While Monty and I were working we spent many vacations in the canyon country of Utah and San Juan Mountains of Colorado. We loved nothing better than taking off in the truck with the camper and the ATV or jeep in tow and spending time in the great outdoors. In the fall and winter Tucson is beautiful, and we took advantage of the opportunity to ride the ATV most places around Southern Arizona. If we could squeeze in a long weekend we camped on the Mexico or California beaches. Whether riding the ATV, exploring the canyons, hiking the mountains or walking the beaches, it was the best time ever.

In January 2002 we put the working world behind us and entered into a whole new retirement realm. It was an adjustment to move from a limited one week of camping to several weeks of travel. But we were really excited about the endless possibilities.

Even before retirement, we began gathering and filing travel articles from around the country. We have three 16 gallon boxes full of topography maps and back country travel as well as, dozens of files with travel articles we’ve cut out of magazines. In 2009 we bought a copy of ‘1,000 Places To See Before You Die’ and it has proven to be an invaluable guide for interesting side trips. There is so much to see in this great country and we are doing our best to see most of it.

In the years we have been retired we have enjoyed so many wonderful trips, we have been to all but one of the lower 48 states. North Dakota is still on the list of places to see. We have been to Canada several times. As you will read, we have returned several times to places we enjoy, Florida being at the top of the list. Florida is a big state and although we have been there many times, we have taken different routes or stopped to see different sights along the way and of course, we met interesting people. Each trip was special, from the people we met along the way to the historical or simply scenic places we visited.

Nashville is a frequent stopping place to see our good friends Ruth and Charles. They have a lovely home and are gracious hosts, welcoming us any time we show up on their door step, they are always willing to show us the sights in Nashville. Ruth and I have been playing tennis together for almost 50 years. I always bring my racquet when we are traveling east of the Mississippi.

We enjoy traveling and I love sharing our trips with family and friends. Although the Internet has made it easier to share while traveling; I thought it was time to put it all together and create a travelogue that Monty and I can page through when we finally park the motor home. I’m referring to this as a travelogue but I hope you find it to be not mere destinations, but a story of a journey that Monty and I have embarked on together, we hope you learn more about us and the stories make you laugh or groan but touch your heart and inspire you to see America.

The trip to New York is the only trip included in this book that took a more traditional approach to travel. Airplanes, hotel and restaurants, it was the perfect way to see New York City, but we really enjoy traveling like turtles with our own house, so all the other stories are road trips.

Favorite trip? Each trip has been special in its own way and almost every day we bring up someplace we have been or someone we met along the way. When I started this project in October of 2014 I planned to include our travels since we retired in 2002. But as the project unfolded I found I couldn’t ignore twelve years of camping experiences. So I’ve included those years also but in an abbreviated form.

The trips may be different, but every trip has two similarities, first we never leave on any adventure without a fresh pan of brownies stored in the oven. It’s just not camping or traveling if there aren’t brownies. Now that we have the motorhome with a bigger freezer, we take a pint of some special ice cream, Ben and Jerry’s, Cherry Garcia is perfect with brownies. We get two spoons and eat right out of the carton, it is decadent.

Second, when we met, Monty told me a story his Uncle Harry told him, about two fellas water skiing for the first time. As the story goes, Jackson, and his brother Daryl, were eager to make a good impression at the lake resort. While Daryl climbed up on the pier, skis on and tow line in hand, Jackson revved up the ski boat. Jackson’s famous shout “You ready ski cat?”, and Daryl’s reply, “Hit it Jackson!” still reverberate along the shore! Every time I think about the guy on the pier flying thru the air it makes me laugh. We don’t head out the drive way without Monty asking, “You ready ski cat?” I reply “Hit it Jackson” and the trip has begun.

We hope you enjoy these tales as we relive some of our fondest memories.

Carrie, Monty, Zoe and Mattie

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