1999 - 2000 Journal
February second - the first offical day of retirement!!!!!! We leave our home in Madras, Oregon and head south to Medford for a visit with our daughter. From there it was on down the California coast to visit family and friends in the San Francisco area.
From there it was on south for a visit to Death Valley, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Had a frightful experience dropping into Death Valley when the brakes overheated and stopped working. Fortunately, the trailer brakes and rear brakes on the truck eventually got us stopped but the front disc brakes on the truck were really smoking when we finially got stopped. We had just had them replaced before leaving Madras but the pads they installed were of low quality and just couldn't hold up to the demands of Death Valley. Had them repaired in Las Vegas and had no more problems.
Really enjoyed Death Valley and the Grand Canyon. These are two must see places in America and I am sure we will return in the future.
We headed on east into New Mexico where we visited Silver City and the Gila Cliff Dwellings. From there it was on east into Texas where we visited friends in the Conroe and San Antonio areas. From there we started our return trip to Oregon as we had to be back by the end of March - talk about a quick trip - all the way to Houston area and back in less than sixty days.
Stopped at Big Bend National Park on the return trip.
The day after returning to Madras we awoke to over a foot of snow - thankfully we had made it home before it hit!
Spent the spring and summer bouncing around Oregon from the coast to the Northeastern corner but spent several weeks at our favorite campground - Magone Lake near John Day.
October found us once again heading south for the winter with plans to make a loop around the states and return home in the summer. We made our way into Nevada and then Utah where we visited Zion, Capital Reef and Arches National Parks. What beautiful places these are. Of all, I think I was most impressed with Arches.
We continued on east into Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas where we stopped to visit friends. Got as far as the Houston area when our duaghters boyfriend called and asked permission to marry her. They set the date for April so we canceled our plans for a trip around the states.
We did continue on to Louisiana where we visited New Orleans and Grand Isle. What a wonderful little jewel we discovered in Grand Isle. It is a small barrier island (only inhabitated barrier island in Louisiana) that attracts very few tourists. The winter population is probably less than 7-800 people. And they have a really nice State Park with primitive camping (no hook-ups). While there Len caught a BIG forty pound redfish (he is hooked on this place now). We also met some great people from Minnisota and New Hampshire.
From Grand Isle we traveled west with our new friends from New Hampshire. We followed the Texas Gulf coast all the way to Brownsville. After about three weeks with them we parted company and headed to the San Antonio area for a few days with friends before heading west.
From San Antonio we headed northwest to Pecos and then on to Arizona and then north to Oregon and a wedding in April! And a fine wedding it was!
After the wedding we headed on to our son's place in Albany and then home for a couple of weeks before heading to Magone Lake. We stayed in that area through June and then headed out on our "around the states trip". We traveled across the northern states, down the eastern seaboard arriving in Louisiana just before Christmas.
This big trip saw us delayed in South Dakota for three weeks when we lost a wheel on the trailer and ended up having to replace the axles. We also spent time with several old friends from our military days that we had not seen in over twenty years (Minnisota, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Virginia). Many, many side trips along the way led us to many of the great wonders of our country. Even had fresh lobster in New England several times - what a treat!
Our stay in Florida produced some unexpected excitement when we happened to be in the area for a nighttime launch of the Endeaver space shuttle. What a sight this was.
We spent the Holidays in New Orleans and then headed on to Grand Isle where we once again met up with folks we had met the previous year. Fishing was good and we had many a fish fry for the whole campground!
We found ourselves back in Texas in February where we visited with friends in the Houston and San Antonio areas. We headed on west in late February and stopped in Tucson to look at trucks and ended up buying a used 2000 Ford F-550 crew cab. Had to take a few days in the dealer adjacent campground to get everything transferred.