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That’s a Wrap! – End of Trip Fun Facts | zephyr sunrise

That’s a Wrap! – End of Trip Fun Facts

Gorgeous day at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, Maine, in May 2013

Gorgeous day at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park, Maine, in May 2013

 

It was inevitable, I suppose. Being so close to home on the west coast, we just couldn’t help ourselves. The thought of seeing our friends and family was greater than our desire to visit our last remaining destinations on our nine month long adventure around the US.  The places we had yet to visit we figured we could go see easily enough from home later. We cancelled a few campground reservations we had coming up and decided to drive home from the west coast of Oregon. In a day. Eighteen hours later (at 4am) we arrived at Chris’s parents’ house, our home base for the foreseeable future.

 

At the top of Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in April 2013

At the top of Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in April 2013

 

So in honor of our trip coming to what we hope will be a temporary close (we are already planning new adventures, although not as long-term) here’s an incomplete list of some stuff we did and saw along the way. I sum it up this way: I’ve done more in the last nine months that I’ve always wanted to do and see my whole life than I ever have before this in my 33 years, all combined. Does that make sense?

For a brief moment, we were the southernmost family in the US - Key West, Florida in Feb 2013

For a brief moment, we were the southernmost family in the US – Key West, Florida in Feb 2013

 

Date we left home in California: November 18, 2012. This happened to be Zephyr’s 18 month birthday. Got back home on August 21, 2013. That’s just over nine months.

Good-bye, home! Hello open road!

Good-bye, home! Hello open road!

 

Approximate number of miles we’ve driven: between the car and the Moho over 30,000

Number of states we drove through: 30 + Canada

Visiting White Sands National Monument with Uncle Dusty in New Mexico, Dec 2012

Visiting White Sands National Monument with Uncle Dusty in New Mexico, Dec 2012

 

Number of National Parks we’ve been to: 10 *including one in Canada

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Everglades National Park, FL

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

Acadia National Park, ME

Badlands National Park, SD

Yellowstone National Park, WY

Grand Teton National Park, WY

Glacier National Park, MT

Waterton National Park, Alberta, CANADA

Olympic National Park, WA

Slippery Rock State Park just outside of Sedona, Arizona, in Nov 2012

Slippery Rock State Park just outside of Sedona, Arizona, in Nov 2012

 

Number of National “other places” we’ve been to (ie: seashores, lakeshores, monuments, memorials, historic parks, heritage areas, forests): 13 – counting all the monuments and parks and memorials in Washington DC as “one”

White Sands Ntnl Monument, NM

Gulf Islands Ntnl Seashore, FL

Cape Hatteras Ntnl Seashore, NC

Wright Brothers Ntnl Memorial, NC

Colonial Ntnl Historic Park, Jamestown, VA

Washington DC Ntnl Monuments, DC

Niagara Falls Ntnl Heritage Area, CANADA

Pictured Rocks Ntnl Lakeshore, MI

Devils Tower Ntnl Monument, WY

Black Hills Ntnl Forest, SD

Mt Rushmore Ntnl Monument, SD

Pompey’s Pillar Ntnl Monument, MT

Siuslaw Ntnl Forest, OR

 

Visiting Disney World in Dec 2012

Visiting Disney World in Dec 2012

 

Number of State Parks we’ve been to:  16

Slippery Rock – Sedona, AZ

Kartchner Caverns – Benson, AZ

City of Rocks – Faywood, NM

Sea Rim – Port Arthur, TX

John Pennekamp – Key Largo, FL

Zachary Taylor – Key West, FL

Jonathan Dickinson – Jupiter, FL

Anastasia – St Augustine, FL

Ft McCallister – Richmond Hill, GA

Oregon Inlet – Outer Banks, NC

Chippokes Plantation – Surry, VA

Halibut Point – Rockport, MA

Great River Bluffs – Winona, MN

Custer – Custer, SD

Luby Bay – Priest Lake, ID

Cape Disappointment – Ilwaco, WA

 

A glassbottom boat tour in Key Largo on Valentine's Day, 2013

A glassbottom boat tour in Key Largo on Valentine’s Day, 2013

 

Number of County Parks we’ve stayed at: 3

Fort De Soto – St Petersburg, FL

Turtle Beach – Siesta Key, FL

Larry and Penny Thompson – Miami, FL

 

In the cockpit of a biplane, flying over Key West, FL, in Feb 2013

In the cockpit of a biplane, flying over Key West, FL, in Feb 2013

 

Number of lighthouses we’ve visited: 4 (we’ve seen quite a few more from the car, but we actually went on the grounds of these)

St Augustine Lighthouse, St Augustine, FL

Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, ME [this lighthouse was closed but we

walked all around the grounds anyways]

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, Ilwaco, WA (we saw this from the State Park museum, we didn’t actually walk over to it so I’m not sure if it counts but I’m putting on our list anyways)

Heceta Head Lighthouse, Yachats, OR

Easter Sunday in Charleston, South Carolina

Easter Sunday in Charleston, South Carolina

 

Number of ferries we’ve taken (not including return trips): 7

MS Chi Cheemaun – Tobermory, North Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada to Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada

Ocracoke Ferry – Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, NC

James River Ferry – Surry to Jamestown, VA

SS Badger – biggest steam ferry in the US from Luddington, MI to Manitowac, WI

BC Ferries: Nanaimo, Vancouver Island to Gabriola Island, Canada

Tsawwassen, Vancouver to Swartz Bay, Victoria, Canada

Swartz Bay, Victoria, Canada to Port Angeles, WA

 

Getting a tour of Washington DC on a pedicab - April 2013

Getting a tour of Washington DC on a pedicab – April 2013

 

