Sunday, 22 June 2008
This is my final blog post from the United States of America. Its 9am and I'm in bed in a cheap motel somewhere in San Francisco. Barney is still asleep, Dan has gone to get coffee and the big kids are getting dressed and brushing their teeth. Our taxi for the airport arrives at 10.30. We will be arriving home in Banbridge at 3am Monday morning American time - lunch time to the locals. I'm sure we will all be shattered and in need of a holiday by the time we get home!
Traveling as a family for 5 months has been a blast. We've loved every moment of it. We have driven 12,576 miles spent an absolute fortune on petrol and visited some of the most beautiful places on earth. At times it seems like we've been on the road for an eternity, and at other times it feels like time has stood still while we've been traveling.
We have proved we can stand to be in each others company 24 hours a day, confined to a 30ft space without killing each other. After 5 months with no toys the kids can now get 3 hours of complete enjoying from a small bouncy ball. The children each completed 22 junior ranger programs from the national parks we visited. The completed the work and repeated the junior ranger pledge so many times that Barney was so good and cute at it that the whole visitors centre would stop to listen to him saying the pledge by the end. It's been a bit of a national park tour. 22 national parks is more than most Americans have the pleasure of visiting.
My favourite state was Wyoming (followed a close second by Arizona), Jimmies was Nevada (well I think he just liked Vegas), Annabelles was Florida, Dans was either Arizona, Utah or Wyoming and if you asked Barney he will tell you 'the great outdoors' (which was in Florida). Grand Teton came out as the families top National Park, followed closely by Zion and Joshua Tree.
Highlights of the trip include; watching the shuttle launch, visiting death row, sleeping in the middle of cactus filled deserts, Las Vegas (says Jimmie), the people, drives and parks (says Dan), seeing the wild bison (says Annabelle), seeing all the wild animals that we dont get at home (bison, elk, grizzly bears, black bears, skunk, racoons, armadillo, alligators). One highlight for Barney was feeding racoons through a slot in the RV door, back in Florida. Seeing the Aligator along the roadside in Florida was awesome, but nothing beats watching the grizzly bear and her cubs in Yellowstone.
I dont have time to write much more, but needless to say it has been the absolute trip of a lifetime. It's been worth every penny and has definitely brought us closer together as a family. Now we are heading home to concentrate on the new member of our family which is currently only the size of a lemon, but will no doubt be a big character when he/she is born. Thanks to everyone who has shown and interest in this blog and left comments. Do remember that we keep a family blog which will be continued once we get home. Until then, see you all soon!