WEEK TWENTY-THREE: PARTY, PAINTING, PUPS, AND CHEER

Thursday 9-16
Camping Party
Since returning to Florida, we have been camping in Apopka, near our Aunt Moreen’s. We decided to have a small gathering of family and friends at our campgrounds (Moreen’s neighbor Del was kind enough to let us stay at his nursery—we had our own spacious campground in a beautiful setting). Here are a few pics from that event.

Cousin Chris Mischevious Nephew
Pretty Niece Old Time Buggy

Saturday 9-18
On Saturday morning, Jan painted the parking space for her niece, Haley, at her high school. There was only a three-hour time limit to complete this project, however, Jan was fortunate to have two competent assistants—Aunt Moreen and yours truly. Nice result, don’t you think?

Art Project Haley Parking Art

Pups Across America!
Sunday 9-19
Pup Shoot
At the party mentioned above, I had the chance to meet Sally, a gorgeous Golden Retriever. Sally’s pet parents are Todd and Heather, the son and daughter-in-law of Anne and Pete, longtime friends of the Gourdies and now friends of ours. Ann is also an accomplished photographer, so we thought it would be fun to work together on a shoot of Sally. Here are some shots of this loveable pup. My favorite shot of her is “Sweet Sally.”

Sweet Sally Sally on the Move
Sally _ Toy Sally _ Heather

I also had to include here the shot of Jen and Jer—that Jer is such a player!

Jen _ Jer

Saturday 9-25
Cheer
Mid-afternoon I had the chance to take a few photos of Niece Taylor, one of the lead Apopka Pop Warner cheerleaders. Here are a few shots of Taylor in action (she’s the cute one on top), and her teammates.

Go Team Go Catch Me
Pray for Uncle Alex Stiff Arm Football Fan

Travel Tools and Toys – Gadgets for fun and productivity: iPhone 4
I just upgraded to the iPhone 4 and I am excited. I will be sharing more on this amazing gadget as I learn. However, if you are a slow texter or just hate typing, I have the solution for you. Visit my work blog to learn about the free app Dragon Dictate, a powerful productivity tool. It can speed up your texting and e-mailing 300%.

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WEEK TWENTY-TWO: HOMEWARD BOUND

Rearview Mirror
Start: Estes Campground at Mary Lake, Estes Park, CO
Stop: Rest Stop somewhere in KS
Stop: Paducah, KY
Stop: Tifton, GA
Stop: Apopka, FL



Sunday
Major Change of Plans
We had gotten the word the day before that Uncle Brad had a stroke which caused a car accident, and he was in rough straits*. Therefore, after considering our options, we decided to head to Orlando to give a helping hand to his family if we could. By 10:00 we were ready to go, and with Austin in the co-pilot chair and Jan driving the bus, we were off. We took 36 east past Longmont, I-25 south for just a few miles, and then east on 52 and south on 79 to the Bennet exit on I-70. Going this route let us see some country we hadn’t looked at before and also bypass the entire Denver metro area. Just as we pulled in to fuel up at a Conoco, up drove Austie’s parents, Kelly and AJ. (Note: Kelly is one smart daughter-in-law—she walked into the door carrying a plateful of delicious scones just out of her oven!) We made the Austin hand-off and it was on to I-70 east.

Sleepy CoPilot Waking Up Kelly

The End of Motoring Across America ’10
From then on we took Interstates until we stopped in Apopka, Florida, officially ending the Motoring Across America journal for 2010 on Wednesday, September 8.

Notes:
  1. If the stars align, we plan on motoring across America again in 2011. We hope you will join us. I have some ideas in mind to make things even more interesting and fun. We will probably head out in April.
  2. I will continue to update this blog when I feel I have something worth sharing. So if you have not done so, please sign up (right side of the home page) to be alerted via e-mail when I add new posts, pics, or videos. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me at alex@PupsAcrossAmerica.com.

*I’m sorry to say that Brad passed away on Thursday, September 9.

