Less than 48 hours from now until we hit the road for this Spring’s eastward travels. The RV is almost all packed, and I found some cool new kitchen gadgets to try out. There’s the 3 in 1 Breakfast station, that makes coffee and toast, and has a tiny frying spot on top for an egg, as well as a Cuisinart egg cooker that can boil, poach and even make a small omelet. Interesting times ahead in the little RV kitchen!
I plan on sharing our travels through words as well as pictures of the places we go over the next two weeks, but here is a preview of our planned itinerary (all subject to change, of course, depending on mood or unexpected events along the way). We only plan on driving about 400 miles a day, leaving ample time to visit places we want to see. If anyone reading this has any suggestions for restaurants or other points of interest along this route, please let me know!
Day 1: California to Arizona
We plan on heading out of Visalia, California around 9:30 am. Our first stop will be at the Colonel Allensworth State Park outside of Earlimart. Allensworth was the only California town to be founded, financed and governed solely by African Americans. Allensworth is less than an hour from here, but I’ve never stopped there before and think it is worth a visit. After that we will have a quick stop at the Cesar Chavez National Monument in Keene, CA, and then continue on across the Mojave National Preserve to our first night’s stop in Kingman, Arizona.
Day 2: Arizona
We start off our second day with a visit to the Grand Canyon. In all the times I’ve driven across the country, this will be the first time I’ve visited it, so I’m excited about this. Then we will head south through Phoenix to Interstate 10, stopping along the way for a quick visit to Montezuma Castle National Monument. Our second night will be in Coolidge, Arizona, just down the road from the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
Day 3: Arizona to New Mexico
In the morning, we’ll pass through Saguaro National Park and have lunch at La Posta de Mesilla (which the Road Food book recommends) near Fort Bowie National Historic Site. In the afternoon, we will travel through White Sands National Monument on our way to Alamogordo, New Mexico for the night.
Day 4: New Mexico to Texas
If we start early enough, we should arrive at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in time for the first guided tours of the day. That’s the only thing planned of interest on day 4; the rest of it is just driving down to Sonora, Texas to a Good Sam RV Park there.
Day 5: Texas
A three hour drive in the morning will bring us to San Antonio, the Missions and the Alamo. After which we will spend the afternoon driving to Highlands, just East of Houston where we will spend the night.
Day 6: Texas to Louisiana
Day six begins with a short drive over to Beaumont and the Big Thicket National Preserve; then we will head on to New Orleans and the Jazz National Historic Park. Nigel Fields, one of the Park Rangers who I met in Alabama earlier this Spring works there (I was in Alabama to take part in the NPS Walking Classroom commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches). We spend the night just outside NOLA.
Day 7: Louisiana through Mississippi and Florida, and back up to Alabama
A full morning’s drive will take us through the bottom edges of Mississippi and Alabama and into the panhandle of Florida. We will have lunch near the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and then turn north to Eufala, Alabama and the Lake Eufala Campground for the night.
Day 8: Alabama to Georgia to South Carolina
Just a short 2 hour drive in the morning of the eighth day will bring up to Andersonville Prison National Historic Site. I read McKinley Cantor’s book Andersonville years ago, and have always wanted to visit the site. After that we will continue on to Savannah, Georgia for lunch at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room, and then a few more hours of driving will bring us to Charleston, South Carolina for the night.
Day 9: South Carolina to North Carolina
Day 10: North Carolina to Virginia to West Virginia
In the morning we will visit the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (mostly because it has a great name!), and then we will drive up to Harper’s Ferry National Historic Site, where John Rudy works (another of the park rangers I met in Alabama). We spend the night at the Harper’s Ferry KOA.
Day 11: West Virginia to Massachusetts
There is the possibility of visiting Gettysburg on our way through Pennsylvania, but at this point in the trip, we may just want to drive the remaining 379 miles and get to our Berkshires home in the Town Among the Clouds, Mount Washington, Massachusetts.