Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy, Happy, Old Year

We've finished our first full year as full-timers, and it's time for a look back at 2006. We had a truly wonderful year, traveling 10,335 miles through 20 states. We spent time at 33 RV parks, not including our 5 months at the Lee Metcalf NWR volunteer area. We visited dozens of state and national parks, traveled through and visited small towns, and visited old friends and made new ones. Our travels are truly defined by restaurants; we can trace our travels by the places we ate - over 130 restaurants, from the elegant to the frightening.
Our Best and Worst List for 2006:
Best Burger: Nap's Burgers, in Hamilton, Montana. The "Nap's Special" is a 12-oz ground sirloin that hangs out an inch all around the bun, dripping wondrous juices...comes with a huge basket of crispy shoestring fries and a drink, all for $7.95. Looks like a dump on the outside.......because it is on the inside; but hey, you don't go there for the ambiance!
Best Gumbo: Fish Tales Seafood Restaurant in Galveston, Tx. The waiter pours the roux into the gumbo mix at your table. Better than PreJean's of Lafayette or Mulatte's of New Iberia.
Best Steak: The "Big Cowboy" steak at Pinnacle Peak in Tucson. A tender 31-oz porterhouse grilled over a mesquite fire. We order one, Brenda gets the tenderloin, I get the other pound and a half.
Best RV Park: Marina RV Resort, Winchester Bay, OR. Beautiful sites on the water; surf crashing against the breakwall, whale watching - all this for $20 a night!
Worst RV Park: Willow Lakes RV Resort, Brunswick, OH. Makes a FEMA disaster relief camp look good. Water was so bad it took a week of flushing to get the taste and odor out.
Best location: The Bitterroot Valley of Montana. Incredible views, friendly people, lots to see and do. An area of wonderful small towns and historic sites, great summer weather, and NO sales tax! Missoula is a great little town with all the amenities. We'll be back.
Worst Location: East Texas Gulf Coast (Freeport/Lake Jackson area). Mosquitoes, snakes, alligators, swamps.......chemical plants and refineries everywhere. Yikes!
Best City: San Antonio, TX. You just can't beat the RiverWalk at Christmas; lights, luminarias, decorations everywhere. A vibrant downtown with plenty of shopping and restaurants. Now if we could only get rid of all the damn Texans (or at least teach them to drive).
Worst City: The Los Angeles area. Every other car on the road is badly driven by a rail-thin blond woman in a BMW or Mercedes talking on a cell phone. Most of the others are 20-year old pickup trucks driven by illegal immigrants with lawn services. Valet parking is mandatory almost everywhere, prices are unreasonable, and everyone acts as if they're auditioning for a TV role. Need another reason? Fish tacos. One more? "The 5", the "405" and Garth Kemp. Frank Lloyd Wright once said that the "entire United States is tilted to the Southwest, and all the loose nuts roll to southern California." A wise man.
Best Thing About Full Timing: Enjoying the place you're at while at the same time looking forward to traveling to the next place. Seeing so much of this incredibly beautiful country and meeting so many wonderful people. Not having a lawn to mow, a view that doesn't change, or a winter to look forward to. Rain on the roof during the night.
Biggest Pleasant Surprise About Fulltiming: Our motorhome has performed flawlessly. The more we live in it, the more we appreciate the features. It's taken us up and down mountains, through bad weather and high winds, and given us a resounding 7.5 MPG! I'm glad now that I didn't spend the extra money for a diesel with the added maintenance. We'd recommend a Tiffin product to anyone looking for value and quality.
2nd Place Pleasant Surprise: How well Tricare Standard works. We have found good medical care everywhere we've needed it, our co-payments have been reasonable, and their web site makes tracking our claims easy. We haven't lost anything in medical coverage no matter where we've been.
Worst Thing About Fulltiming: We didn't do it sooner.
Best Experience So Far: All of you who have kept in touch and followed us as we've meandered around the country. We look forward to seeing all of you again this year!

No comments:

Post a Comment