Hello everyone! We had a wonderful year in 2016 traveling our great country. This year we traveled over 8,000 miles and went to 14 different states (some of them twice 🙂 ). Here is a picture blog of our KARE travels for 2016.
As most know we start each year in Ft. Myers Beach, FL also were we end each year too. We started the year with a visit from good MN friends David, Stephanie and Benjamin, unfortunately Stephanie didn’t get in this pic . . . someone had to take it though 🙁 .
For part of each year we don’t travel but still live full-time in our motor home. After our first year on the road we decided we liked to winter in south Florida. It’s a rough way to live but we’ve found ways to keep busy here through the winter until we can hit the road again. Here are some pictures of our time here through January and February.
Some friends on the beach and pier.
This one was interesting but didn’t fare well in the end.
Here’s one way to have fun with your buddy!
The first week of March we finally were able to pick up our new motor home we had ordered the previous October. Hello “Waldo” . . . Goodbye “Homey”.
March also brings the Cincinnati Firefighters to perform on Ft. Myers Beach during Spring Break for charity.
Was able to see the Twins play the Boston Red Sox for a Spring Training game.
Through the “Season” here at Gulf Waters RV Resort the Tiki Bar is open everyday and every Wednesday is “Hump Night”. There are also many “Grill Nights”, dinners and pool parties.
We also had a visit from my cousin Dave and his family . . . we just went to the Tiki Bar and had a good time.
In April we were visited by Lisa’s cousin Debbie and her guy Keith. Debbie loves Karaoke so of course we had to visit Bonita Bill’s for Karaoke night and then a nightcap at the Lighthouse Tiki Bar.
Well as the “Season” was coming to an end in FMB we had a “Farewell and See Ya Next Season” dinner at the beach with friends Bob and Cindy.
Before we headed north for the summer we had our own farewell dinner at SOBs on the beach.
Come May we started to head north. Our first stop was still in Florida to see friends who live in Inverness . . . Steph, Trevor, Nate and Karissa. One night we were treated to a “Shrimp Boil”
We spent two weeks there and had some fun times. I still went on my walks and I found some interesting things to take pictures of.
From Inverness we continued north. With the new coach we had a few warranty issues to attend to so Red Bay, AL was the next stop to the Tiffin Motor Home factory.
A couple of the things we needed to have done to Waldo required some repainting. It was very interesting to see how this was done.
We spent over two weeks at Tiffin in Red Bay, AL. Red Bay is located in the far Northwestern corner of Alabama. There wasn’t a lot of things to do but we managed to keep ourselves busy. One place we found was the Rattlesnake Saloon which was way out in the boonies but a very cool place. The saloon was built into a cavern of an old waterfall.
Another “odd” place we found was the National Coon Dog Cemetery, it too was located way out in the boonies.
While in Red Bay we took a day trip over into Mississippi to Tupelo to see Elvis Presley’s Birth place.
Back in Alabama we found Helen Keller’s Birth place.
Once we were finished in Red Bay we headed west stopping along the way in Vicksburg, MS and Texarkana, TX. On the overnight in Texarkana we had some stormy weather . . .
Moving on we next stayed for a few nights in Thackerville, OK just south of Oklahoma City. While on my walk I came across a new out of the nest Mocking Bird.
Also had a nice sunset that evening.
Moving further west we stayed for a night in Elk City, OK and a night in Tucumcari, NM. On our walk the evening in Tucumcari with “the Kids” we came across a desert Horned Lizard . . . or “Horny Toad”.
Keeping on west we ended up in Albuquerque, NM for a few weeks. We needed to get an oil change for Waldo and a new brake system for our tow car “the Silver Bullet”. Almost every evening storms would pop up all around us . . . never did get any rain on us while we were there.
The park we stayed at in Albuquerque was just a mile or two west of town. Was a pretty nice view from atop Waldo.
On the east side of Albuquerque is a small mountain range with the highest peak being Sandia Peak AKA Sandia Crest. Sandia Crest rises about a mile above Albuquerque and two miles above sea level. We took a day trip with “the Kids” to the top.
I think Tessy is a bit nervous with heights 🙂
From Albuquerque we kept heading west stopping in Holbrook, AZ very near the Petrified Forest. We stopped by Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. were they had a lot of petrified wood for sale and a museum.
We also took a ride to nearby Winslow, AZ . . . just to Stand on a Corner 🙂
Next stop for a night was Kingman, AZ
After Kingman we made California . . . only for about a few hours. About 10-15 miles west of Needles, CA we turned north to Las Vegas heading for “The Strip”. We stayed at the Circus Circus RV park right on “The Strip”.
We stayed a week in Vegas visiting with my brother Fred and family and wandering “The Strip”. We also met up with another good friend who lives in Vegas . . . Stephanie. She came by the RV park and we went to the Circus Circus Buffet.
