The Long Winding Road Home

It seems enquiring minds want to know why the Canadian Maritimes look so green in January… well, it’s because I’m way behind in my postings.  But I have a good excuse.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

I had a few nips and tucks, nothing serious, so no worries.  I’m already back on the road and wintering near lovely Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  But before we get to my latest adventures in Mexico I must finish up the final chapter of our summer/fall 2012 East Coast expedition.  Every red pin was a stop along the way.

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Have you ever tried chasing the fall foliage in search of the perfect display?  That was our quest as we headed back south from Canada.

First stop was Squam Lake in Holderness, NH where they filmed the movie “On Golden Pond” with Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda.  And Golden it was!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Our good buddies, Wanda and Rick, have the cutest summer cottage right on Little Squam Lake.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And what fabulous hosts they were!  We were treated to a boat trip where we hung out with the loons.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

(Now this is the perfect way to commute to your lake house!)

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We took country drives, stopping to shop for cheese and the perfect ginger ice cream (named after me of course) at the tiny Sandwich Creamery.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We drove the Sandwich Notch Road through the White Mountain National Forest which is essentially unchanged since the 18th century when it was the main trade route from the sea to the north.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

But alas, no peak display yet.  Checking online it looked like Vermont’s leaves were ripening faster than New Hampshire’s so we sadly moved on in search of the so far elusive fall fireworks.  Unfortunately the weatherman was doing us no favors.

Vermont’s Route 100 is one of National Geographic’s “World’s Most Scenic Drives” so our goal was to drive the entire length from north to south.  We started in Eden Mills, VT where we stayed at the Lakeview Camping Area.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

A little soft focus on the right patch of leaves works wonders.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

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As you travel south on Route 100 you pass the famous Stowe ski area. The narrow two-lane road weaves in and out of beautiful canyons as the Green Mountain State Forest rises up on your right.  Ski resorts abound as you pass through Warren and Hancock.  We pushed south past Ludlow and lovely Weston, through the Wardsboros and all the way to Wilmington.  We covered a lot of ground in one day as the sun was out for the first time in days and it wasn’t going to stay that way.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

But the further south we got, the greener the leaves so we headed north again, this time to Lake Placid, NY where the higher elevations would surely yield the most spectacular colors.  But it was cold and raining cats and dogs.  Trying to dodge the weather yet find the best fall foliage was proving very difficult.  Camping in the cold rain is just no fun.  So after almost 3 weeks of waiting and searching we sadly gave up and headed back south to Gettyburg, PA.

The battle at Gettyburg had the largest number of casualties in the Civil War and is often described as the war’s turning point ending Lee’s invasion of the North.

It was haunting in the rain and mist.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

But the sun was out in Washington DC!  I went to the White House looking for Bo, but he didn’t seem to be home at the time.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

A beautiful day at the United States Capitol.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And a visit to the Museum of Natural History.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Elephants sure are big!  Of course he’s the biggest one on display anywhere in the world.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We meandered through Virginia, to West Virginia (all in the rain).  The nice thing about off season camping is you can have an entire campground to yourself.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We arrived at the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, OH for 2 days of necessary repairs and then made our way to Lexington and Mount Sterling, KY where my human’s peeps hail from.

We stayed at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground outside of Lexington, a working horse farm and an educational theme park.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And we enjoyed a lovely dinner with beloved family; Uncle Bob and Susan, Joe and Jeff.

bob dinner

And a wonderful brunch at Aunt Mary Lynn’s before we drove to the small but famous town (in our family) of Mount Sterling, KY.  Though the population is a mere 6,000 we arrived on Court Day when around 150,000 visitors descend to buy, sell and trade at the giant town-wide flea market.  The tradition began in the 18th century when Mount Sterling was the trade center of eastern KY and continues to this day on the 3rd Monday of October.

We had a fabulous lunch with Betty and Jack and visited various family historic sights including the Mount Sterling/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce where my Super-Awesome Papa Stew is in the Hall of Fame.

gingerphotobomb

And of course we had to visit the famous Ruth Hunt Candy factory.  Ruth used to serve her homemade candies to her bridge club and in 1921 decided to open her own store.  Her  cream candies have been a tradition in my family for generations!

photoRuth-Hunt

Next up… Nashville, TN to spend some quality time with my brilliant singer, songwriter and recording artist cousin Joe Turley and his lovely wife Marie and their son James (check out Joe’s music at http://www.joeturley.com).  They took us to see the “Doyle and Debbie Show”,  described as  “…a gloriously tacky send-up of a washed-up country duo.” according to The New York Times.  And boy were they right, my face actually hurt from laughing so hard!  I wasn’t even offended when they sang “Fat Women in Trailers” cause I knew they most certainly were not referring to me.

We had to pry ourselves away from our Kentucky family to finally head west on US 40, the old route 66.  But before we crossed the Mississippi River we made a quick pit stop in Memphis, TN to visit with my brotha from anotha motha, the amazing and talented Corey Parker.  And I got to meet his beautiful wife Angela and their wonderful son Baker over some amazing BBQ!

And before you knew it we were back out west, in Santa Fe, NM (well, a 1000 miles later).

