Thursday, November 8, 2007

The End of the Trip

On October 25th we arrived back in Cambria. Our trip for the summer was a great deal of fun. Stopping to see friends and relatives along the way added to the excitement and joy of traveling across this great country. We will do some "local" RVing for the next few months as we plan our 2008 trip. Below are some STATS on our 2007 trip.

Miles Traveled .......................... 10,642 (124 days)

Gallons of diesel fuel ................ 1,736

Highest price paid for fuel ....... $3.49 (California when we got back)

Lowest price paid for fuel ........ $2.85 (Memphis, TN - across the street from Elvis)

Average cost to park RV ......... $27.23 per night (Represents 60% of our nights/ 40% were free)

Average cost of food for 124 days . $33.14 per day (includes eating out)

Best place to live ..................... While we enjoyed seeing the USA, we still think the best place
to live is right here in Cambria, CA.

What did we enjoy seeing the most ... Gettysburg. Go see it for yourself and you will understand.
City we enjoyed the most ................... Charlotte, North Carolina

Most spectacular scenery.................... Zion National Park and Southern Utah.

Most exciting thing we did ................ The TIGERS tour in Myrtle Beach, SC - sitting with tiger
cubs is an experience of a life time.

Worst roads............................................ Pennsylvania and Rhode Island

Highest toll fees..................................... Pennsylvania (go figure)

Worst weather .................................... Heading toward Chicago in a lightning storm.

Best weather ....................................... Mary's sisters cabin in the mountains of Northern PA.

Unexpected happening ....................... Blowing out our suspension air bag because of a pot hole.

Best entertainment ............................ Grand Ole Opry and most of Nashville

Most memorable site ......................... Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Graceland (because we are
part of the whole R&R scene)

Worst meal .......................................... River boat on the Wisconsin Dells. Did you ever eat Prime
Rib 1/8 inch thick and in the form of a round patty?

Best meals ............................................. About 110 of them - Jerry made them every night

Worst unexpected event ................... Mary put glue in her eye instead of eye drops (emergency
room anyone?) Dr. said "what is with you people - I get
about two of you a year that put glue in your eye?"

Would we do it again .......................... YES and we are planning our trip for 2008 now.

Have a great Holiday Season and when we start our 2008 trip we will let you know.

A special thanks to all of you who followed our blog and sent us your comments (especially Ashlee).

Jerry & Mary

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Oct. 16th - 20th

After leaving Ft. Worth we took two days to drive to El Paso. Spent the night and then on into Tuscon, Arizona to see our long time friends Joe and Carole (been 10 years). We parked at their placed and had a great time.
It was off for our final leg of the trip back to California. We are at our daughter's house seeing the grandkids and having a fun time telling them all about our trip.
Jerry will be back in Cambria on Oct. 25th while Mary goes from L.A. to Utah for a Xango convention. She will be back to Cambria on Monday the 29th.
It has been a great trip. We really had fun seeing both friends and relatives as we drove around this great country. We will now put together some statistics and post them in a few weeks.
Thanks to all of you that took the time to see us and we hope to see many of you again next year. While this was a 4 month trip, next year we will make it a 7 or 8 month trip. Go a little slower and see a little more of the USA.

Jerry, Mary & Chanti

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oct. 8 - 15th.

From Memphis, TN we left for Sherman, TX to see Jerry's cousin Bob. On the way we hit 3 very heavy rain storms. As a result we stopped for the night in Texarkana. That place is a whole story by its self. The county line runs down a main street. You can buy liquor on the Arkansas side of the street, but not on the Texas side (county laws for that part of Texas).
The next day we made it to Sherman, TX, spent the night with Jerry's cousin and his wife and then off to Ft. Worth for Jerry's final ISS talks. Of the 4 ISS shows that he spoke at, his workshops on Prospecting - Presentation - Close had the most attendance of all the business workshops ISS put on. As a result they want him to do their 2008 shows. First one is in January in Long Beach.

