What I’ve Learned (So Far)

I’ve been back in NorCal just under a week and it’s amazing how quickly I’ve gotten back into the swing of things here.  I had a fantastic weekend catching up with friends but the highlight of the weekend was definitely the Raiders comeback win on Sunday.  We had a big tailgate to kick off the day and kept it going in the MoHo after the game was over:

I drove down to Carmel-by-the-Sea on Monday and have spent the last few days unpacking the MoHo and taking it to an RV storage facility, organizing my things in the guest room, and I even had time to get a car because driving the MoHo just isn’t practical around these parts…  the Fiat Abarth is basically the antithesis of the Roadtrek, as you can see from the picture.  Cute, small, zippy – it corners way better too.


But most importantly over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about the last five months on the road, the things I’ve learned and seen.  Starting with the latter, people constantly ask me about my favorite sites.  My top three are as follows:

  1. Niagara Falls (from the Canadian side)
  2. The Badlands in South Dakota
  3. Fall foliage /color change in New England

Special mention goes to Wall Drug (also in South Dakota) for the best advertising campaign

I’ve been collecting stickers of some of the places I’ve been for the MoHo fridge and here’s what it looks like so far…  My favorite stickers are from Stowe, VT and Shepherdstown, WV.  Special mention of the Mackinac Island bicycle sticker since I inadvertently threw out the one I bought (I was so pissed) – fortunately my friend April was heading there shortly after I saw her and she got me a replacement sticker. The fridge is getting full but still plenty of room for stickers from the remaining 17 states:


What I’ve learned is that the people of this country are incredibly nice and extremely helpful.  At no point did I ever feel like I was in danger and all the sucky people I met were confined to Ketchum, ID so I got that out of way quickly.  While I was grateful to all my friends and family for putting me up along the way and showing me their respective towns, what made this trip truly special was all the new friends I made.  From the gang in Lemmon to Julie in Milwaukee to Anni in Champaign to Robby in Jefferson, I feel truly blessed that I live here in the US of A and I am hopeful that I have the same experience when I hit the southern states next spring.

Another thing I’ve learned is how little you actually need to live on.  A couple of pairs of jeans, a few sweaters and t-shirts, one pot, one knife and three spoons.  Okay – I had a little more than that in the MoHo but coming back to all my “stuff” – it’s a bit overwhelming.  Needless to say, I’m planning on giving away a lot of clothes…  On the flip side, I really am appreciating all the space and the ability to spin around with my arms out and not hit anything.  Also being able to take a long hot shower (or bath) anytime I want is priceless.

I meant to mention this earlier but I did read John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley along the way and I enjoyed it immensely, laughing out loud several times at some of the similarities in our trips.  One main difference between our journeys is that Steinbeck carried a fully-stocked bar with him – I carried a juice maker.  For those of you who haven’t read it, I highly recommend it (even if you haven’t traveled by MoHo).

I’ve learned that I really need to teach Juno how to drive.  It’s hard being the only one behind the wheel and while he’s done a great job with security, he needs to pull his weight a bit more.  Good news is I’ve started his lessons and he’s taken to driving like a duck to water:

Finally, I’ve learned that despite quitting my old life of expensive mortgages and high-stress jobs, I am still the same person.  I thought that this trip would give me a chance to slow down and relax.  Nope.  Not even close.  I’ve applied the same Type-A, overachiever behaviors to this trip just as I have to everything else in my life.  That’s why you rarely read about me taking a day off.  Lots to see and do and I felt it was my obligation to see and do as much as possible. But I think this is a good thing – I am who I am.  I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Alrightythen… the Raiders are playing the Chiefs so time for me to sign off and watch the game.  Happy holidays and I’ll see you all in the spring!





3 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned (So Far)

  1. William Least Heat Moon is on of my favorite travelogue writers. He has a penchant for taking back roads and learning some historical/cultural significance about a place. His seminal work is “Blue Highways” folowed several years later by “Water Horse”. If I had to take a wild guess at naming your next book, it might be “Chasing Chocolate”.

    Pleasure meeting you and Snugg,
    Burlington, Vermont

    P.S. There are only a handful of public places in Vermont where rogue icicles could come crashing down on unwary people. Usually it’s a result of neglectful roof maintenance. Much more common is slipping on ice because of inadequate foot wear.


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