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Well, that sums up our weekend.  At the last minute, that minute being Thursday morning, we packed up the Tacoma and headed to Nashville for B & K’s wedding.  We made it into Georgia by Thursday night; we camped at the Stephen C. Foster State Park, which was a very nice surprise 🙂  Deer, alligators, nice campsites…this place had it all.  And, we timed it just right to enjoy some seriously cool temps, like 50s (maybe even 40s in the middle of the night).  On a high note, though, I got my wish…I got to bust out those scarves after all 😉  

Anywho, we made it to Nashville just in time for the Rehearsal Dinner at B & K’s new crib (the cutest pile of bricks in Nashville!).  It was great to see all the fam, of course.  And, Saturday, we had some time to kill before the wedding so we took lil’ bro, P, and checked out downtown Nashvegas.  If you haven’t been to Nashvegas, I highly recommend it.  Even if you aren’t fond of country music.  Oh, and to boot, the weather was awesome.   In any event, we totally made like tourists and took our pictures on bridges and with plastic Elvis replicas and extremely large boots.  I’m not lying:

     

Then, the Wedding!  Great Success!  Both sides came to the table with a resounding “I will!” and it was a fantastic night at the Wild Turkey Ranch!  Amazing weather, chocolate cake, BBQ, Budweisers, family, horses….it was all perfect 🙂  Anywho, we’ve had a long drive back to Florida, so I’m hoping some pictures will speak a thousand and one words for me tonight….  And, to the new Bride & Groom, we love you and wish you the best!!!! 

Now that I actually have more than five minutes to type something, here I go….

The last year has been quite a journey. We had the chance to visit 3 countries (AU, NZ, USA), and traveled over 5,000 miles through 12 states (OR, WA, CA, NE, UT, AZ, NM, TX, OK, AR, TN, GA) in the USA. For part of the drive we were on the historical Route 66, which was pretty cool. What’s more, we had the chance to visit with 6 family members and 4 friends in different cities and states, attend a bachelorette party and spot 3 celebrities (kind of!).

All in all, it’s been crazytown, and we’ve loved every second of it!

For your reading enjoyment, some stats of our USA trip:

Start: April 13 – Portland, OR – 76,037 odometer
April 17 – Redwood National Park – 76,810
April 18 – San Francisco, CA – 77,140
April 22 – Joshua Tree National Park – 77,717
April 23 – Zion National Park – 77,907
April 28 – Petrified Forest National Park – 78,613
April 30 – Tennessee border – 79,897
End: May 04 – Palm City, FL – 81,331

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Many people have also asked us about petrol prices, so here are some we saw:

Crescent City, CA (northern CA) – $3.99
San Francisco, CA – $4.05
Amboy, CA – $4.49 (OK, this place was in the middle of nowhere in the desert!)
Zion, UT – $3.62
Gallup, NM – $3.47
Bushland, TX – $3.55 (Bushland…haha!)
Valdosta, GA – $3.59
Jacksonville, FL – $3.57

(All I have to say is, Can I get a bike!?)

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Some notes I made on the road:

“Eugene, OR area. Sheep galore. Green. Beautiful.”

“Drive to Joshua Tree – traffic on 60 East. Suburbia. Plaza after plaza, then totally different terrain. Dry. Wind farms. Twentynine Palm Highway. Morongo Valley, ‘Dig Your Own Cactus $0.59.’ Brown. No grass.”

“NM to TX. Bushland, TX. Cows. Smelly dead horse. Amarillo, TX. Steaks. Largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. Boring. Oklahoma. Windy! ‘Vote Democratic‘ billboard. Lots of cops.”

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Anywho, it feels good to be back in Florida. We’re still constantly pondering whether this will be the right move for us, but for now, it seems to be. It’s comforting and exciting to know that we’re in driving distance to some of our closest friends and family, and I love the fact that I’m in the same time zone as most of my friends!

So, what do we do next? Well, I guess it’s time to plan a wedding!

Heading into National Park #4 – the Grand Canyon – means that our $80 annual national parks pass has now pretty much paid for itself. A wise buy for anyone planning on visiting more than one park (the pass is good for up to 4 adults). (So far, the only free park was Redwood – otherwise, the entry fee has been $20 or $25 at each park.)
Anywho, I’m very tired right now, but I wanted to share some pics from our visit to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It took us about 4 hours to drive from Zion to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (the North Rim is only open between mid-May and October because snow prevents the roads from opening up), and we camped there for 3 days, 2 nights. GC has definitely been the busiest park so far, but that’s to be expected. As for weather, it was a grab bag. Sunny and blue skies, but the wind chill was a killer, and on both nights, the low was in the 30s! Sooo cooooldd!!

There’s so much more I want to say about the Grand Canyon…but for now, let’s just leave it at – it’s Grand. Fo’ sho. Go see it.

Here are a couple of my fave pics –

Wow is the word. It’s amazing how one country can hold such differences in landscape! We left Joshua Tree after just one night there (in retrospect, we should have stayed two! Next time!). Anywho, the road to Zion was a lonley stretch of highway, but nonetheless, amazing in terms of scenery. As soon as we got close to Zion, passing over the Virgin River (at 200 miles in length, according to our informative shuttle driver, it’s the 2nd longest undammed river in the West – the first is Yellowstone River), the blue skies suddenly filled with huge red and white monoliths. It’s breathtaking! One minute we’re cruising the highway through Las Vegas (I know, I know…I can’t believe we passed it up, either!), and the next minute we’re driving through canyons.

We made an executive decision to stay at Zion longer than originally thought. Our thinking was, “drive less, explore more.” Although Primetime had been performing really well, we didn’t want to push him. He loves the highway, but we thought he would appreciate the rest. And, it was a good move on our part to stick it out at Zion. We spent three nights there, and it allowed us to relax and really experience the park. Of course, we were sad to miss out on some of the other national parks nearby (Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands), but…we gotta save some stuff for our next trip, right!?
Anywho, Zion was good to us. We got to kick it at the campground at a more leisurely pace than usual, and we were able to do many of the short hikes. On day two, we decided to tackle Angels Landing Trail. Let me tell you, that hike kicked our arse! It was a five-mile trail that took us to a peak elevation of 5,785′ – not for those afraid of heights!

**Next stop – GRAND CANYON!!

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