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

While staying at the lovely Trailer Ranch right in town I was actually recognized by a fan of my blog.  “Is that Ginger? From Ginger Goes Glamping?”  I humbly replied I was indeed the famous Ginger.  And I didn’t even have my glasses on at the time!

I had a wonderful homemade dinner at my Uncle Lenny’s house and another marvelous evening at my buddy Inca’s beautiful Tesuque compound.

After filling our bellies we headed north to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa where they have a basic campground with hookups.  We watched the cottonwoods shimmer as we soaked in the hot arsenic pool.  Don’t worry, it’s good for you.  Ojo is the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water including lithia, iron, soda and arsenic.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We continued north to Heron Lake State Park at an elevation of 7,186 ft but it was cold cold cold…

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

so we headed west again on US 40, where we stopped at the world’s best preserved meteor impact site near Winslow, AZ – before standing on the corner…

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Soon we were surrounded by the Red Rocks of Sedona, AZ where you must do the Pink Jeep Tour.  We stayed at the lovely Dead Horse Ranch State Park in nearby Cottonwood, AZ.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

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© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We stopped for a yet another superb dinner at Aunt Kathy’s in Phoenix before crossing the border into California.  I was in such a hurry to see my BOY and we arrived just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with him.

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We certainly had so much to be thankful for.  The last 18 months and 50,000 miles on the road has been the most amazing journey!  We couldn’t wait to spend the holidays with our wonderful friends and with our special, loving and supportive family without whom this incredible experience would not be possible!

Coming up next:  South of the Border!

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The Canadian Maritimes

I hope you’re ready for more Lobsters and Lighthouses!

We were excited to cross the border into Canada as we love the people and the scenery.  Our first stop was the Seaside Tent and Trailer Park in St Martins, New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy.  Here they have one of the biggest tidal fluctuations in the world, up to 55 ft.  As the tide recedes you can walk the ocean floor and go right into the sea caves.

Here’s a picture of low tide and high tide.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We got a spot smack on this bay where I met a new friend, Honey and her wonderful humans.  We traded camping stories and enjoyed the view.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The village of St. Martins, with it’s scenic covered bridges, is at the beginning of the famous Fundy Trail. This area is one of the last coastal wilderness areas between Florida and Labrador.  It has towering cliffs, waterfalls, and panoramic vistas of  unspoiled beauty.

We pushed on to Prince Edward Island.  PEI, as it’s called, is Canada’s smallest province and has 1100 miles of coastline and 63 lighthouses.  That’s one lighthouse for every 34 square miles.  Oy vey!

From past experiences we knew there was no way we would find availability in a Provincial Park, the Canadian equivalent of our State Parks.  Why?  Because if it’s camping weather the Canadians are “oot and aboot”.   We found a wonderful private campground, Twin Shores near Darnley, and settled in to explore the island.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We drove the North Cape shoreline, with its red sandstone cliffs.  The iron concentration in the soil is very high here and oxidises when exposed to air.  Do you think it actually turns the water rusty?  Looks that way to me.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Next we visited the tallest Lighthouse on the Island (see, I am being discriminating).

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – West Point Lighthouse, PEI

And this next Lighthouse is on the “seldom seen” list.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Old Cascumpec Lighthouse

But moving on… The Central Coast Drive near Cavendish was beautiful.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We drove the PEI National Park Drive, stopping to see the Covehead Harbor Lighthouse.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Boy, they sure are serious about their “Anne of Green Gables” here.  For those of you that don’t know, this was a book written in 1908 by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. It’s been translated into 20 languages, sold over 50 million copies, spawned numerous sequels and turned into countless TV shows, movies and plays.  I haven’t read the book but it looks like everybody else has, especially in Japan where Anne is an icon.  Japanese tourists dream of getting married on Anne’s farm in Cavendish, and actually do.  Some even arrive at the airport wearing red pigtails.  Now that’s dedication.

When my humans first tried to convince me to put on the Anne pigtails and hat I refused but their bribe of turkey treats convinced me and I must say I look pretty cute.  When in Rome…

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Unfortunately our schedule didn’t allow us to do the Points East Coastal Drive cause it was time to move on to Cape Breton Island.

Cape Breton is known for it’s traditional fiddle music and it’s spectacular coastline. First stop was MacLeod’s Beach and Campsite. We loved this place immediately even though we arrived during a big blow.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

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© 2012 Richard Broadwell - MacLeod's Campsite

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – MacLeod’s Campsite

And one more picture because I loved this place so much.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

From there we hit the Cabot Trail which is 185 miles long and loops around the northern tip of the island through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The highlight for us was Meat Cove.  It felt like the end of the earth even though Newfoundland lies just 500 miles to the north.  This spot was worth the 8 miles of well graded dirt road as it’s rated one of the 10 most scenic campgrounds in Canada and deserves the distinction.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The dirt road dead ends right at the family owned Meat Cove Campground.  The McLellan family have lived and fished in Meat Cove for 6 generations.  And what a beautiful spot!  Grassy cliffs right on the ocean.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell - Meat Cove Campground

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Meat Cove Campground

But you do have to be careful, duh!  A couple of days before we arrived a lone tent camper who had pitched his tent on this rock protruding from the cliff fell to his death.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The local news was full of demands to erect a fence… but it would be a shame to mar such a beautiful spot.  You just have to use common sense; don’t wander around in the dark, and tie up us crazy dogs fosho.

