Since this is our five-year anniversary on the road, we decided to use our posts to do a little bit of retrospect. Dianne is doing a year-by-year review of the highlights of each year. She has already posted Year One.
I am going to do a series of Top Ten (or more) Lists. With my concrete-sequential brain, making lists by assigning numerical values is fun. I know. Most of you find this weird. Oh well.
Throughout the winter, Dianne and I plan to alternate posts between her yearly reviews and my lists. Our plans might change if we change our minds. We can do that. We're retired.
The process I used to make the lists involved both of us (as individuals) ranking a series of items for specific categories: cities, towns, states, national parks, state parks, public campgrounds, COE campgrounds, private campgrounds, hikes, kayak paddles, excursions, attractions, tours, regional restaurants, wineries, museums, beaches. I assigned point values to the rankings and then combined the separate lists for the final ranking.
(Dianne here...believe it or not, this is the exact method we used to come up with boy's and girl's baby names as we awaited the birth of our two children. They were both girls, so we never got to use the names Andrew and David. It was truly a joint "democratic" effort!) Back to Roger....
It did take a little time to do this, but it was fun for me, and it has been raining.
A few disclaimers before releasing the first lists...
1. We only considered the things we have done for the past five years as full-timers.
2. We have not traveled in the motor home to the Northeast, Montana, Nevada, most of Idaho and any part of Canada. Those areas will be fun for us in the future.
3. We did not go to every place in every state we visited. We obviously missed some cool things.
4. The rankings are based on the things that we like, which might not be the same for everyone.
Okay then, the first lists include cities, towns and states:
TOP TEN CITIES
1. (TIE) PORTLAND, OREGON
The lady in the picture is Portlandia. This is one of the more forward-thinking cities I have ever been in. Our daughters and granddaughter were able to explore it with us.
1. (TIE) SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
The photo is the house that was the centerpiece of the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We spent our first Christmas day away from home walking through the gracious squares of this city.
3. SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO
So much fun to wander around this old adobe city. Turquoise, art, and wonderful food could be found around every corner.
4. LOS ANGELES, CA
We had a great time exploring this massive city. So much to see... studio tours, tv tapings, Getty Museum, and of course... our very talented daughter, Robyn. The picture below was taken from the Griffith Observatory.
5. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Charleston was the first city that we explored on our five-year adventure. A great city for long walks by the water in classic southern neighborhoods.
The riverfront area is an extremely comfortable public place. The photo shows the lift bridge that connects the downtown area with the boat basin and beaches.
7. NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Dianne and I disagree on this one. I love the old architecture, the music and the atmosphere. The wedding we attended in this cathedral followed by a dance down the street behind a marching blues band and a reception on Bourbon Street was pretty unforgettable.
8. SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
The River Walk area is unique among all the places we have been. Fun to stroll along the
river, watch people, and eat Mexican food. Oh, and enjoy a margarita. In our case it was also a time to enjoy our daughters and granddaughter. The pictures from top to bottom show granddaughter, Kaia in a reflective pose. Then Robyn and Amanda
showing off their silly side. So much fun.
9. SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA
Five years ago we officially became South Dakotans in Sioux Falls. In the process, we discovered a beautiful and civic-minded city. Bike/walking paths, renovated buildings and museums, nice restaurants, and the beautiful falls in the city park.
10. FT. MYERS/NAPLES/
The beaches in this area are difficult to top. Soft sand, aqua water, warm temperatures. But for us, the beaches are not the only attraction.
Our daugher, Amanda, and our granddaugher, Kaia are the main attraction here. Wish we could see them more often.
TOP TEN TOWNS
1. CREEDE, COLORADO
If you follow our blog, this is probably not a surprise. The picture above shows how this real (not fabricated) town is built between the rocky cliffs. The second photo shows one day of the annual Labor Day Balloon Festival. It is hard to imagine a better place to enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Well, there may be one place. Port Townsend, located on the Olympic Peninsula on Puget Sound. We like it so much that we might decide to spend our summers here after we tire of traveling. The views on the Olympic Peninsula are not the same as those at Creede, but they are no less spectacular.
