Monday, November 18, 2013

road trip usa ~ how it all began...

The year was 1971 and we had been married only a few months...when we took our first lengthy road trip. We celebrated our first Christmas together in our new-to-us home, then packed the car and headed south for California. The trip through Washington, Oregon and on to Los Angeles took us two days. We spent the first night in a Motel 6 in Redding, California...and then stayed with my uncle and aunt in West Covina (LA area) for the rest of our vacation. We did Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and took in the Rose Bowl Parade on January 1, 1972. On the trip home...

...we traveled north along the coast, visiting Hearst Castle and spending a night in Monterey. We so enjoyed that first road trip, we decided then and there that we would take many more in the years to come. We thought we might even buy an El Camino one day...
 (El Camino that we spotted in California a few weeks ago.)

...and do an extensive road trip of the USA. Wouldn't that be fun? We could drive where we wanted and sleep in the back (we were envisioning one with a canopy). Why...that would be much more economical than Motel Six! :)

And that is how the dream of seeing all of the US states was was first hatched...over four decades ago. We hadn't really factored in how children might affect our plans...and so things never unfolded quite as we envisioned so long ago. But the idea never quite died...and now we can say, 'we did it!' From that first road trip in 1971 to our entry into the last state (Kansas) on October 31 of this year, many changes occurred. We took a few road trips with our children, but mostly we carried on with our 'road trip usa' once our kids left home.

The following is an overview of the many trips involved over the years that eventually led us to complete our goal of driving in each of the 50 states.

1971...Washington, Oregon, California 

(Photo at Hearst Castle ~ Jan 2, 1972)

 1973 ~ Florida

(We toured Florida in a rented Pinto following a missions trip to Haiti)

1977~ Hawaii

(The Hawaiian sunsets are timeless!)

1977 ~ Nevada, Idaho (along with Washington, Oregon and California)

 (in our pick-up and camper with a two and four-year-old)
1986 ~ Iowa We flew to Iowa for my brother's wedding and rented a car.

(this was not our rental vehicle!)

1988 ~ Texas We flew to south Texas with Kris, Jeremy and Heidi to visit my sister and her boys.

(photo at the Alamo, San Antonio)

1999 ~ Alaska We drove to Alaska with our Swiss friends, Pierre and Ute.

(an Alaskan rainbow framing our rental motor home)

2005 ~ Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Utah. We finally made the long road trip out to visit my brother Bill and his family in Iowa...and visited many sites along the way.

(our first visit to Yellowstone)
2007 ~ Arizona  After thirty years, we traded our camper in for a small motor home. 

(our first major trip with the new RV)
2010 ~ Colorado, New Mexico

(Garden of the Gods ~ Colorado)

2012 ~ Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama   We flew to Houston and did a driving tour of the gulf coast in a rental car.

(Gulfport, Mississippi)

And that takes us to this year...with 28 states left to visit.  This summer we were in North Dakota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York , Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine,

(Acadia National Park, Maine)

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

That left 11 states...and those are the ones we paid a visit to on our last leg of the journey this fall.  West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma ...

...and last (but not least) Kansas!

States Visited Map
We did it.  We 'coloured' in every state!  That doesn't mean we won't be crossing that border ever again.  There are plenty of places still left to visit...and re-visit.  But maybe we should finish 'colouring' in the Canadian provinces first.  We have yet to visit New Brunswick and PEI.  Maybe one day!

So that is how our Road Trip USA unfolded...bit by bit...over four decades.  I'll be sharing some of our most recent adventures with you over the next few weeks...but thought I'd give you a little of the history behind our 'road-tripping' experiences first. 

Have a great day!


  1. How interesting and fun! That's a lot of miles behind you. Darrell and I visited Hearst Castle in Feb 2012, it's a beautiful place. So glad you fulfilled your travel dream!

