Most people have one or two New Year’s Resolutions that they make each year, and in a similar vein, we had several goals that we wanted to achieve during our year-long adventure. Before we left, we had an idea of how the trip would go and what we wanted to see and do during our year on the road.
One of our goals was to see all 50 states (okay 49. We decided Alaska was a no-go from the start, although, we had been there before). Yes, we even thought that we would park the “beast” at my mother-in-laws and fly to Hawaii (we were going to leave our dog there too). Alas, this big plan was not realized.
Somewhere around the second month, after touring Oregon, Washington, Canada, Montana, and Wyoming, we realized that we did not have enough time to visit 49 states, so we thought if we got to 35 states we would be in good shape. The states are smaller and easier to see on the east coast and the driving times between them is usually short. Ultimately, we visited 37 states (see our map) which is pretty good. As a side note, we also visited 27 capitol buildings and over a 25 national parks, 29 national monuments, 3 national preserves, 18 historical parks, 5 national historic sites, 2 national battlefield parks 1 national military parks, 8 national memorials, 5 national recreation areas, 4 national seashores, 1 national seashore, 2 national scenic rivers, 1 national preserve, 2 national parkways, 4 national trails and 2 national cemeteries. We went to over 30 museums and too many other cultural venues to count.
We also decided that we wanted to learn Spanish and how to play the guitar. Let me just say, “may llama es Brenda”; “como esta”, “bien, bien”, “Cuanta Questa” – yeah, we can speak a little bit (“muy pequito”) but to converse in Spanish is not happening anytime soon. I took four years total of Spanish in high school and college so I cannot even speak to what my problem is in learning a foreign language. But this was yet another unrealized goal (put off until next year:). Okay, our guitar playing is even worse than our Spanish, enough said!
We were also optimistic that we would get our youngest child swimming fantastically and riding his bike like a speed demon. Yep, we didn’t meet these goals either. However, he took off out of the gate reading and has been doing a fantastic job there – his reading is at a fourth/fifth grade level and his vocabulary is at a sixth grade level, so perhaps he is more of an academic than sports star.
John and I did lose a fair amount of weight on the trip another goal. Sadly, some of the pounds have returned during our longer than expected visit in California (more on this later too, read “Hovering in California”).