It's Christmas Eve 2013 and I feel as though I've been through the wringer this year. It started out depressing and stressful and hopeful and is ending depressing and stressful. I AM hopeful for so much for next year but for now, other than my months of doing what I set out to do (traveling), it's been a pretty tough year for me. That is unusual, as positivity and aversion to drama is something I strive to keep constant in my life. I've been in a dark place for a few weeks now but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the maelstrom. I'll have an extensive post about that at another time!! Once I get into the light, that may be when I can write about it!
It is pretty amazing that I've been to so many places and seen so many incredible things and haven't encountered any man-hungry beasts or vile humans along the way. No serial killers, perverts, mamma's boys, bears, cougars, or rattle snakes. That's pretty fantastic, especially considering everyone else's fears for me!! It's also pretty awesome how I've come to love the camping lifestyle and have come to appreciate the generosity and hospitality of others when I've always been so independent.
I've driven approximately 18,000 miles in the past 5 months. The colorful landscape and people were something that I wasn't prepared for. I had no idea of the riches awaiting me on my American Road Trip. It was a gift that both Lillie and I have grown from.
Lillie has met so many people and aliens (children) on our journey. She tucked her fears away and represented herself as a healer, a friend, trusting, and a teacher to strangers. She was rewarded with love and attention and, hopefully, has learned to fear less. She's certainly learned to trust more.
From the extensive heat of the beginning of our trip (115F in Arizona being the worst) to cold camping in Maine (mid-40's), Lillie has unhappily learned to deal with parkas and paw protection. Watching her tip-toe across the hot pavement from shadow to shadow was not comfortable for either of us....so you wear what ya gotta wear!!
Our journey started with us driving from Dallas, TX to Carlsbad, NM. We then wandered NM to northern AZ to lower UT and lower NV to AZ to an unexpected quick night stop in the San Bernandino Mountains in CA. From there, we drove to San Diego, CA and followed the Pacific Coast Hwy all of the way up the CA coastline and the OR and WA coastlines. After being turned away at the Canadian border and staying in Seattle, WA for a bit, we worked our way down through OR, ID, UT, AZ, NM, and back to TX. Then we drove from TX to AR, TN, KY, OH, PA, NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, MD, DE, DC, VA, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, and back to TX. Yes, I missed Florida!! I didn't quite make my goal of going the complete west and east coasts...by only ONE state. By my count, Lillie has been in 33 states! Including my previous travels, I'm close to having hit all 50!
Tonight, Lillie is happily gnawing on a bone in the place she considers home outside of the Jeep....because it's where we've been the longest for any time during this journey. Our trip isn't over, just delayed for now. This lifestyle isn't something you can just quit and forget. It's an addiction that grows with every different experience, person, and place! Lillie and I are happiest on the road!
Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Years, Everyone!!