When we took the troops west from New Jersey the second time, we made it to the Pacific Coast. For a little over a month we traversed the United States, a beautiful country, taking in the Painted Desert, the Mississippi and Colorado Rivers, icy mountain lakes in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in California and Olympic National Park in the state of Washington, and the forests of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the mighty California Redwoods, and the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington state.
|One of the great sites in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
An alluvium fan at the bottom of the mountain left after a flood.
Yes, it’s true! The trailer became very… how shall I say it? “Cozy?” The trailer could “sleep” seven, it said in the owner’s manual, not sustain their sanity. By the time we got to the west coast, we had it down to a science.
There was a floating schedule of who sat where in the travel van and at the dinner tables. See my post entitled “Keeping the Peace with Schedules” where I talk about how to create schedules to keep parents from tearing their hair out while driving and camping with kids.
The people with the longest arms in our family; i.e., my husband, our second daughter, and our son, sat on the ends of the dining tables as they could pass things between our two tables and reach things on the counters that couldn’t fit on the tables.
The “thing” that we could never find when we needed it was the toothpaste, and the “thing” that was everywhere was the dirty laundry. In fact, it ran around the camper at night. I heard it!
Our towels and bathing suits dried instantly while we camped in the desert, and the towels and suits stayed sopping wet once we reached the coast.
But we saw the county together. The great Milky Way greeted us each night, stretching on forever as if God swished his wide, white paintbrush through the Heavens for all to see. We saw shooting stars and the space station moving steadily across the night sky.
We had black bear visit the campground in Sequoia National Park some nights, although never to our particular site. We locked our food in bear lockers provided by the park. This is addressed in my post “Don’t Want This Hug.”
Food should not be left in campers or tents as bears have a keen sense of smell. They have been known to slash through tents and campers to get at food, or what they consider food. Cosmetics, perfumes, and some shampoos have strong fragrances that bears can’t distinguish from food. These items must be stored carefully if you bring them along on camping trips.
Our family went on nature hikes through the forests and mountains with rangers and saw black bear up close on this lengthy coast-to-coast camping trip. The mighty Sequoia trees towered above us like sentinels standing guard over all the earth. We stood inside their massive trunks, scarred by fire, yet still they tower and survive. These broccoli-topped evergreen trees give new meaning to the word “awesome!” I describe some of our experiences in my post “A Real Live Giant:The Mighty Sequoias.”
Fourth of July fireworks exploded amid orange cliffs in Nevada. The Pacific Ocean and California and Washington beaches were windswept and brisk. San Francisco really is straight up and straight down. The roller coasters they call cable cars should come with seat belts. They allow “goofy kids” (mine) to hang on the outside pointing and shouting, “Look Mom! That road goes straight down.” Mom couldn’t look. She didn’t want to lose her place on the Rosary.
America the Beautiful? Yes, indeed. I plan to share more stories from our cross-country adventures in future posts. I hope your summer was exciting and memorable. Please feel free to share some of your adventures. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!