On our second night a full moon rose right in front of us.  We would have stayed longer but the weather turned.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

So we headed back to the Cabot Trail and continued along the east side of Cape Breton in the rain.  Luckily we found a great campground to wait out the weather, Joyful Journeys, right before the ferry to Englishtown.  I hung out with some new buddies; Simon, Broadway, Faith and Shiloh the cat while I waited for the sun to come out.

Nearby was Sydney where the ferries to Newfoundland come and go.  I had heard stories from my buddy Honey about the size of the moose there, and I really really wanted to see an eight foot moose.  But a hurricane was barreling up the coast so we headed south to Halifax instead.

We arrived at the very nice Halifax West KOA in the pouring rain, just as the outer bands of Hurricane Leslie were now hitting Nova Scotia.  We hunkered down and waited.  Finally it stopped raining and we headed to the famous fishing village, Peggy’s Cove on St. Margaret’s Bay, just southwest of Halifax.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

This is a beautiful shoreline steeped in lore about the brave fisherman who’ve had more than their share of maritime disaster rescues from the Titanic to Swissair Flight 111, which crashed into the Bay in 1998.

We camped at the beautiful family-owned and operated King Neptune Campground on Indian Harbor just minutes from Peggy’s Cove.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – King Neptune Campground

It was a lovely spot, and right next to a lobster pound too.  Yummy!  And though we did go into Halifax for lunch, by this time we felt allergic to big cities after being in the wilderness for so long .

We explored further down the coast to the scenic port of Lunenburg but decided it was time to head back to the USA to await the fall leaves.

Just in case you haven’t seen enough of Lobsters and Lighthouses I will leave you with two more pictures.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Peggy’s Point Lighthouse

© 2012 Richard Broadwell - Yours Truly!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Yours Truly!

Coming up Next:  The Long Winding Road Home

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Lobsters and Lighthouses

After the horrible destruction of Hurricane Sandy this fall the weather we experienced this summer on the East Coast made more sense.  Climate change is here.  It wasn’t our imagination as July 2012 was the hottest month ever on record.  It was close to 100 degrees almost every day and the storms never stopped, even as we headed north to NYC after a stop in Annapolis, Maryland to visit my buddy Wyatt and his very special human, Cheryloni.  Oh, and those crabs were delish!  Though the weather didn’t cooperate (so no pics) we also had a great time in Annapolis visiting my cousins Kristy and Allie.

It was so stormy we only ventured into the Big Apple once, and that very night yet another Durecho (straight line thunderstorms) headed directly for us.  A tornado touched down in the city as we all hunkered down on my buddy Truman’s porch in New Jersey.

Truman

I must take a moment to remember my friend Truman, as he has since passed.  He was not only incredibly handsome but he was a “true man”, dearly loved by his humans and all who met him.  He will be sorely missed.  RIP Truman.

Truman and I bonded instantly as we huddled together commiserating because our silly humans insisted on sitting outside on the porch as lightening danced all around.  We would look at each other as if to say, “really?”.  Then we’d chuckle when a bolt hit a bit too close and they’d scream like banshees!

We left our buddies in New Jersey to visit my friend Ace.  We had to drive like mad to get there ahead of yet another huge storm.  We had yummy cocktails and a fabulous dinner with long time friends while we waited for the weather to pass.

We made a quick stop at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut to see the tall ships and then it was on to Newport RI.  One of my humans had never been to New England before so the next few weeks were all about… lobsters and lighthouses.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

There are very few RV parks near Newport, but the closest one is Meadowlark Trailer Park in Middleton.  It was tight but adequate for touring the area.  This fabulous beach was just down the road.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We drove the scenic 10 mile Ocean Drive and walked the famous Cliff Walk.  If these are  summer cottages then what the heck is my trailer?

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We also took a harbor tour to look at all the beautiful boats.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Though we arrived in Cape Cod in the rain the weather quickly improved.  We stopped for 2 days in the lower Cape so we could tour Hyannis, Barnstable, Sandwich and Falmouth.  We really wanted to take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard but the only RV Park on the island doesn’t allow dogs.  My nerves!

We headed out to the tip of Cape Cod to stay at Horton’s Campground in Truro.  It was near the dunes and the sun was out to stay, at least for few days.  We took Art’s Jeep Tour of the Dune Shacks where many famous artists have lived and worked during the summers with no electric or water, including playwright Eugene O’Neill, Norman Mailer and Jackson Pollack.

dune-shak

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Now I have seen the movie “Jaws” numerous times and so I wasn’t thrilled about swimming on those beaches.   There had been a great white shark attack just days before we got there though the signs on the beach only said “recent shark sighting”.  Sighting my *#*, the brave man and his son survived, but his bite was determined to have been from a great white.

