We began our year in Hawaii and ended up in Africa at the end. Another dream come true was to see the animals of Africa. We rented a motorhome and went to 20 National Parks. It was everything I had hoped for and more. We met wonderful new friends from South Africa. Everything about camping there was luxury. More about Africa in the “2015” section of our website.
The Hot Springs started out in the Spring with the western side of Nevada and the very north east corner of California and the Surprise Valley. Great soakin' and camping. This country felt remote and far removed from the busy world. LOTS of birds!
After leaving the boat we traveled right down the coast. We started over on Whidbey Island and caught the ferry to Port Townsend. We had to laugh at the new world in Washington of legal pot. A sign just outside of town read, “Don't drug and drive.” Out to the end of the Olympic peninsula and Neah Bay the sky grew darker and darker. This is a wild and rainy coast. Earlier in the trip we stopped at the redwoods and visited a relative, Kaye, in McKinleyville. She is from my mom's generation and just a few years younger. Then from there on down to visit the Monterrey Aquarium before leaving the coast to go east to the Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park. We called this whole trip the BIG tree adventure. We were eventually drove out by snow in Sequoia National Monument. Saw bear tracks where we camped. Got to soak in hot springs next to the Kern River [Remington/ Hobo]. VERY sweet hand built pools BUT many people and no nudity. This storm, the locals told us, was their first in two years. California is in a world of hurt with no water, too many people, and no conservation. The last few years the water level was in the teens. This year it was 7%. No snow, no rain, no water. Scary!
We got over to my families place in Southern Utah and found out we couldn't go to Africa until mid December. Off we went to Ajo, Arizona and Organ Pipe National Park right down by Mexico. On the way there we visited a very nice commercial hot springs west of Phoenix. We got to go into a locked off area and also a neat wildlife refuge near Ajo. All great country but 28 degrees one morning made me NOT want to live there. Beautiful, stark, not many people south of Phoenix, BUT too cold. On the way north we met another of Carl's radio buddies, Bruce, NF7C. Arizona is just too stark. Everything is gray mountain. BUT we had wonderful camping although cold. It is so free in the western United States. LOVE IT!