I think I speak for most that we are ready for 2020 to be done…. I end the year hopeful yet exhausted from dealing with disease and meanness, and not willing to fight any battles on social media or otherwise…. Let’s pray hard that 2021 will be the beginning of an upswing, of better times to come, and that once again we’ll find a way to live in harmony and with joy.
David and I were lucky and inspired to have taken our RV trip around the US and Canada beginning in July 2019 and until the pandemic threw a wrench into everyone’s plans in the spring of 2020. We are truly thankful to have seen many beautiful places and know in our hearts that any location now is temporary for us–unless something changes–and we will hit the road again sometime. We miss international travel too, and I look forward to when I can visit my family again in Romania.
I hope you are healthy and I hope you find some joy in our sharing the beauty of the land.
Oana & David
Many of you asked what were our favorite places. It’s a tough question, really. Each place (yes, even southern Idaho…) had its unique flavor and interesting parts. Some of my favorite experiences were, in no particular order: hot lobster rolls in Maine; fall colors in Vermont and New Hampshire; blogging from the beach in Destin, Florida; Lake Moraine with its teal water and cute pikas running around; Native American dwellings, artwork, and festivals; driving on Route 66; witnessing cacti in bloom in the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona; bison burgers; everything about Yellowstone; whales jumping around in the ocean; Cajun dancing with the locals in Louisiana; and not least… the freedom that a road trip brings, the excitement about each new destination that keeps things interesting, the joy of discovering new vistas, information, and food; and the joy of sharing this unique experience with my favorite human (David) and two of my best friends (our sweet dogs, Kylie and Roxie).
Also, both David and I enjoyed catching up with family and friends along the way, so here’s a special shoutout to you!
Here are some highlights of our trip. Click on the links to read the posts and see more details about each destination.
July 2019: Banff, Glacier, Yellowstone
A mad dash up and across seven states in a week paid off when we reached Banff, Canada. Nearby, we marveled at the blue lakes: Lake Moraine and Lake Louise. Across the border, Glacier National Park gave us the thrill of Going-to-the-Sun-Road and Yellowstone quickly became one of our favorite places in the US.
August 2019: Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Grand Tetons, Washington State
I’ve always wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest with its mysterious cool misty forests and shores. I’ve also heard of the famed Oregon and Washington State wines, so I was thrilled to visit and taste some of the local wineries. Washington state is not short of amazing, some of the favorites being Seattle, Port Townsend, Mount Rainer, Olympic Peninsula, Cape Flattery. Across the Strait of San Juan and Fuca, we strolled through Victoria, BC. The Grand Teton National Park is as impressive as the name states but we didn’t have nearly enough time to explore it.
September 2019: Coastal Oregon, Oregon Wineries, Niagara Falls
We made a loop driving down the coast of Oregon and then back up through wine country before heading east and into Canada to see Niagara Falls and Quebec City. Oregon offered a plethora of activities: crabbing for Dungeness crab, discovering the delicious Tillamook cheese (and ice cream), the famed Cannon Beach, the beautiful Astoria, and lovely West Coast sunsets on Rialto Beach, along with lighthouses and amazing seafood fresh off the boat in Newport. Inland, we spent the night among grape vines near Salem, serenaded by coyotes.
October 2019: Maine, Vermont, Woodstock-NY
There’s really nothing as beautiful as fall in New England! We timed our visit in the area just right and were absolutely enchanted by the fall colors in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. We drove up and down Mt. Washington in New Hampshire–a scarier drive than Going-to-the-Sun by far. We stuffed ourselves on buttery lobster and hot lobster rolls. We visited the lovely Portland and Bar Harbor. We got a history lesson on a rainy day at the site of Woodstock music festival, saw the rural side of upstate New York, and strolled through a quiet Martha’s Vineyard. We stopped briefly to visit historical places like Philadelphia and Monticello.
November 2019: Thanksgiving
We were delighted to spend time with family and friends back in Knoxville, and had a fun stay at the llama farm nearby.
December 2019: Florida beaches, Christmas
We soaked up some sunshine at the beach along the Emerald Coast before we headed back to Knoxville for Christmas. We simply couldn’t be away for the holidays.