See how unhappy I look.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

You all know by now how much I love to swim but you have to admit, I look just like a seal in the water and I had no intention of being shark bait, fosho.  Lots of humans were swimming (along with the seals) so I kept a sharp eye out… but from a very safe distance.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Luckily the Old Harbor Lifesaving Station was nearby though I later found out it had been de-commissioned in 1944.  These stations were positioned up down the Cape and were manned 10 months of the year to rescue stranded sailors at sea.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

I couldn’t wait to get to Provincetown; it’s such a colorful town but has changed a lot over the years.  It’s year round population of 3000 people swells to 60,000 during the summer. It’s an artist colony and has the highest concentration of same -sex couples of any zip code in the US.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We had a fabulous lunch at the Bookstore Restaurant in charming Wellfleet with one of our favorite humans on earth, Gayle.  We got to meet her then fiancé, now husband, the fabulous Al.  Congratulations to you both!

We were sad to leave the Cape but we had a schedule, based on the seasons. We wanted get to the Canadian Maritimes by the end of summer before it got too cold.  So we made brief stops in the beautiful coastal towns of Gloucester and Rockport, MA.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Rockport, MA

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Rockport, MA

Then it was on to Maine!

The first stop was York where we stayed in Libby’s Oceanside Campground.  Seasonal campers took the best sites but we managed to squeeze into an overflow spot with a peak- a- boo view of the ocean.  From here we toured Ogunquit, Kennebunkport and north to Cape Elizabeth.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell - Nubble Light Cape Neddick

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Nubble Light, Cape Neddick

© 2012 Richard Broadwell - Portland Head Light

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Portland Head Light

Next we scooted up to Boothbay Harbor and stayed in a wonderful spot, Shore Hills Campground and RV Park.  Though we had wanted to stay at Grey’s Homestead Oceanfront Campground, it was full.  But Shore Hills was beautiful, sitting on a wonderful inlet just above Boothbay and convenient for travelling the peninsulas.

The drives along the many “fingers” are all stunning, one beautiful vista after another.  We tried to do them all. We visited The Cuckolds Lighthouse at Cape Newagen in the fog.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And then had a wonderful lobster lunch at Robinson Wharf Restaurant outside of Boothbay Harbor.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

One of our favorite areas was Pemaquid  in the Bristol area.  There was a very small campground, Sherwood Forest Campsite and Cabins, in New Harbor that would be a great place to stay for the season.  And they have a lighthouse!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell - Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

© 2012 Richard Broadwell - Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

From there we moved up to Saltwater Farm Campground overlooking the St. George River near Thomaston where we could explore the Camden/Rockport Area.   The Saint George Peninsula is not to be missed, it was there we found our favorite lighthouse at Marshall’s Point.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

As one of my humans has relatives from the area we also visited the Union Fair and watched some tractor pulls, visited with the livestock and went to the Moxie Museum on the grounds.  Known for their smart marketing campaigns this Moxie bottle is 33 feet tall, and was designed to be easy to take apart and put back together to tour trade shows and amusement parks a century ago as a Moxie vending booth.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Moxie soda was one of the first mass produced soft drinks in the US.  It’s creator, Dr. Augustin Thompson, was a relative of ours.  His granddaughter, my Aunt Virginia, used to tell us stories of how Ed Wynn, the famous actor, would stay at their summer house on Friendship Island and later coined the term “to have a lot of Moxie” meaning a lot of spunk, on Broadway.  The drink is somewhat bitter and has a kick, which comes from its secret ingredients of sassafras and gentian root, which was used in the original nerve tonic.  The use of sassafras was outlawed in the 1960’s and the formula was changed making it sweeter to compete with other sodas but it’s fans were outraged and it was changed back to gentian root and wintergreen in the 1980’s.  It is still sold today.

We had a great lunch in beautiful Camden, famous for being the setting of the TV show “Peyton Place”.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell - Camden, ME

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Camden, ME

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The view of Camden from Camden Hills State Park.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Next it was on to Bar Harbor and the famous Acadia National Park that comprises 47,000 acres (73 sq miles) of mountains, lakes, woods and shoreline.  We stayed at the Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA, a very well run place right on Western Bay.  The sunsets were gorgeous.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We drove the 20-mile loop road to the top of Cadillac Mountain.  What a view!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And of course we had to stop at the Bass Harbor Lighthouse.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The loop road was beautiful.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We also took a lobster boat tour with Island Cruises out of Bass Harbor and explored the islands off Mount Desert, learning a lot about the lobster business and the lengths they have gone to sustain the lobster population.  It’s worked so well there was an overabundance of lobsters last summer and the price reflected the glut: around $2.00 a pound in the grocery stores where they will cook it for you.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Besides lobsters we saw seals…

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And eagles.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And glacial erratics like below.  An erratic is a boulder transported and deposited by a glacier having a lithology different than the bedrock upon which it is sitting.  I googled it.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We also explored the Blue Hill Peninsula down to Stonington, a sweet little fishing village.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

On our way north from Bar Harbor towards the Canadian Maritimes we stopped in Eastport, another quaint fishing village and saw the Fisherman’s Statue.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Don’t worry, in case you haven’t seen enough lighthouses by now there are more to come!  Stayed tuned for Part 2 of Lobsters and Lighthouses in the Canadian Maritimes.  It’s coming right up, you won’t have to wait long, I promise!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

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Deep In The Heart of Sweltering Dixie

We were in the deep in the heart of Dixie over July 4th weekend and looking forward to celebrating the holiday southern style.  As you can see, southern glampers really know how to do it right!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

But first, can we talk about the weather?  This California girl is just not used to this sweltering heat.  I was a dog on a hot aluminum roof!