  2. I enjoyed the history lesson very much and the photos through the years. I'm smiling to think that you've not seen all the provinces in your country and I'm hoping that you will remedy that in time. Then perhaps it will be the European tour for you guys!

  3. That is really quite amazing and incredible! Well done :)

  4. I love this!!! Y'all had a dream - and DID it!!! What an amazing thing to do! I love visiting your life through the blog and love seeing how you live it! All 50 states! What an accomplishment! When Amber was in synchronized swimming the swimmers would say they are seeing the country - ONE POOL AT A TIME! We would fly in, rent a team van and go straight to the pool and hotel. I tried to do one scenic thing with them after the swim meet was over before loading up for the flight home. Back then (PRE 9-11)

  5. Flight travel was so different. We hauled ice chests and such and the moms would be sewing sequins through the flight. It's wonderful how y'all managed to actually SEE all 50 sates!!!

  6. This is really awesome Judy! I'm so glad your dream was realized this year after over 40 years since you started on this big dream. What wonderful adventures you've been on. I hope you come east to New Brunswick some day so we can meet again. Then we can say we've met on both ends of the country. ;) I'm looking forward to your photos to come.

  7. Loved reading the history of your road trips Judy! Love all the photos from the past and present.

  8. Loved the story! Loved the trip! The pictures were what I looked forward to the most on your trips, but these are the best! I smiled the entire way through this post. What special treasured memories and the completion of a dream. Must tell you, that you guys sure do age in a good way!

  9. Thanks for that historical run through. Now I am looking forward to the pictures from your most recent trip. It is always fun to travel with you.
    Farm Gal in VA

  10. What a great story - journeys over time. Isn't it great to think that there are always dreams to fulfill? Love the pictures. Congratulations on driving in all 50 states!

  11. Fantastic post Judy, I love your photos and what an amazing trip

  12. Wow! What amazes me is how well you have documented all of your travels! A lot of ours are a blur to me. I took special note of that El Camino that was going to be your motel. It looks just like the car my H had his eye on in the mid seventies while we were dating.

  13. I really admire that you had a dream and a hope to do this together. I am so happy for you and can see there is lots of travelling left in you yet. One day.. I think we would like to just follow.

  14. Enjoyed going back to your beginnings.....many happy trails. How neat that this was your dream from the beginning of your married lives and the map is now filled in and holds many great memories.

  15. That is an incredible story and documentary of your travels. The rainbow picture on your Alaska trip is amazing! One of our "dreams" is to visit as many Provincial, National and State parks over the next few years with our new little Escape RV. You've inspired us....

  16. I think last time I visited I was thinking of the wonderful stories you would have to tell. I will be looking forward to hearing them. Congratulations on completing such an amazing journey! I have never met anyone who has done what you and your husband have done. Are you thinking of making a photo book with a collage page for each of the states you visited?

  17. I hope to be able to see all the states one day- we haven't been up and down either coast, and mainly tend to do driving tours in the mountains. There are so many places I would love to see. What wonderful memories you have made with your husband.

  18. What a great picture memory of 40 years of travelling! My first car was a Ford Pinto in 1971.

  19. What memories. Brought back memories for me of 16 of the States you visited.

  20. What a grand adventure! I had to smile at your original camper. It is a twin to the one we had for years, and one that I never got the hang of driving safely! Email me about what kind of camper you have now.
    Also...I think it would be so cool to make a slide show of your 50 state photos and put them on a chip to use in a digital picture frame. Those frames are so fun to have flashing away throughout the day and with a chip with 800+ photos it seems like everytime one looks one sees a photo one forgot about!

  21. You have more of the US than most citizens ever will, Judy! It sounds like almost all your experiences were happy ones, of which I am grateful. We do live in a beautiful and diverse country. I have been to quite a few wonderful places in Canada and hope to see the western side of Canada in the near future. I wish we thought to buy a motor home --that was a great idea and I'm sure you have appreciated it over the years and it saved you money in the end.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson