A week into the new year and I’m finally getting around to looking back at the past year. What can I say? I like living in the present and I look back when I have some free time (which nowadays is definitely not spent on blogging). 2013 brought great adventures, many ups and a few downs to our family. This is as close as I will get to a year in review because I don’t want to bore you with lessons I’ve learned or my goals for the upcoming year. I’d rather share a little bit of our family’s adventure in the past year. Interestingly enough, we managed to visit thirteen states in the last year. We start our trip down memory lane in Kansas, our temporary home for eleven months.
We lived in Fort Leavenworth, KS and got reacquainted again with winter. We even managed to bring in a bit of Hawaii into Kansas.
During spring break, we took advantage of all the use or lose leave days Jerrold has saved up to go east and see St. Louis, MO. We went here in the summer of 2012 to pick up our car, but the one hundred plus degree weather was not that fun.
Plus we wanted to visit some of our Midwestern familia. We saw Aki’s godmother in Illinois and some more cousins in Missouri. That’s three states, if you’re counting.
In May, I sojourned back to Washington state, all by myself nonetheless, and met up with my mom and two of my brothers for my big brother’s graduation. This was actually the first time I’ve ever been to Eastern Washington.
Interestingly enough, we were so far east that our hotel was in Moscow! The one in Idaho, that is.
I didn’t think I’d see my not-so-little nephew again for quite some time, but sadly we all had to travel back to North Carolina last June for my stepfather’s funeral. *Sniff* The upside is that I got to see my family again and celebrate my birthday with my mom, all my brothers AND my stepbrothers and their families.
A week later, under orders from the Army, we were on the road again on what we called our “Wild West Coast Road Trip” so we can move to Fort Lewis, WA. The drive took us three weeks since we tried to see most of the major attractions along the way. We got to check off many things that were in our bucket list.
State number seven is Colorado. Don’t we look cute in Colorado? I forced Jerrold to stop on the side of the road for this one (the reason for that big smile). The funny thing is we never had to deal with tornadoes while living in Kansas, but we had to take a break the moment we crossed the Colorado border because were about to drive into an area with a tornado warning.
We took two days going through Colorado. There were so many mountain roads and a desert that we had to get through. That could be a whole blog post in itself.
We took a detour through Four Corners, USA, the only place where you can be on four states and on tribal land at the same time. This has been on my bucket list since I took my first Geodetic Surveying class in engineering school. True story. So just like that we were in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah… AND I even managed to shop for souvenirs in all four states.
From Four Corners, we braved the Arizona desert so we can stay at Flagstaff and see the Grand Canyon. Whoa!
I think if I had more foresight, we would have stayed one day longer and spent a night in the Grand Canyon. Maybe next time.
For our eleventh state, we headed to Nevada via Route 66. We even managed a stop at the Hoover dam along the way. I think Nevada overwhelmed us quite a bit. The heat was oppressive. The traffic on the Vegas strip was obnoxious. The craziness on the Vegas strip was too much. We did get to meet up with several old friends living in the area, and there were so many things to see. I might hazard another trip there in the near future, but we might stay at a different hotel next time.
At this point we were just a week into our trip. It was time to head back into the desert and drive to California. We took our time traveling through Cali. First stop was San Diego where we got to see Jerrold’s brother and the kids got to reacquaint themselves with their cousin.
We headed north to Los Angeles to see my brother. We got to visit the Griffith Observatory and see the Space Shuttle Endeavor at the Science Center. Bucket list, check and check.
After a many days of sightseeing and eating Asian food, we headed north to San Francisco. The last time we were here was in January 2004. We were smitten with this city and could probably say we left our heart in San Francisco. And here’s a cheesy picture of us in front of the Golden Gate bridge to go with that cheesy sentiment.
We weren’t done yet with California, though. We drove north via scenic 101 to see the Redwood forest and stayed an additional two nights before heading up to the Oregon coast and state number thirteen.
Confession: I had to holler at my kids to look up from their devices and look at Oregon. The funny thing is last week, I was telling Ani about our hotel that we stayed here and she looked at me in shock and said, “What? We went to Oregon?” They were so done with this trip by now.
We stayed the night at a seaside town called Lincoln City because Jerrold and I saw an article about it almost fifteen years ago. We thought this would be a fantastic place to vacation because of the glass balls that the town artists place in the beach for tourists to find.
The next day we hightailed it out of there and drove the five hours up to Fort Lewis to complete our Wild West Coast Road Trip. Hello Washington state. Hello Seattle, our old home. We’re so happy to be back.