And we're off! It is time for Leslie and I to pack the Honda Odyssey and head to the North Woods and pick up the girls from Camp Birchwood. Jenna has been there since July 9th and Blaire since the 23rd.
Last year's route to pick up them up consisted of a three day sprint through California, Nevada, Arizona (about 10 miles), Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, South and North Dakota and finally Minnesota. About 2,000 miles in two nights. Our route home was a long first day haul to Mount Rushmore, through Wyoming and Yellowstone, down to Jackson Hole to jump the Rockies and down to Idaho Falls, south to Cedar City, Utah and Zion National Park and through Vegas to home.
Last year's round trip looked like a diagonal cut across Western America. This year's trip will be a giant square. We will head up 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra's to Bishop and then Reno, continue up 395 into Oregon, cut across Idaho to Missoula, Montana, head to northern Montana and then east to Minot and Grand Forks, North Dakota then southeast to Laporte, Minnesota and Camp.
Next Sunday we will depart Camp Birchwood with the plan to spend the night in Des Moines, Iowa so the girls can see the homeland of their maternal grandfather then on to Tulsa for a few nights to see the homeland of the Dad (that's me) and several generations of Smiths. From Tulsa we will head west to Albuquerque to Williams, Arizona where we will spend a few nights and take a train up to visit the Grand Canyon. Two weeks from the day we left Long Beach we will leave Williams and return to Lime Avenue in Long Beach, California.
Google Maps has the route at 4,949 miles and thirteen states and putting me at 40 states visited lifetime (missing Alaska, Washington, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia). Here is a look at our route. We'll be posting updates on our Facebook pages and this blog site so you can follow along as we travel this beautiful nation and meet its wonderful people.