Number of Provincial Parks (Canda’s version of State Parks) we’ve been to: 4

Chutes Provincial Park – Sables Spanish Rivers, ON

Presq’uile Provincial Park – Lake Ontario, ON

Ferris Provincial Park – Campbellford, ON

Goldstream Provincial Park – Victoria, BC

 

At "Top of the Rock" in NYC - May, 2013

At “Top of the Rock” in NYC – May, 2013

 

Number of campgrounds we’ve stayed in: 65

Number of days we’ve been gone: 275

Average number of nights we stay in a campground: 4.2

Loving Acadia National Park, Maine - May 2013

Loving Acadia National Park, Maine – May 2013

 

Number of ice cream cones we’ve eaten: Too many to admit… Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream was my favorite by far and away. We tried it in Nashville but I believe they have other locations across the country. Thanks to Natalie for making sure I experienced it and thanks for the Jeni’s cookbook, Cary, can’t wait to make my first batch of ice cream! Close runners up would be Shake Shack in NYC (hazelnut streudel and chocolate custard: WIN), and that SubZero place in Siesta Key, FL. Also I had the best pulled pork sandwich of my life in Austin, TX at some random little hole in the wall. Not ice cream, but unforgettable.

 

The beach at Presqu'ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario, Canada in June 2013

The beach at Presqu’ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario, Canada in June 2013

 

Number of friends and family we’ve visited along the way: 21 (plus lots of kids)

Alonzo and Molly – AZ

Uncle Dusty and Aunt Bebe – TX

Cousin Michele and Andy & kids – SC

Rob and Natalie (and Janell) & kids – TN

Irimga – NY

Anne and David – NY

Aunt Connie – CT

Meagan and Devin & kids– MA

Jane and Josh & Alonzo and Molly – Toronto, ON

Lil’ Marky – Seattle, WA

Noel, Dom, Zoe and Violet – Gabriola, BC

Cousin Ali and Chris and Aidan – OR

 

Hiking in Badlands National Park, South Dakota - June 2013

Hiking in Badlands National Park, South Dakota – June 2013

 

Number of people who’ve traveled with us at some point: 11

My mom

Chris’s parents

Scott + Sarah

Allie

Caleb

Noel, Dom, Zoe and Violet

 

Mt. Rushmore in June 2013

Mt. Rushmore in June 2013

 

Chris’s top three places:

1 – Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park

2 – Black Hills and Badlands, South Dakota

3 – New York City

 

Erin’s top three places:

1 – tie between Acadia National Park, Maine and

South Dakota and

Glacier National Park and

Grand Teton National Park (I can have four top favorites, right?)

2 – Florida

3 – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

 

Zephyr’s favorite places:

Key West, FL, and California (ask him)

 

Bella's truck from the Twilight movies at the Forks Chamber of Commerce in Forks, Wa - Aug 2013

Bella’s truck from the Twilight movies at the Forks Chamber of Commerce in Forks, Wa – Aug 2013

 

Zephyr’s current top three favorite movies:

1 – Wreck It Ralph

2 – Ratatouille

3 – anything Alvin and the Chipmunks

 

Number of trains Zephyr has in the Moho: too many

 

Zephyr’s new favorite things to say to strangers:

“What’s your name?”

“Where you from?”

“I’m from California.”

 

Waterton Lake in Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada in July 2013

Waterton Lake in Waterton National Park, Alberta, Canada in July 2013

 

How it feels to be home: Weird. A bit of reverse culture shock going on here. After traveling the country and seeing so many different communities and how people live so differently, it’s quite strange to be back behind the “Orange Curtain” in our little Orange County “bubble.”

Would we do something like this again? In a heartbeat. In a split second. This trip molded our family unit together in an incredibly strong, unique way that will be invaluable to us. Not to mention we got to see and do awesome things, eat incredible food and spend time with some really great people along the way.

What now? Who knows?! Chris will continue to work. The three of us will continue to play trains and make funny faces at each other.  We will continue to pursue our newfound love of hiking and outdoor adventuring. We will travel as much as possible. Beyond that, we really aren’t sure. And that feels great!

Zeph enjoying the shallow and warm Leigh Lake in Grand Tetons National Park in July 2013

Zeph enjoying the shallow and warm Leigh Lake in Grand Tetons National Park in July 2013

 

Thanks to everyone who followed along the last year or so of our journey. I will continue to post the rest of the blogs of the places we visited on this trip that I haven’t finished yet, and after that will post stuff about what’s going on at home and on our road trips. This blog is as much a memory book for us and Zephyr as it is a way to keep our friends and family updated on our adventures. I read a quote recently that a family of three who are bicycling around the world posted on their blog (learn more about their crazy adventures at nomad-dream.org) that really resonated with me. Confucius said: “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” I think this is something we’ve become aware of on our journey across the US, here’s to living that second life well! Chris recently wrote to my brother in a letter “We have seen a lot of things on our journey, but the best thing we found was each other.” Amen.

At the Cape Perpetua Shelter on the Oregon Coast - Aug 2013

At the Cape Perpetua Shelter on the Oregon Coast – Aug 2013

The completed journey - the dots in California and Oregon are the destinations we skipped on our way home. The thin black line running through CA and OR is the journey we made home in 18 hours.

The completed journey – the dots in California and Oregon are the destinations we skipped on our way home. The thin black line running through CA and OR is the journey we made home in 18 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Meg

    oh, this made me tear up…so admire you guys for doing this and honored that we were a stop along your journey. a million hugs sent your way…

    • zephyrsunrise

      Love you Meg, and your awesome family. Wish we were neighbors…