The 4,200 mile journey-


Since last you all checked in on your road warriors in Hilton Head…… A LOT of stuff has happened!

Following the golf “throw down” between Team Brady and Team Ritchie in Hilton Head, we headed west to the Ho Hum RV Resort in Carabelle, FL for a few days where we enjoyed the beautiful natural beauty of the gulf coast, before we headed off to Gulf Shores, Alabama to join in with the Southeast Chapter of the American Coach Association’s Spring Rally held at the beautiful Bella Terra RV Resort.  The event was great success and the group was entertained by a (great) Elvis impersonator on Saturday night.

And for those who may (or may be lucky enough to) not be aware, Carol’s favorite singer, Jimmy Buffett, hails from this area and many of his gazillion tunes pay tribute to this, his old stomping ground (i.e. before his became filthy rich singing about “fins to left and fins to the right….”).  During the week we spent in Gulf Shores, we were lucky enough to take in a dolphin viewing cruise, and we were able to check out both the Flora-Bama Bar (one of Jimmy’s favorite hangouts and often times referred to as “the Bama Breeze” in his songs), where Carol searched (in vain) to locate Mick Jagger’s signature in any of the many ladies rooms in the multi-room-story building; and Jimmy’s sister’s restaurant, LuLu’s, for some great boat drinks on the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) before we pointed “Eagle & Toad” north to Virginia.

While we were in Virginia, we got caught up with our daughter and her family’s adventures and were able to enjoy two of our granddaughter’s  softball tournaments and took in a Washington National’s game before we headed west (Go, west young man, they always say) toward the American Coach Association’s 25th Annual National Rally in Goshen, Indiana.

On the way, we dropped in on our friend, Doug Brady.  Dan  and Doug took in a Cleveland Indians game.  Doug invited Dan to play golf with his “buddy” group the next day, but Dan had to decline (I think his excuse was “back problems”, but it was really un-seasonably cold, which I think is the real reason he didn’t play) – pussy.

With Doug at Cleveland Indians Game

With Doug at Cleveland Indians Game

In Goshen, we chose to pick up extra days both before and after the rally, so we called the Goshen County Fairgrounds home for almost two weeks surrounding the rally.  The fairgrounds are oh-so conveniently located adjacent to one of the country’s busiest railroad lines where, on average, 75-85 trains (yes! – that’s what I said) would pass within about 100 yards of where we were camped for the rally.  Ear plugs are standard issue with your camping receipt here, but I’m happy to report that by the end of our stay, that even I had abandoned the use of them.  We had the chance to explore the area and to eat some great Amish food as well as hunt down some old family home sites from Dan’s side of the family during our free time in the area.  On one particularly good day that Carol spent working on genealogy research at a local Youngstown library, Dan finally looked up a local barber  to give him a long overdue “shorn” to his once again long locks.

Things you shouldn’t feed your dog!

During the rally, we learned about 12 foods that you should never feed Finnegan – see attached list, if you are unsure.

Things you shouldn't feed your dog!

Following the rally, we headed south to Decatur, IN for some scheduled work on the coach.  We had planned for a two-night; however it turned into five-night stop (don’t ask) leaving us starting out late toward our early-June destination of Arizona to join Carol’s family in making her father’s 80th birthday wish come true of having a family camping trip at Kinnickinick Lake near Flagstaff, AZ where they had often camped a long time before.

RV in the shop Decatur, IN

RV in the shop Decatur, IN

St. Louis Arch, MO

St. Louis Arch, MO

Even with our late start, we managed to arrive about a week early for the family event, we drove on down to Phoenix where we spent some much overdue time with friends down in the Valley of the Sun enjoying Mexican Food and great company in the days leading up to the family camp out.

Our favorite parking spot open - Carlos O'Briens, AZ

Our favorite parking spot open – Carlos O’Briens, AZ

Pollo Fundido, done right! Carlos O'Briens, Phoenix, AZ

Pollo Fundido, done right! Carlos O’Briens, Phoenix, AZ

Our initial thought was that this family camp-out would be staged in some type of a civilized campground near where the family had camped before; but we were oh-so wrong with that assumption.  Father’s wish was to primitively camp at almost the exact site of his memories and the lake is about 25 miles out of Flagstaff, AZ on a paved road, followed by 6 miles of travel on Forest Road (translation, dirt road) 125 until it meets with Forest Road (yup, you guessed it – another dirt road) 82 to the hand chosen site that he had pre-selected for the event.  There was no way that our 24-foot trailer AND the 40-foot coach would make it down those last two roads so we staged our trailer, complete with the other woman (the Harley) secured inside at a location just off the main road.  We then proceeded to drive the RV (Dan) and the car (Carol) back to the scene of the festivities where we enjoyed three solid days of close family time without the distraction of phones or internet.  Kids and dogs ran unencumbered through the forest while parents rotated through much needed naps and visiting time.

Forest Road FR125, Outside Flagstaff, AZ

Forest Road FR125, Outside Flagstaff, AZ

Here’s a map of how our trip went from the East to West coast.  Yes, it was a crazy line from beginning to end, but more adventures await us again out west for the summer and we can’t wait!  Until next time, “Take care, my American Friend….” (Jimmy Buffett)

US map