2013 Year in Review

Well, it’s that time of year again when I want to summarize what we did during 2013 along with put in the statistics for the number crunchers amongst our readers. I think I’ll add a few new photos this year though…otherwise it’s just a boring text post and who wants to just read that.

We started out the year at Seminole Campground in North Fort Myers and pretty much continued enjoying the warm weather. We did pop down to Key West for a few days to drink at Sloppy Joes, watch the sunset from whatever the name of that square is, and visit both the most southernmost point in the continental US as well as the other end of US-1…we had seen the northern end of that same highway awhile back.

We toyed with the idea of spending the winter of 13-14 in the Rio Grande valley in Texas but things fell through with our plans to get a site at Bentsen Palm Villages right near the border…essentially they announced that they would be going ownership only and that while they would take a reservation for the winter they wouldn’t guarantee it if somebody wanted to buy the site we had reserved. By the time that all got sorted out (and at least according to their new management after the guy that said that was fired) we had regrouped and made a reservation to stay at Seminole again. On further evaluation of what our planned travels are for the next two summers we’ll be spending at least 2 more winters here for a total of 4 before possibly over-wintering in the southern California area over the 16-17 cold season…although nothing’s written in stone yet, heck we haven’t even bought that Jello yet.

With our reservations made we headed out on Mar 1. We spent a week in Sarasota at the Sun-N-Fun Resort just to verify our suspicion that the “resort life” really isn’t our style (it isn’t), another week at Low Key Hideaway in Cedar Key, and two weeks in Gulf State Park AL near where Neil grew up. After that we continued on across the Gulf Coast to Texas where we had our first New Horizons Owners Group (NHOG) Rally in Kerrville TX in early May. We did the tourist thing in Texas…Dealey Plaza in Dallas and a Saint-Saëns concert in Plano then headed up through OK to Junction City for some warranty work (since all roads lead to Camp Horizons of course). We got part of our work completed but will have to visit again this May to get a structural reinforcement installed (see the all roads lead to Camp Horizons idea above) though. After that we headed west to Colorado Springs where we visited the Air Force Academy for 2 weeks, climbed Pikes Peak and visited a bunch of cool places like Valley of the Gods. We then headed up through WY and MT for our main attraction of the year in Alberta, Canada.

We spent the month of June in Calgary (another Saint-Saëns concert), Jasper National Park, Banf National Park then finally a week in Salmon Arm BC to the west of Banff about 200 miles or so. From there we crossed back into the US in late June for a week in Leavenworth WA which is on the east side of the Cascade Mountains outside of Seattle. From there we traveled to Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside of Seattle for a week…and that’s when our plans changed.

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Our original plan was to hit all the national parks in WA and OR along with the OR coast in a big counter clockwise circle through those two states then head east from Redding CA in early September. We were going to hit Zion and Great Basin National Parks on the way to Utah where we were spending 3 weeks to see Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon in Utah followed by heading back east for Fort Myers.

What happened instead was that Neil broke his foot.

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We were parked on Lewis-McChord at the Travelcamp and were headed on July 1 across the lake in our Sea Eagle kayak…stopping by the Officers Club Marina for a beer then paddling back. Unfortunately Neil was paying more attention to getting money out of his wallet for the beer than he was to walking down the stairs from the bedroom and he slipped. Whapped his foot into the edge of the step and broke the fifth meta-tarsal…that’s the long bone from your little toe back towards the heel.

He was in a cast for 6 weeks and then in a walking boot for another 4…which pretty much killed our plans to visit and hike the western National Parks. Instead…we moved over to Graham WA near Tacoma and snagged a site with a view…Site 13 at Ranier View Campground. Naturally (since it has Ranier View in the name) we at least had a beautiful view of the mountain out our back window.

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So instead of gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest we spent 12 weeks at Ranier View. We did still get out for some Fun Stuff© as you can see from the shots below. Neil even did a half mile hike (each way) with 200 feet of elevation change on his crutches…but it was a really cool waterfall so he was determined to go see it anyway.

 

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Connie also ended up needing a D&C to solve a lingering but not serious issue on her part and we were finally deemed Free to Move About the Country in early September so we hit the road on Sep 18. We jiggered our reservations in Moab UT around so that we could still see Arches and Canyonlands at least and after leaving Graham went through Boise ID and Salt Lake City before arriving in Moab for 10 days of more Fun Stuff©.

