Is it just me, or are the first days of 2019 marching by super-fast? Maybe my perception of time flying by is due to the fact that I haven’t yet flipped over the last pages of our 2018 travels?
So, one last look at 2018 before I close out a banner year for Lowe’s Travels!
A West-to-East Route
During the 7th year of our travel adventures we deviated somewhat from our usual north-south routes. After heading north to visit areas of several western states we’ve missed in the past, we trekked back down to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then pointed Betsy east one last time to experience several new places before wintering in Florida (seemingly with everyone else in the world!).
We’ve driven many mountain passes during previous years, but that section of the western states on our map above were the most intense – verified by Betsy’s fuel economy. We negotiated many switchback turns on 4-7% grades in Idaho, Oregon and Colorado. Some notable ones were Douglass Pass at 8,268′ and Lizard Head Pass at 10,222′ in Colorado, Rattlesnake Pass at 7,513′ near the Oregon/Washington border and Galena Summit in Idaho at 8,701′. There were many thrilling moments for me and my camera, with Steve missing most of them as he white-knuckled up and down the mountains. And Betsy performed flawlessly – yay!
The last three months of 2018 were by far the worst for rain we’ve experienced while traveling. From Durango, Colorado all the way to Sebastian, Florida we were inundated with severe weather – torrential rains with flash flood warnings, tornado watches and freeze warnings thrown in for extra excitement. Steve was feeling guilty that he had requested this trip back east, but we made it with nothing more than a few lost dollars due to plan changes and a very dirty Betsy.
Old friends, new friends
While visiting Tybee Island Light Station in Georgia, I heard someone call my name, and it turned out that Ed and Sharon had recognized us from our blog. AND we have friends in common with them – Bob and Dee Dee from Washington state! We’re hoping to get up that way next summer so we can all get together.
Steve got a surprise of his own as he took a walk at Ortona COE Campground near LaBelle, Florida. Shawn of Shifting Gears recognized Steve from our blog, and when I returned from my holiday trip to Las Vegas we got together with Shawn and Kim for a nice chat at their RV. Amazing!
We’ve followed David and Sherry since 2014 when they were in Florida, so it was fitting that we finally met them in the sunshine state, even if it took four years to happen!
Jim and Diana were at the right place and at the right time when I met them in 2017. They were there for me when I was stressed out as Steve underwent his cancer surgery in Tucson. Fast-forward a year and a half, and Steve finally got to meet these great folks who were my comforters back then.
Here’s to good health!
Flying to Tucson every three months was a drag for Steve, but his checkups were all cancer-free. It was a year of good health for me as well, and while in Colorado we enjoyed five weeks of the most intense hiking we’ve ever done. It’s all good!
To all of our friends who’ve been along for the ride – from armchairs in your home or your RV – thank you for continuing the journey with us, as you definitely helped to make 2018 a banner year in our travels!
Looking forward to 2019
We’re currently settled in at our first winter digs in Naples, FL at Lake San Marino RV Resort. Although we’re not very happy with the park, it’s an OK place to pause for a month as we catch up on several annual cleaning and maintenance projects. And with good friends nearby to spend time with as we walk the beaches and gorge ourselves on delicious fresh seafood, we can’t complain. Even the weather is cooperating now, so maybe Steve’s idea to come back here wasn’t bad after all!
We haven’t wasted any time meeting up with our friends staying nearby:
After a month here we’ll begin our slow migration back west, stopping in Tucson again in late April. After that our plans are open, but we’ll likely be staying in the western states during the rest of our 2019 travels. We look forward to seeing many of our friends there again!