Ernest Hemingway claimed that: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end”

We left 36 East Middle Street in Gettysburg late in August and returned November 30 after an epic journey of 10,737 miles.IMG_0168And; we are still speaking!

That quote from Hemingway is so descriptive of the journey we made.

Driving due North to Kingston, Ontario, West to Sault Ste Marie,  then South through Wisconsin to Chicago for a 30 day stay was the first leg. Then Westward to Davenport, Iowa, West again to Omaha, Nebraska (our only disappointment on this trip), then on to Cheyenne, Wyoming, a stop for dinner with a beautiful niece in Salt Lake City, an overnight in Reno enroute to our temporary home in Bodega Bay, California where we explored Northern California for a month.

Then a visit to Yosemite National park, an abortive visit to Sequoia National Park where the 30 inches of snow forced us back, an overnight in Barstow, California where more freight trains pass each day than any other place in the world, four days at Grand Canyon National Park, a beautiful visit to Sedona, Arizona, a stop at Gallup, New Mexico (only important in the song about Route 66), an overnight in Albuquerque with a grand lunch, an overnight in Childress, Texas where there must be more wind farms than all of Europe and more cotton farms than all of Egypt,  then on to Thanksgiving in Fort Worth with our kids and the beautiful Moenickheim family, and then 3 arduous days of heavy rain back to Gettysburg.

As Jack Nicholson said in “As Good as it Gets”… it wears me out just thinking about it.

Actually, the trip was wonderful!DSCN2131This is a spectacularly beautiful country. Big; actually very big, but remarkably friendly.DSCN2077This is El Capitan, the showpiece of Yosemite National park;DSCN2103a  Ponderosa Pine that graces this lovely park. Fantastic Redwoods and Sequoia as well.

DSCN2040There is a type of moss that grows on the California trees very different than the moss that abounds in the Southeast USA, very delicate and fragile.DSCN1615A not so wild burro that panhandles for carrots came over for a close up request. This was at the bottom of the grand canyon where we were driven down a creek bed by a guide through an indian reservation to the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.DSCN2131 It is impossible for photography to do justice to this colossal park.DSCN2202I never realized that in most places at the bottom of the Grand Canyon you cannot see the rim of the canyon as it is funnel shaped and you can only see the inner canyon rim looking upward through the narrow part of the funnel. The canyon stretches for 277 miles and at places 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep.

We stayed in Williams, Arizona  for the 4 days exploring the Canyon. In 1984 when the last section of Interstate 40 was completed, Williams became just another forgotten town along the famous Route 66. The Grand Canyon Railroad was re-opened to excursion traffic to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and resurrected this town.DSCN2166There are still a few stretches of Route 66 that take you back to the time when this road was the “Mother Highway” from Chicago to Los Angeles.DSCN1571

Sedona was another item on our bucket list for this road trip.

DSCN1728

Sedona is an upside down Grand Canyon where the beautiful red rock buttes rise up effortlessly from the ground. We stayed here two nights.

DSCN1697We also explored the Petrified Forest National Park
DSCN1747and its companion park,                  The Painted Desert.

DSCN1763DSCN1764We captured a beautiful phenomenon of nature in a spectacular snow storm over the desert.

The journey took us through 20 states and one Canadian Province in just under four months. We met old friends, family and made many new friends. We took our time, enjoying the proverbial roses along the way. DSCN2190 DSCN2188

DSCN1725

After traveling to more than 60 countries, this American “voyage” ranks very high on our list of the best!

 

Bodega Bay, California. Site of Alfred Hitchcock’s Iconic film “The Birds” and our home for 30 days.

DSCN2053 - CopyWe had never explored California.

Both of us have been there briefly on business or a quick weekend trip; never together.  After the urban experience of a month in Chicago we wanted a quieter place in Northern California to taste the wine, eat the food and examine the culture. We chose the one bedroom apartment pictured above because it was literally on the bay, close to the Napa, Sonoma and Russian River wine areas, and about 1 1/2 hours from San Francisco.

The town of Bodega Bay boasts a population of less than 1000 and was the site of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film “The Birds”. The town really has not changed that much since “Hitch” rolled into town in 1963. Most restaurants and businesses have picture of that Hollywood invasion that show the stars dining and exploring the village.

The building has quite a history, originally built as a creamery to process raw milk for shipping via boat to San Francisco. It became an artist’s studio, a ceramic factory and about 16 years ago, a home and two apartments. Our apartment was the light brown corner on the top floor with a wonderful  deck for just watching the activities on the bay and listening to the sea lions and seals bark.

DSCN2054  DSCN2057

DSCN2043

The one bedroom apartment had a very nice kitchen for Eric and a beautiful view of the bay for KarenDSCN1422We spent the month of October in this fishing village exploring and enjoying new experiences.DSCN1341          Crabs are the major harvest of the fishermen but substantial quantities of fish are brought in every day. The catch of the day was most often our evening meal.

We enjoyed walking along the bay,DSCN1337enjoying the flowers of the seasonDSCN1340as well as the rock sculptures that dotted the shoreline constructed perhaps by “wannabe” druids?  Not really sure what these things were meant to be, but I surmise that since you can not build sand castles on Northern California beaches, the weekenders build rock castles.

DSCN1336Without our bicycles, we resorted to hiking almost every day along the fantastic Sonoma coast line often on trails less than a foot wide hundreds of yards above the pounding Pacific surf.DSCN1424This coastline is NOT the Florida that Eric knew growing up in Florida.    

DSCN1435This was one of the more  spectacular ocean view homes overlooking this dramatic coast.