We try to visit Fredericksburg every year. It is in the hill country just west of Austin and San Antonio. This German town with the wide, wide streets has a little bit of everything: German food and beer, an outstanding museum, shopping, music, Luckenbach, a cave full of bats, bluebonnets and our favorite winery.
4. (TIE) OURAY, COLORADO
What a pleasant surprise it was to find this beautiful town. It is located on the north end of the amazing "Million Dollar Highway." This place is worth another (longer) visit.
4. (TIE) MORRO BAY, CALIFORNIA
This fishing village is surprisingly not yet a full-fledged tourist attraction. It is a place where you can eat fish straight from the boats at dock-side restaurants. You can watch surfers while taking a long walk on the beach with Morro Rock in the background. The Hearst Castle and the wineries of Paso Robles are just down the road. It is also a great starting point for driving north on the Pacific Coast Highway.
6. ASTORIA, OREGON
This port on the Columbia River is so interesting. Victorian homes. An excellent river museum. A brewery. Views from the Astoria Column. The home of the movie The Goonies. The best fish 'n chips around.
We arrived on the town plaza during a weekly sunset concert. The music was provided by the family members of the mayor of Taos.
7. (TIE) TEMECULA, CALIFORNIA
We have been here twice, both times to meet people who are important to us. The first time we had dinner with my brother. The second time we had dinner with a former next-door neighbor. A nice town with an interesting historic district. Borrego Springs, Julian, Aguanga and San Diego are nearby.
9. BISBEE, ARIZONA
This former mining town in the hills is near the Mexican border in southern Arizona. A relaxing place to have coffee, eat lunch and take a mining tour.
10. ABBEYVILLE, LOUISIANA
This is one of those real places --- nothing fake here. The realism starts at Betty's RV Park where she takes special care to ensure that guests experience the local cajun culture. Quaint town. Amazing food. Nearby Tabasco Factory. And Betty.
HONORABLE MENTION: MOUNT AIRY, NORTH CAROLINA
Andy Griffith's hometown --- Mayberry in every way. You can ride in the squad car, eat at the Bluebird, see Aunt Bea's house and visit Floyd's barbershop. The whistled theme song from the Andy Griffith Show plays on the main street throughout the town. It is near the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Yadkin Valley Wineries and Stone Mountain State Park.
The original cowboy town. Everything in the town is cowboy, including the 11th Street Cowboy Bar.
TOP TEN STATES
No pictures here. Just listings of some of the many attractions.
- National Parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, North Rim
Grand Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches,
- Monument Valley
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- National Parks: Olympic, Mount St. Helens,
Mount Rainier, North Cascades
- Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula
- Sequim - lavender capital of North America
- Gateway to Victoria Island
- Seattle - Pike Place Market
- Whidbey Island
- So much more to see, that we plan to go back.
- National Parks: Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings
Canyon, Joshua Tree, Death Valley.
- Lone Pine --- Alabama Hills, Film Museum,
- Morro Bay
- Wineries in Napa, Paso Robles, Temecula
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Borrego Springs
- National Parks: Black Canyon of the Gunnison,
Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde.
- Creede, Ouray, Durango
- Durango-Silverton Railway
- Pikes Peak Cog Railway
- Air Force Academy
5. NEW MEXICO
- Abiquiu Reservoir
- Ghost Ranch
- Enchanted Circle
- Santa Fe
- Ojo Caliente
- National Park: Crater Lake
- Oregon beaches
- Everglades National Park
- Gulf of Mexico Beaches
- Disney World
- Florida Keys
- Miami Metro Zoo
- New Orleans
- Tabasco Factory
- Amazing food that can't possibly be good for
- Drew Brees and the Saints
- The Hill Country
- Cooper's BBQ
- San Antonio
- Rio Grande Valley
- South Padre Island
- Shiner Brewery
- Big Bend National Park
- Davis Mountain State Park
- McDonald Observatory
- Marfa Lights
10. SOUTH DAKOTA
- Custer State Park
- Badlands National Park
- Sioux Falls
- Mount Rushmore
Check back in a few days for Dianne's summary of Year 2, followed by our Top Ten Lists of National and State Parks.