January 2020: New Year’s, Cajun dancing, Austin
The New Year found us in New Orleans, and we absolutely LOVED hanging out in little Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, where the Cajun dancing was hopping and the food was amazing. Austin proved to be a fun city with good live music and friendly longhorn cattle. We made the mandatory stop at The Silos in Waco, and loved to see the little Texas town flourish.
February 2020: New Mexico and Arizona (Albuquerque, Tucson, Sedona)
In New Mexico, Truth or Consequences and Santa Fe stood out, while Arizona offered Saguaro National Park, Old Tucson and Tombstone, along with the amazing Sedona and Flagstaff. On our way to California, we visited a meteor crater, and stood on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.
March 2020: Palm Springs, Santa Barbara
Spring sprung colorful and ingeniously-shaped cactus flowers: pink, white, yellow, red. We found a little Paradise in a mid-mod neighborhood in Palm Springs, and were “lucky” to be in San Diego for one straight week of rain (which made the locals very happy). Santa Barbara and the southern coast of California were stunning, while Hollywood and Beverly Hills were an eerie, empty scene. Joshua Tree National Park was impressive, and I found out that fine cactus needles are very hard to remove from clothes….
April 2020: Kingsman Arizona, Route 66, Home Again!
Because state and National Parks began shutting down due to COVID, we headed back toward Knoxville. We stopped by California’s Salton Sea, saw scissor-tailed flycatchers in Stinnett, TX, and feasted our dry eyes on the lush green of the Ozarks. While waiting for our house to become available (it was rented out), we enjoyed a quiet pastoral stay near Sevierville, TN.
Our trip route
Here is our trip, mapped out. The only place we reserved in advance was Banff, Canada. The rets of the time, we researched and reserved as we went along. We used several tools to select the RV parks, such as Escapees, Park Advisor, and good ol’ Google–I searched for RV parks near X, then filtered by ratings, and read through the reviews. We definitely liked the generous discounts available through Passport America and Good Sam’s memberships, and I definitely recommend getting America the Beautiful Annual National Park Pass, even if you don’t have an RV. We tried to stay in state parks as much as possible (usually much cheaper but with limited hookups) and loved exploring local wineries or farms through the Harvest Hosts membership.
|Begin Date||End Date||RV Park||City||State||Country|
|7/2/2019||7/8/2019||Racoon Valley RV||Heiskell||TN||US|
|7/9/2019||7/10/2019||Country Roads Motorhome and RV||Wisconsin Dells||WI||US|
|7/10/2019||7/11/2019||Prairie Cove Campground and RV||Ashby||MN||US|
|7/12/2019||7/14/2019||Gull Lake Campground||Gull Lake||SK||CA|
|7/14/2019||7/17/2019||Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court||Banff||AL||CA|
|7/21/2019||7/25/2016||Sundance Campground||West Glacier||MT||US|
|7/25/2019||7/26/2019||Square Dance RV Park||Lolo||MT||US|
|7/26/2019||7/28/2019||Yellowstone KOA Mountainside||Yellowstone||MT||US|
|7/28/2019||7/30/2019||Hebgen Holiday Lakeside||Yellowstone||MT||US|
|8/2/2019||8/7/2019||LaPine State Park||La Pine||OR||US|
|8/7/2019||8/9/2019||Jane & Gary||Salem||OR||US|
