"The Summer of a lifetime had to come to an end" Personal Page by richiecdisc

Middle America Politics in Orient, SD

The summer of a lifetime finally came to an end when D and I pulled into South Florida at the end of October. It was a journey that started in the same place the beginning of April and took us across the United States for just over six months. With the age of digital photography you can imagine how many photos were taken and must be sorted, edited, and put to use. Impressions are likewise innumerable and the number of pages possibly built close to fifty. Bear with me as I try to put some up as soon as I can. For now, enjoy a sampling of photos from the trip below. The USA is one amazing place!

Above is a sunflower field just about ready for harvest. But the harvest this year really isn't about mere grain as this is a presidential election year and one of the biggest in a long time. If you're interested in my take on this year's big show, check out my Orient, South Dakota page today.

the numbers?

So, what are the numbers for this summer? Well, first off just under 25,000 miles and by estimation over 1200 gallons of gas. With high fuel prices especially out west that must have run over $5000. We hiked over 800 miles through every terrain imaginable: desert, rain forest, glaciers, red rock outcroppings, and starfish studded beaches.

backpacking was the highlight

We pitched our tent in not only the finest of our national park campgrounds over 140 times but also in the vast wilderness of the park system 27 nights. In the end, it was over a month of backpacking that was the trip's highlight. Carrying tent, sleeping bags, mats, cooking gear, clothes and food over high passes to remote areas of our National Parks to escape the crowds and commune with nature is a privileges afforded only to those willing to make the sacrifice of leaving all creature comforts behind. There were 27 freeze dried food meals, around 500 Kashi cereal bars, and countless pounds of nuts to digest along the way.

local foods always on my mind

While car camping, it was more varied fare. Pasta meals along with local cheeses and salami's washed down with beers from local breweries were quite a bit tastier. Oh, we also visited 45 brewpubs scattered throughout the country and found that the USA does indeed know how to brew beer if you are good at finding it. Cities we loved included New Orleans, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Victoria, BC. There were lots of cool little towns mixed in as well.

our favorite National Parks

Our favorite national parks are too numerous to mention but ones that really got into our souls include Arches and Capitol Reef in Utah, Olympic in Washington, Glacier in Montana and perhaps most, Grand Tetons in Wyoming.

State Parks a big surprise

We also discovered state parks can be just as good as their more famous brethren especially in Utah where Coral Pink Sand Dunes and Goblins provided not only breathtaking scenery but also fantastic campgrounds with much needed shower facilities!

in our souls

As with all numbers, they only tell part of the story. What we will be left with are the impressions that permeate our very beings. If they ever subside, we'll know where to find them and if they no longer exist in this great country of ours, it will be a sadder day than if oil prices make Hummers and wanton use of water obsolete.

National Parks set the USA apart

The National Park system of the United States of America are what truly set this country apart and it is with fierce pride that we should defend them from exploitation. But enough of my political soap box grandstanding, for now we return to Florida to come to terms with not only all the places we've been but also to the future we must face.

  • Page Updated Jul 28, 2010
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