The end of the journey.. or is it the beginning?

JULY 27, 28, 29, 30

Wednesday through Saturday: Drive, camp, drive, camp, drive, camp….. you get the idea.

We started out from Waterloo Wednesday morning, with the aim of reaching Myrtle Beach by the weekend. I’m not into being stuck in a driver’s seat non-stop all day long, so I’ve set a goal of driving no more than about five hours per day before stopping somewhere for the night. Driving a car for eight or more hours in a day is one thing – certainly tiring, but doable. Steering a motor home down the road for that length of time is literally a different beast, and not something I’d like to try. Too exhausting.

So, we did five-hour trips. Wednesday was Waterloo to Champaign, Illinois. Thursday, Champaign to Chillicothe, Ohio. Friday, Chillicothe to Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Saturday, Mt. Airy to home.

Our highlights of the long drive back to South Carolina included spotting a beautiful rainbow over the hills of Southern Ohio after a brief rain storm. Lowlights included getting stuck in yet another Mother (Father? Brother? Mother-in-law?) of All Traffic Jams somewhere in West Virginia.

The main feature of our final evening on the road was dinner at a terrific restaurant nestled in the wooded hills near Mt. Airy. And wouldn’t you know it, on the little road leading to the restaurant, we drove through…

..a covered bridge. Is that a fitting conclusion to our journey or what?

We ordered glasses of wine and toasted – with sadness – the end of a most amazing month.

We made it home safely Saturday afternoon, unloaded some clothing and other items from the motor home… and collapsed.


And then depression sets in.

Our journey of a lifetime is over and we’re back home. Or, I should say “home”, since our definition of what that word means has changed dramatically for us in the past month. We have a picture on our mantel of ourselves standing in front of our first motor home back in 2009. The picture frame is captioned: “Home is where we park it.”

That was good for a laugh back then. We take it more seriously now.

July has passed in the blink of an eye. Little could we imagine how much we would see, do and learn on our month-long journey:

We learned about early race cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, early RVs at the Recreational Vehicle Museum and the early life of our 16th president at Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace.

We met Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher (or reasonable facsimiles).

In Kentucky, we saw the world’s largest cave and in Iowa, (what’s billed as) the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway.

We lost out on the cancelled-due-to-weather 4th of July fireworks in Kentucky, but discovered a rainbow in Ohio.

We searched for antiques and souvenirs (with much success), and sought out ghosts at cemeteries with divining rods (not so much).

We endured leaky roofs, endless traffic jams and tight parking spaces. We put more than 2,500 miles on our motor home, traveled through 11 states and camped (at least one night) in 8 different states.

Our map of states we have visited in the U.S. is starting to fill up a little.

And the electric toilet is still working.

We drove past a million cornfields and at least that many silos, red barns and solid white farm houses. I’m reminded of something my late brother once said about the sameness of the Midwestern landscape, that you could take a bus ride across Middle America, fall asleep in Ohio, wake up in Nebraska and never realized that you’d moved. Some may see it as monotonous. But maybe it’s that uniformity that is part of this region’s strengths. Frank Sinatra famously sang of New York, “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” But maybe the same could be said of places like Bardstown, Shipshewana, Galena, Waverly and Hannibal.

On the final leg of our journey, Deanna texted a message to my mother to tell her that we had made it home safely. Mom replied with a text that said, “It was wonderful seeing you and knowing you’re so happy together.” As usual, Mom got it right.

Thanks to all who have kept up with this blog and offered comments.

We’re making plans for our next trip.

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