Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Year in Review

In 2009, we ended our fulltime RVing lifestyle and bought a small winter home. But we still did plenty of traveling.

We had a couple of major criteria for our house - Ron wanted to be able to park the RV in the yard and I wanted to be in an over-55 community.  We found one that suited us both.

Although Ron now had many, many projects, we still found time to do some hiking with a local hiking group.

But by mid-May we turned off the inside water, locked up the house and were out of there.  After a short stop in Show Low and some pie in Pie Town, New Mexico, we joined some WINs at a couple of NM state parks.

They were taking advantage of New Mexico's annual state parks pass, but we had other plans.  Soon we were back on the road heading east.  In Texas, we stopped at pretty Palo Duro Canyon.

We whipped through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, with a stop at one of my favorite tourist attractions, Mud Island.  Located in the Mississippi River next to Memphis, Mud Island has a half-mile long topo map of the Mississippi.  The scale is 30 inches to the mile with a vertical scale of 1 inch to 8 feet.  So cool.

The reason for our unusual speed was twofold.  First we were meeting the group of WINs who were traveling Tennessee and Kentucky.  We caught up with them at Land Between the Lakes on the border of the two states.

The second reason for our hurry was Ron's family reunion which was being held outside of Atlanta.  We left the RV in LBTL under the watchful eyes of our friends and drove to Georgia where I left him and continued on to Florida to see my girls.

Once we finished visiting with our respective families, we enjoyed traveling awhile with the WINs. In Bowling Green, we toured the Corvette factory, and Mammoth Caves.

And took a boat ride through Lost River Cave.

While staying near Louisville, we took a river boat ride,

And rode go carts (something I've always wanted to do,)

We invaded the Kentucky Capitol building in Frankfort.

We had a lot of fun with our friends, but soon took off on our own.  In Virginia, we visited Jefferson's Monticello.

And hiked a bit of the Appalachian Trail along Skyline Drive.

After a nice visit with my father in Pennsylvania, we started back west.  I had always wanted to see Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural wonder Fallingwater in western PA.

In Indiana, we toured Fair Oaks Farm, home to 30,000 cows.  I was fascinated by the turntable that milked 72 cows simultaneously while giving them a free ride.

And the Indiana Dunes National Seashore was very interesting.

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore at the northern tip of Wisconsin was a new place for me.  We enjoyed a boat tour and rode our bikes around the largest island.

And you can't drive through North Dakota without stopping at the International Peace Garden.  Here I'm standing on the border between Canada and the United States which divides the garden and the towers in the distance.

Of course the other must-see place in North Dakota is Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

My favorite hike there is the Caprock Coulee Trail with these cool formations.

Also in North Dakota, we saw what might be the most amazing roadside attraction anywhere.  South on exit 72 off I 94 is a series of wonderful scrap metal sculptures along a 32-mile stretch of road.  This jaw-dropping creation is Fisherman's dream.  The 70-foot rainbow trout is surrounded by other 30-foot fish and plants.  It's just one of the many mind-boggling sculptures along the Enchanted Highway.

By mid-September we were in the Denver area where we visited with Ron's daughter and family and took my favorite hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The trail to Emerald Lake passes pretty Dream Lake.

Continuing west, we spent a few days with a group of WINs in Moab.

Then moved on to explore Goblin Valley,

And Wild Horse Canyon . . .

Before moving to Lake Powell to greet another group of WINs as they returned from their houseboat trip.  (Alright some of this group might be the same as in the previous one.)

We stopped at Capitol Reef National Park with Diana and Phil.  Phil was kind enough to drive us to Cathedral Valley in the northern section of the park, where a four-wheel drive vehicle is almost a necessity.  These rock formations are the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon.

I thought this was the best looking 'cathedral' in Cathedral Valley.

The four of us hiked the six-mile round trip to pretty Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante NM.

And being so close, we just had to stop at Bryce Canyon NP with its magnificent hoodoos.

Then it was on to Boulder Beach CG in Lake Mead NRA where there were so many WINs that some of them put on a murder mystery for the rest of us.  How fun!

We enjoyed a visit to Red Rock Canyon just west of Las Vegas.

We arrived back home in Mesa in early November to find the house had survived six months without us.

Then we finished out the year by flying to Denver to spend Christmas with Ron's family.


  1. Great wrap up. So many places we've been but different cause we don't hike. You guys need to do the go carts up in Scottsdale. A whole lot of fun.

  2. Strange this appeared on my stream today--What a great year you had in 2009!