|8/9/2019||8/14/2019||99 RV Park||Vancouver||WA||US|
|8/14/2019||8/15/2019||Ft. Stevens State Park||Hammond||OR||US|
|8/15/2019||8/18/2019||Dean & Angie||Puyallup||WA||US|
|8/18/2019||8/25/2019||Elwha Dam RV Park||Port Angeles||WA||US|
|8/25/2019||8/26/2019||Driftwood RV Park||Copalis Beach||WA||US|
|8/28/2019||9/4/2019||Big Spruce RV Park||Tillamook||OR||US|
|9/4/2019||9/7/2019||South Beach State Park||Newport||OR||US|
|9/7/2019||9/8/2019||Eola Hills Legacy Vineyard||Salem||OR||US|
|9/8/2019||9/10/2019||Ainsworth State Park||Mt. Hood||OR||US|
|9/10/2019||9/13/2019||Lake Pleasant RV Park||Bothell||WA||US|
|9/13/2019||9/15/2019||Wild Rose RV Park||Colbert||WA||US|
|9/15/2019||9/16/2019||Square Dance RV Park||Lolo||MT||US|
|9/16/2019||9/17/2019||Old West RV Park||Reed Point||MT||US|
|9/17/2019||9/18/2019||Red Trail Campground||Medora||ND||US|
|9/18/2019||9/19/2019||Prairie Cove Campground and RV||Ashby||MN||US|
|9/19/2019||9/21/2019||Country Roads Motorhome and RV||Wisconsin Dells||WI||US|
|9/21/2019||9/22/2019||Holland State Park||Holland||MI||US|
|9/24/2019||9/25/2019||Royal Mountain Campground||Johnstown||NY||US|
|9/25/2019||9/27/2019||Draper’s Acres Campground||Lake Placid||NY||US|
|9/27/2019||10/2/2019||Simona and Florian||Salaberry de Valleyfield||QC||CA|
|10/2/2019||10/4/2019||Camping de la Joie||Quebec City||QC||CA|
|10/4/2019||10/8/2019||Two Rivers Campground||Skohegan||ME||US|
|10/11/2019||10/13/2019||Emerald State Park||Dorset||VT||US|
|10/13/2019||10/16/2019||Sheila and George||Norton||MA||US|
|10/16/2019||10/18/2019||Happy Days Campground||Swan Lake||NY||US|
|10/18/2019||10/20/2019||Homestead Campground||Green Lane||PA||US|
|10/20/2019||10/23/2019||Gambrill State Park||Frederick||MD||US|
|10/23/2019||10/25/2019||Wayesboro 340 VA||Waynesboro||VA||US|
|11/6/2019||12/2/2019||Racoon Valley RV||Heiskell||TN||US|
|12/2/2019||12/3/2019||Oak Mountain State Park||Birmingham||AL||US|
|12/3/2019||12/17/2019||Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park||Niceville||FL||US|
|12/17/2019||12/18/2019||Joanna and Rick||LaGrange||GA||US|
|12/18/2019||12/27/2019||Racoon Valley RV||Heiskell||TN||US|
|12/28/2019||1/4/2020||Jude Travel Park NOLA||New Orleans||LA||US|
|1/4/2020||1/11/2020||Poche’s RV Park & Fishing Camp||Breaux Bridge||LA||US|
|1/17/2020||1/22/2020||Sunset RV Park||Austin||TX||US|
|1/22/2020||1/27/2020||Hidden Valley||San Antonio||TX||US|
|1/27/2020||1/28/2020||Sleeping Lady||Del Rio||TX||US|
|1/28/2020||2/1/2020||Mike & Cheryl’s||Alpine||TX||US|
|2/1/2020||2/2/2020||Sombra Antigua Winery||El Paso||TX||US|
|2/2/2020||2/5/2020||El Paso West||El Paso||TX||US|
|2/8/2020||2/10/2020||Monticello||Truth or Consequences||NM||US|
|2/24/2020||3/2/2020||Verde Ranch Resort||Camp Verde||AZ||US|
|3/2/2020||3/5/2020||Moon River||Mohave Valley||AZ||US|
|3/5/2020||3/8/2020||Sky Valley||Desert Hot Springs||CA||US|
|3/8/2020||3/12/2020||Sweetwater County Park||Bonita||CA||US|
|3/12/2020||3/16/2020||Cachiuma Lake||Santa Barbara||CA||US|
|3/16/2020||3/20/2020||Valencia Travel Village||Castaic||CA||US|
|3/20/2020||3/27/2020||Sky Valley||Desert Hot Springs||CA||US|
|4/9/2020||4/11/2020||OK RV Park||Holbrook||AZ||US|
|4/19/2020||4/20/2020||Onapa RV Park||Checotah||OK||US|
|4/20/2020||4/21/2020||Burns Park RV and Campground||Littlerock||AR||US|
|4/23/2020||5/7/2020||Dumplin Valley Farm||Kodak||TN||US|