It was so hot the birds had to pick up the worms with potholders.  It was so hot that when I chased a cat we both walked.  It was so hot the chickens were laying hard boiled eggs.

And finally… it was so hot the squirrels were fanning their nuts.

And the thunderstorms?  I didn’t even know how much I hated thunderstorms, or as they are now called after this summer – Derechos, a widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms.

Our first campground was deep in the woods at Skidaway Island State Park.  The first thing we did was set up the mosquito room.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Then we rushed into town to join the July 4th festivities. The waterfront area of Savannah is lovely but it was so hot I thought I was going to swoon Scarlet O’Hara style.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We got there mid-afternoon and quickly learned that when in 100 degree heat with 100% humidity it’s best to let the sun go down before going outside!

Savannah was stunning and is America’s first planned city.  General James Edward Oglethorpe (who had previously founded the colony of Georgia) founded the town in 1733. He designed his new capital as a series of neighborhoods centered around 24 squares.  They provide such a cool respite.  See if you can find Forrest Gump’s bench!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We also visited Warmsloe Plantation.  General Oglethorpe leased 500 acres of land to Noble Jones, a carpenter, constable and doctor to the colonists who had also laid out the city of Augusta.  Jones then began work on a combination plantation/fort along the Skidaway River, one of a myriad of Georgia’s coastal rivers.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We loved Charleston, SC but we just couldn’t bear the heat during the day and it’s hard to take pictures in the dark.

We happened along these kids, who had the right idea about how to beat the heat.  I tried to join in but no dogs allowed!  We did enjoy a nice breeze at the rooftop restaurant at the Vendue Inn in Charleston.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Because of the heat we stayed close to the coast after Charleston.  Next stop Myrtle Beach!  They have the biggest campgrounds I have ever seen!  They were so big you can see them from  space!  But seriously, there were a least 5 humongous 125 acre compounds with over 2000 sites each.  Cray!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Hungering for isolation after that mass of humanity we hightailed it north to The Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Ahhhhh!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We were so excited to finally get there, but unfortunately we had more bad weather.  The storms seemed to stream directly over us for days.  But we did get a few good pics of the Hatteras Lighthouse and had time to see the Wright Brothers museum.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© Richard Broadwell

Next stop was the very isolated east coast of VA. We actually dodged another tornado (we are the blue dot emerging from that purple red cell) on the way north to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

And this monster was lurking inside that storm cell (picture courtesy of the local newspaper).

We arrived shaken but alive a half hour later at Tom’s Cove Park Campground in Chincoteague and hunkered down for some more storms.  Can I talk about the weather again?  I watched my radar app and that red cell stayed in the same exact spot for the next 5  hours even though other cells were racing by.  It never moved, just dumped rain and flooded the entire area.  Never saw anything like it.

The next day was 100 degrees and sticky but no more storms and luckily we snagged this great waterfront campsite where we could watch the wild Assateague ponies graze across the water.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

I fell in love with them.  Virginia really is for lovers!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Next up was Annapolis, MD.  We had the best time visiting friends and family there.  I loved catching up with Wyatt and his wonderful human, but we got no darn pictures because it rained the entire time.  But I really loved that town.  Not too small, not too big, it has a gorgeous setting with sailboats galore.  It really is a mini Newport.

So let’s see, I count 10 times I’ve talked about the weather.  I guess I’m done now.

Coming up next:  Lobsters and (more) Lighthouses

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Florida – The $unshine $tate

After my Mexican adventure we spent two glorious weeks with our wonderful homies in California before we hit the road again.  Florida here we come!  It’s just a measly 2300 miles away.

But before we get to the subject of how darn expensive it is to camp in Florida we made a few stops along the way.  First up, White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

It’s a stunning 275 square miles of the world’s largest gypsum dunefield.  But where’s the ocean?

Next stop was New Orleans where we devoured crawfish with ice cold beer and visited some dear friends.  My buddy Marti gave me the sailing bug!  He is refurbishing a 37 foot L Francis Herreshoff Meadowlark, a boat that draws less than 2 feet of water so he assured me we can just jump off the bow right onto the beach.  Count me in!

Finally we arrived in the Florida panhandle.  After much effort we secured a spot in Grayton Beach State Park.  It was beautiful and affordable like all the FL state parks, but  not easy to get a reservation.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The beaches are beautiful along this stretch of the Gulf of Mexico, talcum powder white sand and clear blue water.

And we were right next door to the famous town of Seaside, a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Next stop was Siesta Key in Sarasota.  This is one of my favorite beaches in the world.  Unfortunately this is where the weather stopped cooperating.  Spring in Florida is usually rain free and temperate.  As we drove into the state they were experiencing a drought, it hadn’t rained in months.  But our visit put an end to all of that.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We did manage to get a few good days on the beach though.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And some sunsets!!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

But the best part of the West Coast of Florida was visiting with our family and friends.  I got to see my Uncle Jake, and my cousins Jordan (RIP), Angel, Baby Bear and the latest addition to the family, Riley.  Missed you Snoop, hopefully one day soon.  A big shout out to Aunt Turkey Lurk, Sarah, Grammy Judy, Papa Stew and Linda.  And to all the Broadwells.  Also thanks to Buddy and Maggie for letting us park in their driveway and to Ringo and Maddie for taking us booze cruising.  And Elvis, thanks for the great steak dinner!