Another day while in Vegas brother Fred and I went up into the mountains around Vegas for a hike in Red Rock Canyon.
Came across a covey of Gambel’s Quail and a young Land Tortoise.
And me lollygaggy bringing up the rear.
At the end of the trail we found these petroglyphs.
Our last evening in Vegas we wondered “The Strip” again . . . some interesting subjects.
From Santa Fe we intended to head north into Colorado but I couldn’t find any place to stay from Trinidad to Denver so we back tracked back to I-40 and headed to Oklahoma City where we stayed for a week. We visited the Alfred R. Murrah Federal Building . . . the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and the memorial there.
We also visited “Bricktown” in downtown Oklahoma City.
Moving north next stop was Kansas City, MO with an overnight in Wichita, KS where we had a pretty cool sunset.
We stayed in Kansas City for a couple of weeks so we were able to see some of the sights . . . like the WWI Museum.
Kansas City Skyline.
Continuing north we finally made Minnesota where we stayed for a couple of weeks in Waseca.
From Waseca, MN on to the Minneapolis area for another few weeks.
A great lunch one day with former colleagues.
After two weeks in the Minneapolis area we moved about 100 miles north to Hinckley, MN for another week. While there we ventured a bit further north in the Silver Bullet to Duluth.
In Hinckley there was this old bus converted into a motor home.
Duluth was the furthest point north we traveled in 2016 so from here we started heading back south with one more stop in Maple Grove, MN for a week to visit more with family and friends.
Greg and Cindy.
Phil and Marla.
Another visit back to Nestle with a couple of my favorite R&D colleagues.
Can’t forget the 100 year old camper we met there.
By this time it was mid-September so time to head south. With an overnight around Des Moines, IA and then on back to Kansas City, MO for a week to get mail. From Kansas City we headed south to Arkansas to finally visit Crater of Diamonds State Park which Lisa has been wanting to visit since we left MN in 2013.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is basically an old farm where the original owner had found diamonds just laying on the surface. He sold the farm and through the years it has been owned by commercial mining companies and eventually the land was sold to the state of Arkansas and turned into a State Park where anyone can hunt for diamonds and keep any they find.
Diamonds are found here by people everyday . . . usually 2-3 a day. There are a number of ways to “hunt” for diamonds. There are stations set up to allow people to “wet” sift with screens. Many people “dry” sift and many just walk around looking for that “shiny” speck in the dirt. We stayed here a week and spent time hunting every way possible. Here is Lisa diligently “Hunting” for the “Family Jewels”.
There have been many large diamonds found here over the years. When a “large” diamond is found it is generally given a name that the finder chooses and a marker is placed where it was found (you can see one of the “wet” sifting stations in the background of this next picture).
For the whole week we were there (searching everyday) we came up empty handed. We did find many things that “look” like a diamond (Quartz, glass etc.) and many cool Agates with some larger than a baseball. We did come away with the ability to spot a pea size shiny piece of Quartz or glass from 50 yards 🙂 .
From Crater of Diamonds we continued east and south through Little Rock, AR, Memphis TN and Tupelo, MS on our way back to Red Bay, AL where we needed a few more items fixed under warranty by Tiffin. From Red Bay we made our way south through Birmingham, AL to Montgomery, AL. We stayed in Montgomery for a week waiting for Hurricane Matthew to pass. We did get some sightseeing in while in Montgomery. We toured the State Capitol.
The First White House of the Confederacy.
The Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Martin Luther King began his ﬁrst full-time Pastorship.
The Bus Stop where Rosa Parks boarded the bus that started the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Hank Williams grave site.
Once Hurricane Matthew passed by we headed to our winter home at Gulf Waters RV Resort in Ft. Myers Beach FL. A couple of more days on the road and our travels for 2016 would be over. A couple of overnights . . . one around Lakeville, FL and one just north of Tampa, FL and we were “Home”!
Shortly after we got “Home” we got what Lisa has been wanting for a long time . . . our own golf cart.
“The Crimson Cocktail Cherriot”.
It has been good to be “Home”. The Tiki Bar opened the day before we arrived so it’s been great seeing all our Gulf Waters Family as they arrive for the season.
So far there has been a Halloween party.
Some great Grill nights.
Lounging by the pool/Tiki Bar on a lazy day.
Back to my walks on the Beach 🙂 .
A pre-Christmas dinner with David, Stephanie and Benjamin on the beach.
A fun Christmas boat parade.
Christmas Eve dinner with good friends Bob, Cindy and Chelsea at Doc Ford’s.
Fourth Annual Christmas Day Mini Golf.
Fun with family at the Lighthouse Resort/Tiki Bar.
A surprise birthday party :-0 .
And last but not least a great New Years Eve party at the Gulf Waters Clubhouse.
HAPPY NEW YEAR Everyone!!!!! Have a Great 2017 !!!!