You would think that after 3 years and thousands of miles of being cooped up together on a sailboat the last thing we would want to do is be cooped up in a car on a cross-country road trip. For many of the sailing couples we’ve encountered over the years that would be absolutely right. But, to show just how crazy we are – in general and about each other – we not only drove to Canada to see our family, we took the long way and drove from Florida west all the way to the Grand Canyon then north east through Chicago to Toronto before heading back to Florida for a total of 6,000 miles cooped up in our new-to-us Chevy Equinox. The kicker is not only were we cooped up in a car, but the master plan was to do as much camping in a small tent as we could.
We got off to a slow start with camping as we left Hollywood, FL later than planned and after a quick stop in Naples we only got as far as Gainesville before it was time to stop in a motel for the first night. But, keep in mind that we’d been used to traveling at 6 nautical miles an hour for 3 years, not the shockingly fast 75-80 mph that we were able to do on the freeway, so that was a lot of miles for us. The next day, after an early start, we made it to New Orleans where, of course, we couldn’t stay in our little tent.
We found an awesome little hotel in the French Quarter that was walking distance to everything – live music, bars, restaurants, attractions and Bourbon Street.
New Orleans was a blast and highly recommended for anyone who has never been there however you may not want to be there in July as it was as hotter than hell. So, after we’d blown our budget on a hotel and too many drinks, it was time to hit the road and finally pitch our tent along the way. Our next stop was South Toledo Bend State Park in Louisiana where we managed to get a beautiful waterfront campsite for our first night in a tent.
It was gorgeous and we enjoyed a wonderful sunset by the fire (yeah, you gotta have a fire…) but that night it was still as hot as hell and with no wind it was hotter than New Orleans in our little tent. Needless to say, we were up early and hit the road for our next stop just outside Dallas and a quick visit with my cousin Ingrid that also happened to include bachata lessons at the salsa school where she is one of the dance instructor’s assistants — i.e. she’s a very good dancer. Don’t bother looking for the pictures of Audrey and I dancing. I’m just glad we didn’t embarrass Ingrid too much.
After enjoying our short visit to Texas it was time to get back on the road and after 8 hours of butt-numbing driving we pulled into Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico for the night. It was a lot cooler than Louisiana and we could have stayed longer but, even though we’d just started the trip, time was already getting away from us and we had to push on. After another full day of driving we stopped at a quaint hotel in historic old Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The next morning we hit the road for the main event — the Grand Canyon and I’m not even going to try to put the experience into words. All we can say is pictures don’t do justice and you really have to see it for yourself.
Of course, we have more images than we could possibly post here but I think you get the idea. After a couple of days of taking in the splendor of the Grand Canyon and camping at Jacob’s Lake Campground, where there is no lake, we hit the road for Moab, Utah and spectacular Arches National Park.
Once again, words don’t to justice to the majestic scenery. Arches is just another one of those places that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Now, with New Orleans, the Grand Canyon and Arches behind us it was time to put some real miles on as we had to be in Toronto for two celebrations and back in Florida by the end of the month to move our boat to her new home in Fort Lauderdale. With that in mind, we made a quick stop in Lincoln, Nebaska before stopping for a fun-filled weekend in Chicago, where we snagged front row tickets in the daily lottery for the Book of Mormon and ate the thickest Chicago-style pizza pie that we’d ever seen at the famous Giordano’s.
After Chicago, we made a pit stop in Detroit before arriving in Toronto just in time for Carolyn and Joshua’s engagement party, and for Meg’s “Big” birthday party as well as numerous visits with family and friends.
Sadly, our time in Toronto was much too short but the road was calling us again and after a quick stop at a motel in Morgantown, West Virginia and a more leisurely one at a quaint little cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee – the Gateway to the Smoky Mountains – we arrived back in Florida just in time to move Celebration to her new home.
So, the big question is after 3 years on a boat, a one month “Road Trip”, and multiple nights in a small tent do we need some time apart? I’ll give you one guess…..