2013 … A Dream Year

angel  004What a year!  We traveled a total of 9,448 miles in Island Girl, from Florida to Maine to Canada, then south and west reaching Arizona by the end of the year.  We visited 18 states and 4 Canadian provinces.  In October we reached a couple of milestones:  one year of fulltiming and one year of blogging.

Whew!  Here’s a month-by-month recap of our dream year:

January – visited with friends and family in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

February – stepped back into nature at Everglades National Park.

March – a nice long stay in Funky Key West for ocean fun and an awesome air show.

April – a busy month: first north and west to the Gulf Coast of Florida for more family time, then back east to the John F. Kennedy Space Center and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, north to St. Augustine, and north again to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and the low country of South Carolina, and finally to Atlanta to see old friends.

May – visited the Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Washington, D.C., then ended the month in New York City and upstate New York where we visited more family and friends.

June – a quick stop in Boston and then on to beautiful Maine.

Here was our route for the first half of the year.

July – crossed the border into Canada on the 1st, and spent the month in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  Discovered absolutely astounding people and places.

August – visited idyllic Prince Edward Island, buggy Kouchibuguac National Park in New Brunswick, then over to Quebec to the gorgeous and oh so French Gaspé Peninsula.

September – visited the St. Lawrence River in Quebec where we saw an amazing number of whales and concluded our fantastic Canadian summer in charming Quebec City, then crossed the border back to the U.S. to enjoy the beautiful Vermont autumn.

October – continued leaf-peeping in Vermont, then began our westward journey with stops at Niagara Falls, then Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky,St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, visiting friends and family along the way.

November – a stop in Denver, where the journey began, to get annual checkups for all and check in with friends and family.  Then south to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

December – another busy month.  Traveled around New Mexico, south to Albuquerque, then further south to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and Las Cruces, then crossed the border to Arizona and ended our most unforgettable year in Tucson.

And here was our route for the second half

Some things we learned:

We ran a little hot this year, with an average stay of 8 nights at our 45 stops, not complaining, it was fabulous, but we’d like to slow it down a bit this year and try staying longer in each place.

We set a goal of no more than four hours driving time between stops and for the most part kept to it; averaging 185 miles per trip, but a couple of the trips were still way too long.

denver  038We stayed too far north too late into the year, and plan to head south earlier next year to avoid frigid cold and snow (although the falling snow was beautiful).

Crossing from the east coast to the west coast really took a toll on us, we were tired puppies by the time we reached Denver, and plan to stay in the West next year.

Our planning paid off in some fabulous campsites, on the other hand, we discovered that it’s best to have a balance of planned and unplanned stops.

Re-connecting with family and friends, and making new friends along the way has been one of the most important parts of our journey.

NYE2014  002And we learned to be grateful each and every day, we are so fortunate!

We wish you all a very Happy  and Healthy New Year in 2014!

~ Brenda, Hector and Angel

26 thoughts on “2013 … A Dream Year

  1. How busy and blessed you are! We are so happy to keep posted on your travels and were delighted you could visit in November. Happy 2014, and do keep in touch. You three are always welcome en la casa de Solis! xoxo

  2. WOW!!! What a year! All that in one year, year One! Can’t wait to see your “end of decade” blog!!! Congrats! You dreamed it, you planned it and you worked it!!! Great results! When is the next Florida trip??

  3. I will quote Bear Tracks “what a wonderful recap!” – it was so good to meet you in Baddeck, and then to follow your adventures for the rest of your time in eastern Canada, before you headed south to try to avoid winter weather. Best wishes from Canada, Lois Logan

    • Hi,Lois, so nice to hear from you! We’ll never forget our summer in the Canadian maritimes and Quebec. This summer we plan to explore western Canada. Thanks again for the tip about the whales! Best wishes to you in 2014.
      Brenda

  4. Wonderful post! How amazing it is to see the year pulled together is story and photo.

    See you in 2014! When are you in San Diego??

  5. What a brilliant year… the description tells it all and the photos are just magnificent… glad I found you and look forward to this years touring with you…

      • Went and had a look at the photos of Africa… brilliant… my son and I are taking a trip together this year to Etosha National Park in Namibia, a life long dream of mine… where 300 elephant in one herd is quite common… I’m sure in the week we are there I’m likely to get 5000 odd photos that will keep my blog going for a long time… don’t know how far you’ve been in my blog to see some of my captures, but I do appreciate the follow you have signed up for… I do enjoy your travels…

      • Thank you! Your trip sounds fabulous, elephants are so touching. I’ve seen some of your lion photos so far – so regal. I’ll be sure to check out more once I catch up a bit more on writing our blog – having too much fun!
        Brenda

  6. Yes, what a wonderful year! Thanks so much for taking me along with you! Loved the posts and photos. Here’s to a peaceful, fun, happy, and prosperous new year! Lots of love to you, Brenda, Hector and Angel! A warm hug, Rebecca

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s