Summary of the 2010 Motoring Across America Journey
Motoring Facts
  • Days Traveled: 147
  • Days We Had Fun: 147
  • Days spent in locations cooler than Florida: 137 (more or less)
  • Mornings I Awoke Looking Forward to the Day: 147 (well, almost)
  • Motorhome Miles Driven: 10,115
  • Towed Car Miles Driven: 2,100 (estimate)
  • Days Spent on the Pacific Ocean: 47
  • Gallons of Diesel Fuel Burned: Yikes! I don’t want to know!
  • Breakdowns: (Only one major one—of course it had to be at the top of a mountain in 100-degree weather)

Highway Signs Most Often Seen
“15 MPH Curve”, “7% Grade”, “Road Narrows”, “Road Work Ahead”, “Narrow Bridge”, “20 MPH”, “9% Grade”, “Bump”, “Wildlife Crossing”, “Slow and Winding for the Next 93 Miles”.

Cool Places Visited
  • National Parks and National Monuments: 11 (Joshua Tree, Redwood, Lewis & Clark, Rocky Mountain, Chaco Culture, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Pinnacles, John Day Fossil Beds, Aztec Ruins, Canyon de Chelly)
  • State Parks We Camped At: 10 (Florida—Lake Manatee, Anastasia; Texas—Palo Duro Canyon; Colorado—John Martin Reservoir, Cherry Creek State; California—Salt Point; Oregon—Devil’s Lake, Fort Stevens, Stub Stewart, Clyde Holliday)
  • National Campgrounds We Stayed At: 4 (Cottonwood Campground at Canyon de Chelly Park; Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park; Flagg Ranch Campground, Yellowstone National Park, WY; Bluebell Campground, Siuslaw National Forest; Coos Bay, OR)

Personal Highlights
  • Pre-dawn hikes and early morning beach walks
  • Camping with Austin and sharing his birthday
  • Howling coyotes and bugling elks
  • Hooting owls and screaming hawks
  • Critter sightings and Mariachi bands
  • Evening campfires and making S’mores
  • Manicured botanical gardens and fields of wild flowers
  • Roaring waterfalls and gurgling streams
  • Rugged mountains and rolling hills
  • Dry gulches and deep canyons
  • Oceans and prairies, beaches and fields
  • Young pups and old dogs
  • Cowboys and Native Americans
  • Old tractors and lots of motorhomes
  • Big winds and rolling fog
  • Really big trees and really big rocks
  • Anastazi ruins and big city museums
  • Family and friends (old and new)

botanic_best_thumb anasazi_hulk Waves and Spray
Redwoods Farm Country Mt_ Hood

Wildlife Observed
Grizzly bear, blue whale, rattle snake, mountain goat, woodstork, elk, bison, pronghorn, mule deer, roseate spoonbill, dusky quail, black bear, vulture, coyote, great horned owl, wild turkey, alligator, raven, humpbacked whale, bald eagle, gopher, risso dolphin, black-tail deer, California condors, sea otter, magpies, little blue heron, squirrel, bluebirds, peregrine falcon, common quail, trout, yellow-bellied marmot, black-footed albatross, red-tail hawk, mouflon sheep, great white egret, prairie dog, great blue heron, tri-colored heron, minke whale, cattle egret, seal, white-tail deer, sea lion.

Mr_ Mole Rocky Seal Tail Slap
Bald Eagle Mouflon Momma Bison Eye

Observed Ruts (mating season): Man what a show!
Elk, bison, wild turkey

Photography
  • Pictures Taken: 20,000 (estimate)—probably half were of Jerry or Mitzy!
  • Pictures Kept: 1922
  • Pictures Displayed in Travel Blog: 491

Most Common Words Uttered
“Wow”, “Beautiful”, “Geez”, “Look at that!”, “OMG”, “Gorgeous”, “Unbelievable”, “Just wonderful”, “Awesome”, “Did you see that?”.

Bus Driver _ Assistant

What a wonderful country and what a wonderful trip!
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