We confirmed that we love the traveling life!
Our final destination on the drive back to Colorado from Death Valley was Las Vegas, where we enjoyed catching up with my cousins, Allan and Nancy, as well as with Carolyn, a friend from our years at the University of Kansas.
While in Vegas, we stumbled across Fred Lamb Park, formerly known as Tule Springs Divorce Ranch. In the 1950s and 1960s, Nevada’s lenient divorce laws drew people from across the country looking for an expeditious change in marital status. There was, however, a six-week residency requirement, which wealthy folks achieved by staying at a so-called divorce ranch, of which there were many in the state. Here are a few photos of buildings and grounds from the well-preserved Tule Springs establishment.
Now that we’re back home in Colorado, it’s time to reflect on our most recent travel experiences. During Road Trip 2019, we covered 8,591 miles in the Subaru plus another 8,000 miles in airplanes. Passed through 11 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Visited nine U.S. national parks and monuments, four Canadian national parks, and countless state and local public lands. Spent 142 nights in 30 different Airbnb’s and other accommodations – mostly fine with a couple of clunkers.
And we continued to hone our travel routine. Life on the road is different from being on vacation. More time but less money. Plus normal living activities still need to be factored into the schedule – bill-paying, dentist appointments, exercise, haircuts, and the like. With that in mind, here are five insights, presented David Letterman style, from our most recent travels that we hope to apply going forward.
#5 – Travel is a full time endeavor
First there’s the research about where we want to go, then planning the particulars, followed by the actual doing. And there’s the follow up phase, which in our case includes sorting and editing photos, and capturing the highlights in a blog post that will be interesting to our readers.
Also, it’s not just one thing at a time. Typically we’re working on a blog post from events that took place 1-2 weeks before, arranging logistics for activities coming up in the next 1-14 days, making reservations for travel anticipated in the next 3-6 months, plus gathering information about possible future trips up to a year in advance. I love the planning activities, but Bill is less enthusiastic.
A couple of examples from Road Trip 2019 of activities that required more research and planning than we expected – riding the Hiawatha Bike Trail in Montana and Idaho, and figuring out which wineries to visit in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.
#4 – Sight-seeing is educational
I imagine this observation isn’t earth-shattering news. For us, however, taking time for meaningful learning about the places we visited was new behavior. We read brochures and interpretive placards, watched videos, listened to audio guides, attended live presentations, explored on our own, asked questions, and absorbed as much as we could. Heck, we even signed up for guided tours. And guess what? Totally worth it.
The photo gallery below depicts four places we visited that were especially enlightening, where we left with a wealth of new information as well as a newfound appreciation for those who preserve and share the stories with others.
#3 – Travel requires patience
The destinations on our travel itinerary are popular places. Some, like Banff National Park in Canada, were overrun with tourists. In addition to traffic jams, parking spots were at a premium (or nonexistent), lines for food and restrooms were ridiculously long, selfie sticks were ubiquitous, and people weren’t always on their best behavior.
Other activities, such as driving California’s scenic highway 1, were just slow, especially when we took advantage of scenic viewpoints every few miles. It was also road construction season.
We also needed a large dose of patience to cope with the inevitable inconveniences that arise, such as getting lost (repeatedly) or showing up at an attraction that’s closed for the day.
And finally, Bill and I learned that we must be more patient with each other (still a work in progress). 24/7 togetherness is tough, even when your travel companion is your best friend!
#2 – There’s never enough time
We didn’t complete the ‘want to see’ list at any of our stopping places. Even in Portland or Morro Bay, where we stayed for a month each. Two places that especially got shortchanged – the Icefield Parkway and Vancouver, both in Canada.
Will we ever go back? Hopefully, but with a long list of places we want to visit for the first time, it’s unlikely. My guess is that ‘we needed more time’ will be a permanent part of our post-travel conversations.
#1 – Our public lands are even more spectacular than we imagined . . .
. . . but their survival for future generations to experience is not guaranteed. We can’t say enough good things about the visionary and committed people who fought and won battles with politicians, commercial interests, and others to protect these special places that showcase nature.
We visited many terrific parks, monuments, beaches, refuges, and monuments, and all were awe-inspiring in their own way. Two in particular that were created despite strong and enduring opposition were Olympic National Park in Washington and Redwood State and National Parks in California.
Now it’s our turn to support and advocate for the continued protection and preservation of these precious public lands on behalf of our children and grandchildren. Loudly and forcefully. I hope you will join us.
Our fabulous Road Trip 2019 is history. Where are we going next? You can find out by clicking on the link below.