We found Ft. Worth and the surrounding area to be very nice. However, unlike Minneapolis/St. Paul which are right next to each other, Dallas/Fort Worth are over 30 miles apart. We drove to Dallas on Saturday to see the Kennedy Memorial and the area that President Kennedy was assassinated. We took the tour of the 6th floor Book Depository. It is a great tour. We had head sets that explained what happened at each part of the tour. The great part of that is that we had the ability to stop the tape if we wanted to stay at one spot and look at it longer. There was the window area that Lee Harvey Oswald took his shots at the President and you really do get goose bumps when you look out of that window. Anyone that has ever shot a rifle knows that shooting at something moving from left to right is much harder than hitting a target moving 5 miles per hour and moving away from you. Oswald was able to get off 3 shots at the motorcade/President. Down on the street there are X's that mark each of the spots where the shots hit the President. Oswald paid $12.85 for that rifle. As one reporter put it (on a video of that day) "the President of the United States's life was taken for $12.85." Also on the tour you hear from the reporter that "passed Oswald coming out of the Depository" as he ran in to call the police. The tour covers everything from President Kennedy running for office, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Crises, right up to his trip to Dallas and what followed for the days after.

The other photos to the right also show the Water Gardens in Fort Worth. This is a real experience that you have to experience, not read about. If you ever make it to Fort Worth make sure you include this. It is right next to the Convention Center.

From Ft. Worth we are off on our second to last leg of the trip. We will leave here and go to El Paso for one night and then to Tuscon, Arizona to see some old friends (old in that we have known them for a long time, and come to think of it, they are old). Last stop is to see our kids in L.A. After that it is back to Cambria and our 4 month trip will be over.

After we get back we will do a wrap-up of our 4 month trip.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oct. 4-8 Memphis, TN

From Nashville we headed to Memphis. We only went 10 feet when I knew we had a problem. Our coach has a "air ride" suspension. However, the front end would not rise and a big "hissing" sound came from the front right side. We drove - slowly - to a Freightliner repair shop (our chassie is made by them) and discovered we "blew out our air bag" on the right side. Now, let me make it very clear, we did not blow it out -- the highways of America blew it out. We hit some really bad "pot holes" and on a couple, I thought we would fall apart. Turns out we damaged our air bag. That was a one day delay in getting to Memphis and the new air bag, of all places, was shipped from Memphis. Luck was on our side that this happened in a major city.

We finally made it to Graceland and the RV park right behind the HeartBreak Hotel (yes that is for real). A great park and walking distance to Graceland. Prior to that, we decided to go into Memphis and visit the Sun Studio, the place that was the start for Elvis (not to mention Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash). When you stand in the recording studio and look at the microphone (see photo to right) that was used by these guys in the mid 50's you get goosebumps. Then they played some of the "out takes" of Elvis and these others during their famous recordings - it is as if you are there at that time.

All these year we had heard that "That's all right (Mama)" was the first song Elvis recorded at Sun Studio and he did it for his mom -- not true - you will have to go there to find out the real first song (that he did to for his mom). And "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash - that drum that stands out in the background - not a drum at all - that too, you will have to visit Sun Studio for the answer.

The next day we went to Graceland. How many times have you heard on the news that there was an "Elvis sighting?" So we get to Graceland and guess what -- Elvis is dead. Damn what a disappointment. Oh well, after you go to Graceland you will almost believe that he is still alive, until you come to his grave sight.

We could not begin to describe what it is like going through Graceland in this Blog. If you ever get the chance to make to Memphis, take the time to see Graceland. Many people do each year as they make 57 million a year on tourist going to Graceland.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sept. 28 - Oct. 3rd.

Our week in Jackson Springs, NC was very relaxing. Jerry worked on his book, Mary worked on her business. Then it was off to Charlotte, NC. to see an old friend of 40 years. We had a great evening at her home and another chance to catch-up on families since we last saw her over 15 years ago.
Then it was off to Nashville, TN. and the Grand Ole Opry. We had tickets to the 9:30 pm show. We had a great time and would love to come back again. With one exception. While they call it the Grand Ole Opry, for our night they needed to change that "e" in Ole to a "d." We did not grow up listening to "country, bluegrass, Nashville sound" music. Thus, unless a singer really hit the big time and crossed over to rock & roll or pop chart music (like Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Marty Robbins, etc.), we really don't know much about them. Today, artists like Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw and the many other big names, if they make it big in country music, their music also hits other charts and we most likely have heard them.
Our night at the Opry (see big picture down below), well it was full of a lot of 50's & 60's one (or two) hit wonders that are still hanging on and showing up at the Opry. Two hours of oldies we never heard. The good news is we always love live music and that is what we got. So it was great fun.
We did get to hear an up-and-coming new star (to country) that in time we are sure will make all the charts. His name is Josh Turner (in fact he may already be "up" we just never heard of him before) and this guy had a great voice. Very powerful and dynamic. This guy will go far.
We heard that "sometimes big stars make a surprise appearance." That didn't happen at our show.
What did happen was the first appearance at the Opry by a new singer. Write this name down as she will make it "big time" in country music and will cross over to the big charts. Her name is Ashton Shepherd and what a voice. When you think of what a female country singer should sound like - this girl has it. On a scale of 1-10 her voice was a 12. The whole audience went wild after she sang her songs. She was a little of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and June Carter Cash all rolled into one. Watch out for this kid. Her performance alone made it a great time at the Grand Ole Opry.
We are here until Wednesday (still more to see) and then it is off to see Elvis in Memphis.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sept. 14 - 28

