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September 2, 2016 - October 27, 2016


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Fall Trip 2016    

    A year ago, in the Summer of 2015, we were fortunate enough to have enjoyed an amazing 40 day cross country trip in the RV.  That trip added 24 new states to the map on the side of the camper. We travelled some 9,737 miles and saw some of the most beautiful places in the USA. It was a wonderful trip!

    We had intended to do a similar trip in the Summer of 2016, but some things came up that delayed our trip until the Fall.

    On September 2, 2016 we set out on our Fall 2016 Cross Country journey. This trip had a fairly long list of objectives to start with.

    First of all, we had 8 states and 4 Provinces that were still blank on the map on the side of the camper.  We wanted to fill those all in to complete the map.

    Second, as many of you who follow this website know, I have been building a large Photo Feature on Fireboats across the USA. For months I have researched where fireboats are located and we would use those fireboats to help us map out and plan the journey route.

    Third, there were simply places we have never been before that we wanted to see.  We had not yet been to several of the best State and National Parks so they were included in the route planning. There were also some opportunities to visit family and friends, catch a few baseball games, see some more capital cities, and perhaps go back to some of our favorite spots. While we had some definite objectives, this was also supposed to be a vacation so we tried to keep some flexibility in the schedule for fun.

    We have sort of become "professional wonderers" and truly enjoy our traveling. Our camping history goes back to our first RV, a 1994 27' Coachman Leprechaun Class C camper that we got in 1995. That rig took us to all the lower 48 states and much of Canada over the 12 years we had it. We had done (2) major cross country trips (about 42 days each) in 1998 and 2000 with the kids which brought us to many of the of the great national parks and places of interest. We put over 70,000 miles on that camper as we took our young kids (7 & 4 at the time) on the road to see America! Our family became closer and had a lot of fun as we did all the important stuff to do back then: the Disney trips, beaches, national parks, amusement parks, simple campgrounds, and all that great stuff.

    In 2007 we traded that good old Leprechaun in for our second RV.  We found a 1999 Ford / Dutchman 31' Class C camper with a slide out. It was already about 8 years old, but had very low mileage (only about 16,000 miles) so it was a definite upgrade. We put a new blank map on the side of this new rig and hoped one day to once again fill it in.

    The family had of course grown up 12 years since we started camping (now 19 & 16) so the dynamics had changed as well.  Our camping routine adapted to more trips without kids and enjoyed some of those longer stay, relaxation type of vacations which were also very nice.

     But, by the time 2015 came along, we had only put 16 state and 4 Province stickers on the map.  We had this Dutchman 8 years already, but our map still looked alot like the original 13 colonies, all on the East coast. 

    We had retired in 2011 and by 2015 had put ourselves in the position to travel more, thus we set out on our big 2015 trip and added those 24 more states to the map. But clearly the map wasn't done yet. We needed at least one more big trip to get that done.

    Our Fall 2016 trip would take us to those 7 remaining States and 4 remaining Provinces.  It would in fact fill in our map.  We spent 56 days (8 weeks) on the road, added almost 12,000 miles to the odometer, photographed over 90 fireboats, and visited many of the objectives we set out to see as we literally zigged and zagged our way across the map.  We made it safely back home on October 27, 2016.

       Almost all of our past RV travel had been in the Summers.  That is when the kids were out of school and when we usually used our vacation time. By starting out in the Fall this time, out of necessity, we didn't completely know what to expect. We had plenty of time and really didn't have to be back until early November, but had to keep a much closer eye on the weather and other factors that could complicate our RV travel.  We had to pack for the heat, but also for the cold, since our travel would overlap seasons.

    When all was said and done, our Fall trip was everything we could have hoped for.  We avoided many of the crowds that we normally would have encountered during the Summer. The weather was actually almost perfect, with only a couple days of inclement conditions. We did in fact encounter the heat up into the 90's and the cold down into the upper 20's.  There was lots of sunshine, a little rain, and even some snow along the way. The Fall colors and harvest season made for some pretty pictures.

    It is sort of weird in some ways to post our travel pictures on, which is after all geared towards "fire related stuff."  For those who expect that fire related stuff in this feature, there is plenty of it.  For those who know us, or are in a similar mindset place in life, being able to share pictures of wonderful places and experiences may serve to inspire you to venture out on your own as well. We did not wait until we retired to start camping and traveling. This was our 21st year of doing it!  Where does the time go?!

    We hope you enjoy our journey.  But most of all, we hope you ENJOY YOUR JOURNEYS!

    Be safe and take lots of pictures!


WEEK 1 -
Day 1 - Cape Cod to Connecticut - Jump start
Day 2 - CT to Washington, PA - Pittsburgh
Day 3 - PA to Streetsboro, OH - Wheeling, Cleveland Ball Game
Day 4 - OH to Clarksville, IN - Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville
Day 5 - IN to Springfield, IL - St Louis
Day 6 - IL to Waterloo, IA - Peoria, Clinton, Antique Archeology
Day 7 - IA to Medina, MN - Minneapolis-St Paul

Our first camper. The 1994 27' Leprechaun.
Served us well from 1995 to 2007.