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Our original plan was to head back through Denver…but the snow and Chains Required warnings for the mountain passes west of Denver put the kibosh on that idea. So we headed south around the Rockies instead with stops in Durango CO and Albuquerque NM (although we were a week to early for the balloon festival)…then onwards for another stop in Junction City via way of Amarillo TX the Gunsmoke RV Park in Dodge City KS. From there  we headed east with stops in Branson MO, Nashville TN to see Neil’s sister, Auburn AL and another week in Cedar Key before arriving back in Fort Myers at Seminole site 100 again on 1 Nov.

We’ll have a 4.5 month rest period here with plans to leave again on 15 March. We’ve got a trip to Chicago for a Saint-Saëns concert in early Feb and maybe a weekend at Key West but will otherwise be non mobile until then.

Our current plans are to leave here and head for Charleston SC via Jacksonville; we’ve got a concert there in April and another one in Philadelphia so we’re going to go to Fairfax for a week then visit their human kids in Midlothian VA before heading to Sevierville TN near Knoxville for the RV-Dreams Rally in early May as well as another visit with Neil’s sister. From there we will have about 6 weeks to get to Junction City so we’ll meander through Louisville and a couple other places on the way. While New Horizons is fixing the house we’re planning on taking a 2 week trip to South Africa for a safari although we haven’t made a firm decision on that yet…it depends on whether New Horizons has an issue with parking the house there for 2 weeks then we’re making a circle through the upper Midwest…MN and WS before ending up in Amana IA for the next NHOG rally in September. Then we’ll get back here to Fort Myers by an as yet not even considered route.

One thing we did notice…we appeared to attract a lot of natural disasters this year…here’s a list of all the disasters you read about on the news that happened either the week after we were there or the week we were there. We kept warning people that there might be some terrible pestilence the next week as we were moving around

  • The fertilizer factory that blew up in West TX
  • The tornado that hit Moore OK
  • The forest fire just east of Colorado Springs CO
  • The localized flooding in Okotoks Canada that flooded the campground we stayed at 3 days after we were there
  • The flooding in Alberta Canada that took out the Trans Canada Highway
  • Neil breaking his foot in early July…luckily the disasters stopped after that

 

That’s about it for our year in review and current plans…so let’s get on with a few statistics.

  • Countries visited: 2
  • States visited: 23
  • BAT Miles: 10,063
  • RV Miles: 9,726
  • Car Miles: 24,619
  • Campgrounds stayed in: 42 (22 taking away the two extended stops at Seminole,the week in New Horizons parking lot and the 16 overnight only stops)
  • Average stay length: 7.3 days (not counting the 3 periods in the bullet above, 10 weeks in Ranier View Park in Graham WA and 16 overnight stops)
  • Average stay length (all campgrounds): 8.7 days, strange how 2 60 day long stays don’t affect the average all that much, but they’re countered by the 16 1 night stays
  • Number of travel days: 40
  • Average travel day miles: 243 (maximum of 398 and minimum of 26)
  • Highest altitude reached: 14,114 feet (Pikes Peak…it was about 18 degrees in mid May)
  • Lowest altitude reached: sea level (we were actually about 300 feet underground in the Molly Kitchen gold mine in Colorado but it was 800 feet underground at about 5,000 feet altitude)
  • Closest that Connie came to a Grizzly Bear in the wild while not in the car: 30 feet. We got off of the trail and gave him the right of way
  • Northernmost and southernmost points reached: Jasper Alberta 52.8731ºN and Key West Fl 24.5592ºN
  • Easternmost and Westernmost points reached: 124.0536ºW and Palm Beach Gardens, FL 80.0642ºW
  • Photographs taken: 8207 frames for 196 GB
  • Photographs published: 2178
  • Blog posts published: 179
  • Blog views: 4900, busiest day was 14 May with 205 views
  • Countries that visited our blog: 47
  • Most viewed blog posts: Molly Kitchen Gold Mine, Edison and Ford Winter Homes, Rainy Day in Colorado Springs, Agnes Lake Teahouse Hike and other Lake Louise Area Adventures, and Neil is Bummed…The Running Streak is Over. I have no explanation for why these were the most popular. Teahouse and Lake Louise I can understand but Rainy Day in Colorado Springs is a puzzle.
  • Blog Champion Commenter: Neil’s sister MJ followed closely by his brother Ron

 

All in all…a pretty great year for us. It would have been better if Neil didn’t break his foot as we missed a whole bunch of cool stuff in the west that we really wanted to see…but we’ll be back out there again one of these years and will hit some of this places we missed.

 

Cyas.

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About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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2 Responses to 2013 Year in Review

  1. Mj Trainor says:

    I’m honored to share Blog Champion Commenter status with Ron! 😉

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