Well we got up this morning with no agenda except to get home as soon as possible. So we drove north and west out of Wisconsin and into Minnesota. We drove about 500 miles and stopped at a KOA near Minneapolis.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
During the night it stormed with lightning, thunder, wind, and rain. It was severe and when we got up this morning we had to do the outside chores in puddles. Today we drove all the way to Bismarck North Dakota and found another KOA. Both Minnesota and North Dakota are beautiful rolling green farm country. It is quite cold here and we are thankful for the electrical hook-up.
Friday, May 4, 2012
Today we tried to get an early start. We wanted to get well into Montana. We ended up driving more than 600 miles and stayed in a Walmart parking lot in Butte. Montana started out looking much like North Dakota, but gradually changed, first to prairie, then to high desert, then to mountains. We began hearing reports of snow and other bad weather to the north so we made the decision to take a little more southerly route from Butte.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
We left Butte this morning at 9:00 am. The desire to be home is growing stronger and stronger. When we left, Lucy said, maybe just tongue in cheek, ”take me home”. I was not sure it was possible, but I accepted the challenge. We bought sandwiches and snacks and beverages before we left in an effort to limit the necessity to stop. We drove south into Idaho, hit highway 20 out of Idaho Falls, drove across Idaho and into Oregon. We actually made it to Burns, OR just before dark. We got takeout at a surprisingly good Chinese restaurant, ate quickly and took off again. It was at this point that I knew it was very possible for us to get home tonight. We had crossed the Rocky Mountains, but we still had a mountain range to cross. Because of our route, the Rockies were relatively easy, but the Cascades may be a different story. The main pass after Sisters OR was okay. It got cold up there, but the roads were clear and dry and mostly deserted. When we got past the main pass we were relieved and thought the worst was behind us. From there to home, there are a couple of highway options. You can stay on 20 and that is a little shorter, but having taken that route often, we decided that highway 22 to Salem would be better. It is a better road and not as narrow and winding. So we took 22 even though it is about 30 miles farther. Now I don’t know how highway 20 faired through the winter, but 22 did not do well. It was very rough, there was still snow along the sides, it looked wet in places and the temp was below freezing. A little scary in the middle of the night. We finally got home about 3:00 am Sunday morning after an 18 hour drive. We were very happy to be in our home bed in our real bedroom, in our stationary home. The home that did not rock when I turned over in bed.
I hope none of you are disappointed when you see that the map does not represent a true perimeter route. After we rest a month or so we plan to begin taking some shorter trips to explore our home state of Oregon. When we are satisfied that we have thoroughly traveled and seen Oregon, we will begin to branch out to Washington, Idaho, Utah, and others.
So this is the official end of our adventure we called Circling The USA. We were on the road for 133 days. We saw 35 states, stayed in Walmart parking lots for 31 nights, stayed with relatives and friends 13 nights, casino parking lots for 18 nights, RV parks for 69 nights. We found diesel fuel costs from $3.73 to $4.49 per gallon. We drove a total of 16,280 miles, spent $4,036 on fuel, and $2,336 on RV parks. We met numerous interesting people from a variety of cultures, made a few new friends and had hundreds of unique experiences, which will be forever etched onto our memories.
Stay tuned for other smaller journeys.