My Most Excellent Adventure

Since my last post on August 28th, I have been experiencing an amazing once-in-a-lifetime adventure……more specifically, a MOST EXCELLENT ADVENTURE! It will take way more than one post to blog about it…..if I tried, it would surely qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest blog post in the world! 🙂 So, what I plan to do is give an overview of the adventure and, over time, do smaller posts with more details and photos of specific parts of the wonderful memories I have to cherish and to share.

So, let’s start at the beginning……my brother and sister-in-law invested in a new motor home back in March. They mentioned a few times about me thinking about the possibility of going on some little trips with them from time to time. Well, I am not the “camper” type, so I politely said I would keep it in mind and if something comes up that piques my interest, I’ll consider it……and, meant it! One day, we were talking on the phone and they were telling me about some planned trips…..a few over nighters, a couple 3-4 day options…..and, then he said they were planning a 15-20 day trip out west with my sister-in-law’s sister! Hhhmmm……I said, “now that one I might be interested in….” – half joking…..I really couldn’t see myself being away for that long – I have obligations and a dog and besides, they already had my sister-in-law’s sister going and I’d be horning in and lots of other really good excuses! I tried to just forget about it, but I couldn’t! Everyone I talked to about it urged me to do it, saying it was a wonderful opportunity and what did I have going on that couldn’t be worked around!!!??? So, I talked more with my brother about it…..the more we talked, the more interested I became…..the more I talked to others about “this crazy idea I was considering”, the more excited I got…….the more I tried to convince myself NOT to do it, the more I ended up convincing myself TO do it – WHY NOT!!!???

So, we started planning and ironing out the details……by the time we added ideas for things to see and do, the 15-20 days turned into a full month and maybe a little more! But……it was a big “GO”! And, it was WONDERFUL!!! I can not imagine how deep my regrets would have been if I had given into my “I really shouldn’t” voices!

Here is the overview:

  • 34 days (August 29 – October 1)
  • 19 unique states (I broke off from the group and made a side trip that gave me two additional states to make my personal total 21) {* denotes the 16 new states I have never been to before):
    • New York

588

  • Pennsylvania

002

  • Ohio * (actually, I sorta was in OH several years ago, but I’m not counting that)

004

  • Michigan

018

  • Wisconsin *

576

  • Minnesota *

051

  • North Dakota *

103

  • South Dakota *

104

  • Nebraska *

391

  • Kansas

405

  • Oklahoma *

408

  • Texas *

413

  • Arkansas *

411

  • Louisiana *

415

  • Mississippi *

473

  • Tennessee *

543

  • Missouri *

549

  • Illinois *

572

  • Indiana *

583

  • Alabama (my side trip) *

475

  • Florida (my side trip)

477

  • 6,161.4 miles (Add just shy of 550 miles for my side trip to up my personal total miles)
  • Over 2000 photos
  • A really (really) rough outline of our route:

2016-most-excellent-adventure-rough-route-outline

  • Several MAJOR Bucket List items checked off – I have now:
    • Been to all five Great Lakes
    • Been to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame
    • Seen the Black Hills and the Badlands
    • Been to Mount Rushmore
    • Been to New Orleans, LA
    • Visited the French Quarter and Bourbon St in New Orleans
    • Taken a riverboat ride on the Mississippi River
    • Saw the Archway to the West in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Several cool experiences that weren’t on any Major Bucket List or Adventure Bucket List, but should have been:
    • Got to walk across the Mississippi River at the head waters (start) and then ride a riverboat at the delta (end) all in the same trip
    • Went to Wall Drug and the Corn Palace in SD
    • Saw the reenactment of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok and had my picture taken with him just before his “demise” in Deadwood, SD
    • Saw where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried
    • Took a Duck Boat ride through downtown Mobile Alabama and then cruised on the Mobile River in the SAME Duck Boat
    • Saw the Missouri River
    • Drove through Custer State Park in SD (no idea how I didn’t know about this marvelous place and why it wasn’t included in my Bucket List item with the Black Hills and the Badlands)
    • Saw buffalo and LOTS of other really cool critters I’ve never seen that close up before — all out in the wild and up close and personal!
    • Saw cranberry bogs
    • Visited an old historic cemetery in New Orleans with all raised graves – where Voodoo Priestess, Marie Laveau is buried
    • Went to the Florida Panhandle – Pensacola – and put my toes in the sugar white sand
    • Saw the Gulf of Mexico from multiple states and views
    • Visited the home base of the Blue Angels – the Naval Air Force Base in Pensacola
    • Saw the still in process Crazy Horse Monument
    • Visited a Louisiana Bayou and Cajun Country
    • And, so much more!!!
  • Visited some old friends and met some new and wonderful people along the way!!!

I can’t wait till you get to see some of the over 2000 photos I took and hear some of my many, many stories! It will take a while to get through my photos and to write mini-posts about some of the most interesting adventures we experienced. Keep watching……the posts will be identified as part of this wonderful experience with the abbreviation “MEA” (Most Excellent Adventure) in the title!

And, to close out this post……Here are two scans of United States maps – the first is colored in with states, adjacent countries, and major bodies of water I had previously been to BEFORE my Most Excellent Adventure and the second is the same map colored in with the states, adjacent countries, and major bodies of water I visited DURING my Most Excellent Adventure! I now have a NEW Major Bucket List item: to finish coloring in the entire US map…..I have 13 states to visit to make complete that goal……that sounds perfectly do-able….after all, they are all on the continental US (I’ve already done Alaska and Hawaii) and three of them are right here in the New England states!!! 🙂

states-i-have-visited_as-of-august-2016

states-i-have-visited_as-of-october-2016

You all will surely hear all about any adventures that help me create an entirely pink US map!!! 🙂

One Comment on “My Most Excellent Adventure

  1. Was pretty sure you would not have given up blogging. Did think “she must be doing something “really good”. Hooray! I was right! Love to hear about people’s travels and look forward to your sharing!

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