It was a blast!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Glamping is all about the real estate.  Location location location.  The quest for the best spots officially began.

It wasn’t easy finding RV parks right on the beach, or any body of water for that matter, especially ones you can afford.   Jeez, and I thought British Columbia was expensive!

There were only a couple of private RV parks right on the beach in the Panhandle, all costing at least a $100 a night.  We’ve never spent anything close to that, even on the coast of California.  There was a reasonable park on the beach in Siesta Key, but darn if dogs aren’t allowed.  Total canine discrimination!!  We were determined in our search but then the tropical storms started rolling in.  First Beryl in May, then Debby in June.  Maybe being right on the water wasn’t such a good idea?

We had a great spot (see below) on Long Bayou at the Madiera Beach KOA for $46 a night.  But after a few days we were evacuated to higher ground when the water encroached after 13 inches of rain due to Debby.  And then there were the tornadoes!  We actually had to run to the nearest concrete building as the news anchor said “get to your tornado rooms right now!”  It touched down a couple miles south and did all sorts of damage.  Us Westerners just aren’t used to all this weather!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We did score beachfront on North Ft. Myers beach, the Red Coconut RV Park, but only stayed one night as it cost… $100 a night!

Then it was off to the Florida Keys!  Surely we would find some affordable waterfront spots there?  First stop, the Calusa Campground Resort and Marina, but again for $100 a night with fees and tax.

Next up was Curry Hammock State Park.  It was great and affordable, as they all are, but  we could only get a spot for 1 night.  All the state parks are booked way in advance even in the summer months.

Finally we found the best deal in the entire state of Florida at the Bluewater Key Resort, which is only 10 miles from Key West.  Not only was it waterfront and NOT a $100 a night (off season), they give you a lot of bang for your buck.  There are various ways to book but we used the Bluewaterkey.NET website.  Pat and Dennis were the best of hosts and pride themselves on their concierge service.

We loved our premium canal front spot with it’s outdoor living room, a kitchen and dining room under two palapas.  All spots are individually owned and decked out differently and though most every spot has it’s own dock (bay front or canal front), ours had an underwater light that made it a living aquarium at night.  And all this for only $68 a night (cash price)!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

After a year on the road we were thrilled to have real furniture and such a lovely outdoor living space.  We had a nice breeze but depending on the time of year, the bay front spots can actually get too windy.  We stayed 10 glorious days and wanted more time.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

When Pat and Dennis didn’t have availability they kindly referred us to the Bluewaterkey.COM group and we were able to get a bay front spot for around $86 a night.  There was a palapa but no furniture yet the dock was great for fishing and you know how I love seafood!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We rented a boat for 5 days and had a glorious time  before the storms resumed.  I love boats!

This was our favorite hangout, the flats off Lois Key, about a mile offshore.  We could watch the tarpon, sharks and barracuda swim by.  “Watch” being the operative word.

© 2012 RIchard Broadwell

As my human would cast and cast again, trying to actually catch these creatures with a tiny fly I would just dunk my head under water, lunge at them swimming by, snag them with my teeth and hurl them into the boat.

But did they thank me, no!  All I heard were screams, some words I can’t repeat here, then a lot of scrambling around and finally a splash. For some reason my humans didn’t want these cute little guys in the boat.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

I hooked up with this really cool dude at a nearby party island.   We belted back a few beers together and talked critter patrol.  Look at that hottie!  He really knows how to live!

All good things must come to an end but we made one more stop on the way back to the mainland, in Marathon. We stayed at Knights Key Resort and Marina for $68 a night.  We didn’t have an outdoor living room but the view was great.

And we loved the Sunset Grill Tiki Bar right at the foot of the 7 mile bridge. You could swim, drink and eat all at the same time.  And I was allowed on the deck!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We had some more beautiful sunsets before the gully washers started again!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

As we headed up the east coast the first waterfront spot we found was in Melbourne Beach on the St. Johns River.  It was an Outdoor Resorts, with a pool on the beach side and spaces right on the river for $60 a night.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

In Ormond Beach we stayed at the Coral Sands Inn RV park (see below).  We loved this spot right on the ocean and it was a bargain at $75 a night.  Further north along the A1A in Flagler Beach there are other beachfront spots, but again for around $100 a night.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We wanted to see Saint Augustine so we stayed at Bryn Mawr Ocean Resort.  There are dunes between you and the water but the breeze was good and the price was about $70 a night.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

St Augustine was a fascinating town! Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menendez de Avilis it is the oldest continuously occupied European- established city and port in the continental United States.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And the place is haunted!  Locals and visitors alike have experienced a wide range of unexplained phenomenon, captured amazing ghost pictures while strolling the cobblestone streets, and have even found that when they were video taping various areas that they ended up with some spectacular ghost videos.

