but videos take up too much data.  The grocery store had the best WiFi so when we go shopping in a couple of days James wants to come with us.

I went out this afternoon and got some barns.  There are lots of old barns around here so I did not have to go far.  I just had to make sure that they had been abandoned because some of the old barns are still being used.  I was out in the heat of the day, it was sunny and over 30 C.

When I got back to the trailer I played for a while.  There is a small pond a couple of campsites from us.  It has turtles, snakes, frogs and dragonflies.  Turtles and frogs are not that interesting and the snakes were no where to be found so I spent the time taking pictures of the dragonflies.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nice Drive

We had a nice day today driving around the north end of Lake Michigan. The road follows the lake for most of the way and there are many beaches along the way. We then took a toll bridge and headed south to Saginaw. We have paid enough in tolls on US highways to pay down their national debt.

We had reservations - they got lost. We phoned our reservation agent and they faxed another copy over. "Sorry you can't stay here we are fully booked for the weekend". We found another place a half hour north and it is quiet and the people are really nice but it did make for a long day.

We will be here for the until Sunday and then we have reservations south of here for July 1-4 because we want to make sure we have a place to stay.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Michigan by the lake

The drive today was along Lake Michigan.   We travelled for a couple of hours this morning going down the peninsula and back up the Wisconsin side - then we were right across from where we started.  It would have been much faster if the RV and truck could float (heehee).

We are stopped near Hiawatha National Forest at a campsite on Indian Lake.  It is near the City of Manistique.

Tomorrow we will cross the bridge and go down the Michigan peninsula side.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin

Camping on the banks of the Mississippi was great. Among the wildlife that we saw were herons and baby ducks and (James' favourite) water striders. We watched all the neighbours using boats as their mode of transportation, and all the children playing in the water and getting rides behind the boats on tubes. That part reminded me of being at Faye and Walter's cabin. Yesterday we moved to Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin. Wisconsin is very green with lots of dairy farms. But the area we are in, on a peninsula in Lake Michigan, reminds me of the east coast villages. Egg Harbour has lots of little shops and restaurants. This morning we had pancakes - I'm still working on getting the heat right with the stove, and we are sitting in the shade relaxing.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The People You Meet

Today was an interesting day.  There have been a number of very fast boats in and around the campsite (remember we are right on the Mississippi).  I wanted to get some pictures of them running down the Mississippi today.  Everything was quiet and just before 3:00 boats were racing up the river.  I got my camera ready and went to get some pictures but all was quiet again.  Crap - there is a bass tournament on and the weigh in was at 3:00 so no more boats.  It is a Bass Master Tournament  and the leader is Todd Faircloth from Texas and he is camping right across from us.

Later on I was talking to a fellow from Spain, Kim and his wife are traveling around the US on a motorcycle.  Click here for Kim's Blog.  His main complaint was the speed limits are too slow here.  Of course he races motorcycles at home so 70 mph would be a little slow - for us with the trailer 60 is fast enough.

I was out hunting more barns - we are in a new state - and I found this one south of where we are.

I was playing with some long exposures the last couple of nights.  This 7 minute shot are the campsites across the bay from us.

For those of you who remember our other two Bernese Mountain Dogs you will know that neither of them liked the water.  In fact both of them walked around puddles and if it was raining Max would walk under the eves of the house until he had to walk out into the rain.  Kody on the other had will swim and retrieve sticks.  Here he is in the bay behind our campsite.  You can see his whole back is wet and even now 7 hours later his coat is still quite damp.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Picture Catch Up & On the Bayou of Wisconsin???

Here are some pictures that I have taken over the last couple of days.  The first one is an old covered wagon without it's cover.

These two are barns that I got the other day when I was out.  The one on the right I found in Minnesota on the border with Iowa and the one on the left I found in Iowa.

In the campsite last night there was the motorhome / hauler pictured below.  The jeep on the back is an old Willys with a V6 in it for rock crawling.

Last night Kathie and I were talking to our neighbours and the fireflies were out.  It is the first time we have seen them.  It was really neat to have the area suddenly lit by tiny lights that disappeared as quickly and they came on.

We moved east from Minnesota to Wisconsin today.  We are staying on the banks of the Mississippi.  The river is very wide with lots of islands and bays and it is well treed and shaded so it reminds us of the bayous further south.