We did pretty well on the first camper map,
but obviously left a couple big holes unfilled.
We won't make that mistake this time!


This is our second and present camper. 1999 Ford / Dutchman 31' Class C RV
which we have had since 2007.

This is what the map looked like last year prior to our Summer 2015 Cross Country Trip.
We call that the 13 colonies look. It was actually 16 states and 4 provinces.

This is how the map looked after our Summer 2015 Cross Country Trip. Much more colorful
with 40 states filled in and setup perfectly for us to fill in the empty states on our Fall 2016 Trip.
Just 8 states and 4 provinces to do. We got this!

Let's get started!


2016 INDEX

WEEK 1 -
Day 1 - Cape Cod to Connecticut - Jump start
Day 2 - CT to Washington, PA - Pittsburgh
Day 3 - PA to Streetsboro, OH - Wheeling, Cleveland Ball Game
Day 4 - OH to Clarksville, IN - Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville
Day 5 - IN to Springfield, IL - St Louis
Day 6 - IL to Waterloo, IA - Peoria, Clinton, Antique Archeology
Day 7 - IA to Medina, MN - Minneapolis-St Paul

Day 8 - MN to Clearwater, MN - Crosby, MN
Day 9 - MN to Winnipeg, MB - SD, ND
Day 10 - MB to Rigina, SK - Saskatchewan, Trans Canada
Day 11 - SK to Calgary east, AB - Trans Canada
Day 12 - AB to Calgary west, AB - Drumheller Dinos
Day 13 - AB to Whitefish, MT - Rockies, Banff
Day 14 - MT to Missoula, MT - Polson, Missoula

Day 15 - MT to Yellowstone west, MT - Yellowstone
Day 16 - MT to Pocatello, ID - Old Faithful, Tetons, Idaho
Day 17 - ID to Boise, ID - Idaho
Day 18 - ID to Pasco, WA - Oregon, Pasco
Day 19 - WA to Bellevue, WA - Yakima, Seattle
Day 20 - WA - Seattle, Safeco Game
Day 21 - WA - SeaTac, Tacoma, W Pierce, Kitsap

Day 22 - WA to Vancouver, BC - Bellingham, Vancouver
Day 23 - BC to Cowichan, BC - Vancouver, Victoria
Day 24 - BC to Victoria, BC - Victoria
Day 25 - BC to Bellevue, WA - Ferry Coho
Day 26 - WA to Cascade Locks, OR - Olympia, Portland
Day 27 - OR to Astoria, OR - Portland, Astoria
Day 28 - OR to Newport, OR - Oregon coast

Day 29 - OR to Crescent City, CA - Oregon coast, CA coast
Day 30 - CA to Eureka, CA - Redwoods, Humboldt Bay
Day 31 - CA to Reno, NV - CA high country, Reno
Day 32 - NV to Lodi, CA - Carson City, Tahoe, Sacramento
Day 33 - CA - Sausalito, San Fran, Golden Gate
Day 34 - CA to Monterey, CA - Oakland, Monterey
Day 35 - CA to Merced, CA - Monterey, central CA

Day 36 - CA to Lodi, CA - Yosemite
Day 37 - CA to Visalia, CA - Sequoia Redwoods
Day 38 - CA to Newport, CA - Central CA to Orange County
Day 39 - CA - Orange County, Ash & Nick
Day 40 - CA - San Diego, Long Beach
Day 41 - CA - Long Beach, LA City, LA County
Day 42 - CA - John Wayne ARFF, LA City

Day 43 - CA to Lake Havasu, AZ - Lake Havasu
Day 44 - AZ - Lake Havasu
Day 45 - AZ to Lake Powell, AZ - Grand Canyon
Day 46 - AZ to Chama, NM - Navajo country, Chama
Day 47 - NM to Fountain, CO - Colorado Springs IAFF
Day 48 - CO to Wellington, KS - Dodge City
Day 49 - KS to Branson, MO - Wichita, Branson

Day 50 - MO - Branson, West Taney
Day 51 - MO to Marion, AR - Little Rock, Memphis
Day 52 - AR to Nashville, TN - Memphis, Nashville
Day 53 - TN to Milton, WV - Huntington
Day 54 - WV to Hagerstown, MD - Charleston, WV, Marietta
Day 55 - MD to Stonington, CT - Havre de Grace
Day 56 - CT to Cape Cod - Home Again!







2016 INDEX

[Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day 5] [Day 6] [Day 7]

[Day 8] [Day 9] [Day 10] [Day 11] [Day 12] [Day 13] [Day 14]

[Day 15] [Day 16] [Day 17] [Day 18] [Day 19] [Day 20] [Day 21]

[Day 22] [Day 23] [Day 24] [Day 25] [Day 26] [Day 27] [Day 28]

[Day 29] [Day 30] [Day 31] [Day 32] [Day 33] [Day 34] [Day 35]

[Day 36] [Day 37] [Day 38] [Day 39] [Day 40] [Day 41] [Day 42]

[Day 43] [Day 44] [Day 45] [Day 46] [Day 47] [Day 48] [Day 49]

[Day 50] [Day 51] [Day 52] [Day 53] [Day 54] [Day 55] [Day 56]