One of our goals on this trip is to try to avoid major highways (and freeways) to get to our destination. Leaving Myrtle Beach we wanted to go to Kitty Hawk, NC to see the site of the Wright Brothers first flight. Looking at the map, we could get there via the Outer Banks of N.C which would include taking a ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke (2 1/2 hr ferry ride), so we headed that way. We road the ferry and then had to ride another one (1/2 hr) to get from Ocracoke to Hatteras. If you ever get the chance to take that trip - take it. It is great.

We made it a 2 day trip to get to Kitty Hawk camping right along side the Atlantic Ocean. We have now been parked right next to the Pacific and the Atlantic. The Atlantic coast line (at least from South Carolina to North Carolina) is nothing but sandy beach. Unlike the rocks and cliffs of the Pacific is it just flat sand with some roads no more than 6 feet above the top of the water. No wonder they flood so bad in storms.

Kitty Hawk is something to see. To think that in all this time of people on this earth, just 104 years ago man, under his own power, took to the air for the first time. Then within 60 years we flew to the moon.

What was really interesting was the fact that the Brothers not only build the first airplane, but they built every part. Obviously they could not go to the store to "buy airplane parts." In fact, they could not find an engine for their plane, so they built that too. They did not go with the traditional view of a propeller (for a boat) being an "air screw." Instead they saw it as a rotary wing and hand carved those also.

Their first flight --- 12 seconds and 120 feet (Bob Newhart had a great joke about flying coast to coast with the Wright Brothers but was concerned that it would be a long flight if they had to take off and land every 120 feet). They flew 3 more flights that day with the longest being 59 seconds and 852 feet (that would shorten that coast to coast flight).

While some people had made gliders (including the Brothers) no one made a "machine" that under its own power could take off and fly - they made it happen and WOW look what happened as a result.

Form Kitty Hawk we went to an "out of the way" resort in Jackson Springs North Carolina and will be here for a week. No driving, just relaxing. Next week we head for Nashville, Tennessee and the Grand Ole Opry -- So long Y'all

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sept. 6 - 16

Everyone has been to the zoo. You stand there looking at the animals and think to yourself "gee, it would really be something to be able to pick that little tiger cub up." Well think no more. As you can see by the photos to the right (and the ones under the map below) today you can hold many of these animals if you just travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and visit my niece, Kheria, (my sister Pat's daughter) at her Tigers Preserve. You can take a 3 hr guided tour and see some of the most exotic animals on this earth. You will get to sit in an area in which the trainers bring out Lion, Tiger, Lynx and Ligar (cross between a lion and a tiger) cubs and let them just walk around and all over you. It is really something. You can hold them, feed them and just play with them. Some just want to sit on your lap and relax.

If that weren't enough, then you move on to another area and play with a chimpanzee and a gibbon (Mary is holding Mia and I am holding Yogi in the first photo to the right). How about sitting pool side while tigers go swimming with their trainers. These cats just loved playing in that water. So much for "cats hate water."

When was the last time you held an Owl? Petted a wolf? Had a falcon fly so close his wings brushed across your chest? Watched a lion sprint past you? Had your picture taken with a Ligar (they have one that stands 10 feet tall - see big photo below).

They video tape your whole tour and take hundreds of photos delivered to you on a CD at the end of your tour. This is no petting zoo with a goat - this is the real deal - wild animals. Protected and raised to help prevent extinction. If you ever plan to head to SC this is a must see.

Prior to arriving in SC we went to Cumming, Georgia. Jerry spoke again at another ISS convention in Atlanta and we stayed with our long time friends Donna and Stu. Stu took us out on his pontoon boat to a nice place for Sunday brunch. Our dog Chanti met their dog, Nikki (that Donna bought after seeing our dog). We had a great visit with them.

We leave Myrtle Beach on Monday and have a few "free days" that are not planned until next weekend. We will throw the dart on the map tomorrow morning and see what it hits.