Castillo de San Marcos (seen below), or “The Old Fort” to the locals, is rumored to be one of the most haunted places in the entire city.  Among the various sightings are in the watchtower it is said that a light ignites on nights that are relatively stormy.  And a soldier is often seen dressed in lavishly clothing that represents the era, looking out to the vast sea.  This is normally experienced when the sun is just starting to rise, or when the sun is setting.  And in the dungeon of the fort, many individuals have experienced strange sensations.  These sensations include goose bumps, breezes, the feeling of being touched, and many individuals have even experienced physical sickness in the dungeon for no apparent reason.  I call BS cause it didn’t happen to me!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

There is a long list of haunted places and tours are offered… if you’re brave enough!  Stayed tuned for more of my adventures up the East Coast, all the way to Nova Scotia.

Coming up next:  Deep in the Heart of Dixie!

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Viva Mexico!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – One and Only Palmilla Resort

Wondering where I’ve been?  Don’t worry, I didn’t get kidnapped in Mexico!

You haven’t heard from me because I’ve been having too much fun.  Margaritas and fish tacos, mucho mas margaritas and tacos!

And don’t forgot the martinis at Nikki Beach in Cabo San Lucas. Yum!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

But what kept me really busy was driving a 1000 miles down the Baja in a RV Caravan.  It was perfect for the wary first timer though safety wise, it’s not necessary.

Not that I wouldn’t do it again, Becky and John Smith who own Baja Winters Travel Club were the bomb!  They offer various tours, we did the “Hammer-Down and South-Bound” where they escort you down the Baja, then drop you off for 2 months, then get you back safely.  It was perfect for us.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

 

The road is definitely a challenge.  It’s 10 foot width and lack of shoulders make it a white knuckle drive fosho.  And then there were the 18 wheelers, the buses on a schedule, and the livestock wondering around.  I had to pry my fingers off the steering wheel at the end of the day, but it was worth it.

There were a couple of breakdowns and some mirrors were lost.  But our Wagon Masters were able to deal with any unexpected surprises with calm and expert knowledge.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The best part of going with a caravan was the great friends I met.  I want to give a big shout out to my besties Hurley and Jemma (and their humans too!).

I met so many other great friends, too many to name; Sarah, Chet, Bella, Briana, Mindi… but they all know who they are!

Here we all are boondocking at Santispec Beach near Mulege.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

But the very best thing about Mexico… I’m allowed to run free on the beach!  What a civilized country!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Los Cerritos, BCS

The water activities were endless; surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and kite surfing.  You never knew what you’d find in the water!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Isla Espiritu Santo, BCS

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Los Barriles, BCS

The other thing I loved about Mexico, the people!  They’re so resourceful and hard working, with a real “can do” attitude.  MexiCAN! The entire experience was a total pleasure.

And the whales!  They were everywhere, jumping right out of the water wherever we went. In Guerrero Negro I got to see where the Mama whales birth their babies.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And boy were they yummy!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Now before you have a fit you know I can’t resist grubbing for seafood!  Just kidding.  A big shout out to Carlos at Bahia Magdalena for rolling out the red carpet for us.

In Cabo San Lucas we stayed for a month at Vagabundoes Del Mar Trailer Park.  Muchas gracias to Doug and Kathy for their wonderful hospitality, and for helping us get in and out of our spot, twice.  We loved being under a palapa with our own outdoor kitchen, covered parking and great neighbors.  Another big thanks to Noel for the great golf at Costa Del Sol.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

The restaurant at Vagabundos also had the best margaritas in town.  And in case you had too many, here’s your ride home.

Cabo has lots to offer with it’s beautiful beaches, fun restaurants and great fishing.  Sunset Da Mona Lisa Restaurant was one of our favorites.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And the El Farallon Restaurant at Capella Pedregal also.  This is how you order your dinner!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And of course our all time favorite, the Esperanza resort.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

And my favorite beach, Santa Maria Bay.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Once we left Cabo I had a couple of brushes with fame.  First I agreed to be in a Sears Mexico commercial.  Our incredibly resourceful production hombre, Aleph Alighieri, hinted the commercial was going to be all about me and my glamping.  But somehow only the Airstream made it into the final cut.  My nerves!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

We loved Los Cerritos with it’s laid back surfing vibe.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

A great place for sunset cocktails and whale watching was Hacienda Cerritos, a gorgeous boutique hotel on a cliff overlooking the Pacific.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Hacienda Cerritos, BCS

I was so excited to see Hotel California, in the wonderful town of Todos Santos, and was determined to get to the bottom of the urban legend that the Eagles had stayed in the hotel while writing their famous song of the same name.

After one minute of googling while using the wifi in their bar, I was able to ascertain that this myth is false!  But the drinks were great and it was… a lovely place.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Hotel California, Todos Santos, BCS

But I saved the best for last.  My favorite spot of the entire trip was Playa El Tecolote, near La Paz.

Here we spent 10 amazing days and felt like we were part of the community thanks to the wonderful Mexicans and Gringos that live and work nearby.

A big gracias to Manuel, Gary, Francoise, James and the whole gang at Palapa Azul!

I also met some new friends, Ruff (who has since sadly passed, RIP Ruff), and Inca from Santa Fe, NM and their wonderful humans who are fellow Airstreamers!

