Things We Learned

I found this list fun and interesting.  It was written by Ron and Kay Kuschel who spent four months in a 22 foot Class C RV.  As you read through it you will get an idea what it is like “living on the road”.  Sometimes you can read between the lines and see more of the story.  Enjoy.

 

Fifty six things we learned on our summer vacation:

 

1.      There are a lot of places in the western part of the United States that don’t have cell phone coverage (or internet coverage).

2.      When traveling out west it is wise to keep a full gas tank – sometimes it is a long ways between gas stations.

3.      Driving off the interstate highways and on lesser traveled roads is a good way to see things up close, but avoid the “real back roads.”

4.      Get to your campsite before dark if at all possible.

5.      Drive through the campground and look things over before renting a campsite if possible.

6.      There are a lot of roads in the west that have restrictions on the length of motorhomes or don’t allow them at all due to road conditions that would make it difficult or dangerous. (Narrow driving lanes, very sharp curves, extreme hills, no shoulders, rock overhangs, and steep drop-offs near the road with no guard rails.)

7.      Services are limited to non-existent on many parts of Indian reservations.

8.      Casino’s sometimes have very nice campgrounds at very reasonable rates.

9.      State and National Park campgrounds tend to be more rustic with fewer amenities.

10.  KOA campgrounds tend to be the most expensive.  They are often crowded (the campsites are too close together), but they have the most amenities (full service hookups, water, sewer, electric, cable TV, laundry facilities, swimming pools, playgrounds, boat rentals, bike rentals, restaurants, ice cream, camp stores, etc.

11.  Driving a motorhome in high winds (like across the Mojave desert in 30 to 50 mph winds) can be very difficult.

12.  On many occasions we were very thankful that we were driving a 22 foot motorhome and not a really big one.

13.  Standing where Lewis and Clark stood in North Dakota, Montana, Washington, and Oregon and reflecting on these great American’s accomplishments was a humbling experience. Their trip “out west” was truly remarkable.

14.  If you ever get to Montana – stop at the Wheat Montana store and buy some old fashioned oat meal and pancake mix.

15.  There are miles and miles of wheat fields across Montana and Washington.

16.  There are miles and miles of almond tree plantations in California.

17.  Historic Route 66 is really cool.  People drive their old cars (from the 50’s and 60’s) along this route.

18.  No one should attempt to eat a 72 ounce steak.

19.  The giant redwood trees are a magnificent national treasure.  Walking amongst these giants is truly a humbling experience.

20.  Stands of giant eucalyptus trees along the California coast give off a sweet fragrance that infiltrates your vehicle as you drive along this very scenic road.

21.  Highway 1 along the Oregon and California coasts is a spectacular (and sometimes white-knuckle) drive.  Drive it from the south to the north so that you are on the inside lane hugging the cliff face – instead of the outside lane, hanging out over the seas cliffs.  We drove it from the north to the south.

22.  Crater Lake National Park should be on your “bucket list.”

23.  El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite should be on your bucket list too.

24.  Camping in Walmart parking lots is OK.

25.  Leave that extra shirt, jacket, pair of shoes, (dishes for eight) and other things at home.  There are stores along the way if you really need something.

26.  Make reservations for Friday and Saturday night.  You can usually find a campsite during the week (except in or near National Parks).

27.  The Oregon Sand Dunes are awesome.

28.  California is a very expensive state to travel in.

29.  Oregon is an exceptionally beautiful state.

30.  Diamond Lake was appropriately named.

31.  The Grand Coulee Dam is incredible.

32.  If you are in a national park and they have a historic lodge – be sure to take the time to tour it, inside and out.  They are all national treasures.

33.  California Quail are really cool to see (and hear).

34.  Getting to see bull elk herding their cows and hearing them bugling as the evening fog was rolling off the Pacific and across the mountainsides was indescribable.

35.  Camping on the San Andreas fault and seeing the exact spot where the ground moved 20 feet during the 1906 earthquake is unnerving.

36.  Cherry pie, made from fresh locally harvested sweet cherries, is unbelievably good.

37.  Bring your favorite CD’s or an I-pod with all of your songs on it.  There are many places out west where you are out of range of the local radio stations (at least the ones you would want to listen to).

38.  Late August is a great time to be in Wenatchee, Washington if you like tree ripened fruit, like peaches, nectarines, apples, and pears.

39.  Front porch sitting is very popular in the state of Georgia.

40.  It is illegal to pump your own gas in the state of Oregon.

41.  They grow a lot of cotton in California.

42.  Bullhead City is a very long, narrow town.

43.  There is a lot of wine country outside of the Napa Valley in California.

44.  Elephant seals are awesome creatures.  They swim non-stop for 8 months and can dive 5000 feet down.

45.  Get satellite radio for long cross-country trips.  It’s worth it.

46.  Get the software on your GPS updated before you go on a long trip.

47.  There are help wanted signs all across America.  You can get a job if you want one.

48.  Level, paved, campsites are the best.

49.  Phone calls, emails, and texts from family and friends are very special and much appreciated.

50.  Portland has some great restaurants.

51.  San Francisco has many fantastic restaurants.

52.  Camping is best after Labor Day – when the kids are back in school.

53.  The National Park Service Golden Age Pass is one of the best bargains ever.

54.  You can buy a watermelon for one dollar at roadside stands in Georgia

55.  The Verizon Jetpack (portable hot spot) that we took with us was great.

56.  Public showers and toilets suck.


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