15 Days, 11 States, 5 National Parks, and 6413 Miles Later

Our maniac road trip is over. It was amazing, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Our style is not for everyone. We don’t like to stay in one place for too long, and we want to see as much as we can in the time we have. We have gone on vacations where we just stay put, but this was a ROAD TRIP – not a destination, but an adventure.  Tomorrow I start back to work at my full-time job, but I will try to work on  my trip reports as often as I am able. Until then, here are the basics.

Starting point: Vancouver, Washington USA (not to be confused with Vancouver, BC in Canada).  My Vancouver is just across the river from Portland, Oregon.

Furthest point from origination: Biloxi, Mississippi. We didn’t stay here but took a little excursion from New Orleans, so this is our furthest spot east.

Dates: Thursday, July 3 – Friday, July 18, 2014

Vehicle: Best road trip car – 2014 Mazda 3 SGT. I will write a post just about this car, it is so perfect for road trips. Average of 34 mpg. Gas ranged from $3.29/gal to $4.09/gal. (The most expensive gas was in the northwest. The cheapest gas was in the south.)

Approximate cost: $3700 – includes gas, hotel, national park pass,  food, souvenirs, and all attractions.

Weather:  Even the northwest was in a heat wave during this time frame. Our average temperature throughout this trip was probably 90 degrees during the day, and 70 in the evening, with a high of 107. The further south we drove, of course the more humid.  We also encountered many thunderstorms, which I happen to love. Only once did it get frightening, as we were traveling through a mountain town and there was a sudden rainstorm and the streets flooded. More about that later.

Average hours of driving each day: On the way down, we averaged 5-6 hours each day. On the way back, at least 8 hours each day. (We were traveling through areas we had already seen, and we were also anxious to get home.)

My favorite part: seeing new cities and sights that we had never seen before

My least favorite part: the smell of New Orleans in the summer, and the last long day of driving.

How we passed the time during those long hours: We usually do a lot of talking and dreaming and planning on road trips. We did some of that, but not as much as I had hoped (that was my fault).  We listened to the audiobook of “Dune”, and I fell asleep for some of it, so we actually listened to it twice! My oldest son loves that book and has always wanted me to read it, so I didn’t want to miss any important parts. We also listened to Sirius XM satellite radio, which was great! I had a free trial with my new car, and I activated it just before we left. The best part, besides all of the station choices, is that we never had to search for a new station when we went from city to city.

Were we still speaking to each other after this road trip? Surprisingly, yes! We actually get along quite well most of the time, but after spending every moment with each other, it’s easy to get on each other’s nerves. Also, this is the longest trip we have ever taken. I was surprised, but there were  just a few times  where we were a bit impatient with each other, but we worked it out. It’s  okay – that’s normal.

Lesson I learned after about 3 days: You have probably heard the advice “Lay out everything you want to bring, then pack half of that.” I wish I would have listened.

Our general route and overnight stays

Our general route and overnight stays


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