I followed my bliss at Tecolote Beach.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Playa Tecolote, BCS

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Playa Tecolote, BCS

At Playa Tecolote we booked a boat tour from my main hombre Manual at Marlin Adventures to the beautiful Isla Espiritu Santo, where we saw some incredible sights.

Including the famous Blue Footed Booby!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Isla Espiritu Santo, BCS

Nearby Balandra Bay is beautiful but please remember to shuffle your feet because of stingrays.  Manuel has his hands full taking care of tourists who don’t shuffle!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Balandra Bay, BCS

The famous mushroom rock at Balandra Bay.

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Balandra Bay, BCS

This was my favorite bar and hangout, Palapa Azul.  To all our buddies we met there, we miss you so much!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell – Playa Tecolote, BCS

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

Their margaritas were killer.  The secret ingredients; fresh lime juice, tequila, and Damiana.

Damiana is a herbal based liqueur grown in Baja.  It has an ancient reputation that goes back to the Mayans.  And I know why, it makes you crazy!  In a good way.

As you can see I wasn’t happy that we had to leave my favorite place or all of Baja for that matter!

© 2012 Richard Broadwell

I vow to return, by hook or by crook!

Coming up next: Florida, Here We Come!

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California Dreaming!

Homesick, me?  No way… not with all of my wonderful adventures.  Yet crossing the border into California felt like coming home.

Having dealt with our share of fog in WA and OR we blew right through the pea soup in Eureka and headed straight for Avenue of the Giants.  This world-famous scenic drive  runs through Humboldt Redwood State Park.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

After staying the night at the worst RV park of the entire trip (it shall remain nameless) we were anxious to get back to the coast so we left the 101 and jumped onto Highway 1 in Mendocino County.  The white knuckle drive on the winding narrow road was so worth it for when we hit the ocean… NIRVANA!

Our first stop was Westport State Beach- Union Landing.  It was perfection.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

We camped right on the bluff overlooking the Pacific for $11 a night (no hookups).  With sailor showers we can last 3 days without having to refill the fresh water tank.

@ 2011 Richard Broadwell - Westport State Beach

We turned on the iPod and dined every night at sunset with a roaring fire.  I’m talking prime real estate here with million dollar views!  Check it out.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

Talk about a perfect sunset!

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

Even though we were nearly out of water we didn’t want to leave, ever!

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

One last picture of me in my favorite spot!

The northern part of Highway 1 follows the pristine Mendocino coastline with it’s rugged canyons, fog-shrouded cliffs, and windswept cypress trees.  It rivals, if not exceeds the Big Sur portion of the same highway.  This coast was so stunning, so isolated, and so beautiful I wanted to cry at the thought of leaving.  But then we got to the Sonoma coast.  More bliss and crab chips to come!

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

We stayed just north of Fort Ross at the Ocean Cove Campground.  It was a private RV park with no hookups on 20 oceanfront acres that borders Stillwater Cove State Park.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

We would walk the bluffs everyday where one of my humans would negotiate the headlands, with waves crashing on either side, just so she could point her phone south towards civilization and try to get a cell signal.  And it worked!  We still needed to know  the world was turning without us.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

Our night sky!

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

After we negotiated many miles of hairpin curves on the cliffs heading south we stopped in Bodega Bay where they filmed Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS.  Sheez, did they really have to watch it again?  I was careful not to excite any birds after that.

We hit San Francisco during an unusually early winter storm so no good photos to post but we loved walking the city and had a fun dinner with San Fran city girl, Amber!

On to Half Moon Bay where I was reunited with Bella, my BFF from the very first post – Girls Gone Wild in Lake Havasu.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell - Half Moon Bay, CA

I was disappointed my fiance Charlie was unable to make it, but I was so glad to see my other homies, Eileen, Jason, Susan and Bob!  Unfortunately, I had come to think of the trailer as MY big dog house, so I was a little territorial when Bella first arrived, but I finally chilled enough to have a sleep over.

We continued south to Santa Cruz and stayed right on the beach where it was hot, hot, hot!  Love those Indian summers on the coast.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell - Seacliff State Beach

Feeling guilty about lounging on the beach everyday we headed inland towards the Sierra Nevadas.  It felt good to be back in the mountains.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell - Yosemite National Park

© 2011 Richard Broadwell - June Lake, CA

© 2011 Richard Broadwell - June Lake, CA

© 2011 Richard Broadwell - Convict Lake

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

This picture was taken on my last day in the wilderness.  Over the last 5 months we had visited 20 National Parks, 6 Canadian National Parks and countless State Parks covering over 15,000 miles.  I didn’t want it to end!

But instead of freaking out – I got my party on as we arrived in Los Angeles just in time to see my boy and brotha from anotha motha DJ S.co at The Roosevelt Hotel’s huge Halloween bash!  I was rubbing elbows with the glitterati all night. Luckily I got the memo about this years costume and wore my tutu.

© 2011 Richard Broadwell

When we hit the CA desert near Palm Springs it was full circle back.  Tired but happy, our 5 months on the road have been the best times of our lives.  So good in fact we’ve decided to keep going for another year, at least.  Who knows, we may never stop…

Coming up next:  Baja, Here We Come!

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