Shake, Rattle and
Roll to Alaska
This trip was the big one for
us, so to speak. The next year Mary Ellen was diagnosed with ALS. See
about us for more info.
"How were the roads"?
That is always the first question asked when you tell them you drove all the way to Alaska. In the spring and summer of 2002 we made the trip to Alaska, over six months and 19,000 miles. We left in February from Destin, FL and headed to California using I-10 most of the way.
Let me say that the trip is worth the drive. It is long and one should plan three months. One month getting there and one month getting back and one to spend in the State of Alaska. There is much to see if you will only take the time. Please don't rush... it may turnout to be your only trip to Alaska and you will always be proud you did it. You will have fond memories and your RV status will increase. Others will listen to your description of "The Trip".
Our first stop, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Bay St. Louis, MS where we enjoyed Casino Magic and their beautiful campground. Three of our children and grandchildren live in the area. New Orleans, LA from where we lived, worked and retired before hitting the RV trail. It was mostly visiting family and friends, but New Orleans is a great place to visit. It was Mardi Gras time in February.
Then we stopped in St. Martinsville and Lafayette to catch up on some history about our heritage. Our descendants came here from Nova Scotia after the Great Dispersion of 1757. The Acadian were dispersed by the English and many came to Louisiana where they eventually become Cajuns.
On Sunday morning we drove into Houston to visit Carolyn (Warren’s sister). We saw a billboard advertising the Rodeo-Houston and decided to take Carolyn. After a Texas Bar-B-Q lunch we parked at a High School and boarded the free shuttle to the Astrodome. Standing room only tickets for $12 were all we could get. We went in and enjoyed the best livestock show and rodeo ever, along with a great music show. Kenny Rogers, Naomi Judd, Charlie Pride, The Gatlin Brothers and Matt Davis were among the entertainers. Not only did we get our moneys worth, but we found seats for the whole 5 hours we were there.
More family in Beaumont and Austin. We learned about the Texas State Capitol, where George Bush served before becoming President and enjoyed the history of how Texas got it's independence by touring the Texas History Museum.
We stayed in Austin near Richard and Paulette (Warren’s brother) for a few days. We stayed only 20 minutes from their house at the McKinney Falls State Park just outside of Austin. Most of our week was spent in the computer shack located in the back yard of Richard and Paulette’s house. After having some difficulty with the old computer I decided that it was time for a new one. We found an HP laptop at Sam’s Wholesale and I spent most of the week learning to love my new computer and Windows XP.
Austin is one of my favorite cities and I could enjoy living there. The Hill Country is beautiful and the climate on the whole is good. Austin is clean and progressive. It is the Capitol of Texas and Texas University is located there. We had a very interesting history lesson visiting the beautiful Capitol Building, which was dedicated in 1888 and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. We learned about the fight for independence by Texans from Mexico and Santa Anna’s army in 1836 at the Alamo. A special exhibit about Davy Crockett and a live actor portrayed Davy’s life. It was excellent! A day well spent.
Richard, Paulette and Daniel (son) treated us to some of the best bar-b-que around Austin at the County Line Restaurant located high on a hill overlooking the Hill Country at sunset. Recommended!(*****).
San Antonio, where Lenny and Elena hosted us for the next three days . We walked along the San Antonio River, planted in lush foliage and flowers with it's shops and restaurants and riverside patio's, an absolute must see. San Antonio has a delightful theme and exquisite tourist attraction here. The Alamo in San Antonio is where the famous battle took place and in spite of loosing the battle to General Maxamillion of Mexico it solidified the cause and spearheaded the triumph of Texas Independence. . Some well known people were killed here, like Jim Bowie, William Travis, Davie Crockett and General Sam Houston. For two days we hiked around the Spanish Mission conclaves. Witnessing the remnants of history is touching the past and increasing the awareness of reality.
The Alamo was once a mission built by the Spanish. One of five missions along the river, built about 1700, where one can learn very interesting information about the times before Mexico and Texas rule. These Missions are very picturesque and are operated by the NPS. The churches are still active as Catholic churches that serve a parish of Hispanics, Mexicans and Indians.
After leaving San Antonio we stopped in Bandera, the Cowboy Capitol of the World. We went to Lost Maples State Park for a hike of about five miles. The trail took us up about one quarter mile up and then down the steep, rugged, limestone canyons. A beautiful trail, a hike we have anticipated ever since visiting here more than 15 years ago. A good overview of Texas Hill Country terrain. Driving through the countryside we saw what to me is Texas…. Ranch Gates and ranches! A real cowboy scene and ranches where rich Texans live. The gates are worthy of documentation. They are simple, elaborate and varied in style.
The next two days were mostly travel days as we headed for central Arizona. Another hike that I think is one of the best is located in the Chiricahua National Monument. We left the I-10 and drove 35 miles to do the hike only to find that the road was closed and no hiking was allowed that day. Thirty five miles back to I-10 we decided to continue our traveling, arriving in Tucson, setting up for the night at Camping World parking lot. An hour later we had a knock at the door. The security guard told us we had of move on. This is the only Camping World that does not allow overnight parking. So, we went to Flying J Truck stop. All turned out well and we headed to Sedona the next day. We enjoy visiting friends and relatives along the way, one of the bonuses of our lifestyle.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles, California
One week we went to
San Diego and stayed with a
friend. We saw La Quinta Resort Golf Course,
San Clemente and
Carlsbad where we
enjoyed the Flower Fields,
Spring is here and it was the perfect time to visit The Flower Fields located in
Carlsbad. You get the opportunity to stroll the 50 acres of a special strain of
flower called the Giant Ranunculus, which is one of the finest flowers native to
Asia Minor and is a member of the buttercup family. What a sight to behold with
the multi-colored floral design fields. Old Town (more history) were other side
attractions. The Padres were in town playing the Giants. It
gave us a chance to see Barry Bonds in action and have a tailgate party prior to
the game! Mary Ellen lived there
when attending San Diego State University in the late 1960’s. Things have really
grown. We visited friends that M.E. knew when living in Italy.
Two weeks of snorkeling, touring volcano's, water falls and doing the hula on the road to Hanna in Hawaii and Maui made another special side trip on our journey through America.