September is here, school is back in session, and the long hot days are slowly cooling down.  The wild exuberance of summer may be behind us, but that’s no reason for the fun to stop.  Fall is a time of harvest festivals, foliage tours, and football tailgating.  Family trips may have to revolve around the school year, but the weekends are waiting for you to hit the road.


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9/11 AND ONE


Nearly every year on this date, I try to examine the tragedy of September 11th from a different angle. In fact, I wrote a book about a decade ago that essentially did just that. Part of what I attempted in my American travel memoir, Small World, was to explore the reactions to the horrors of 9/11 from various points of view. And I came to realize that, actually, the view was much the same everywhere. I found that, no matter where people lived—from Prague (Nebraska) to Vienna (South Dakota), from Congo (Ohio) to Calcutta (West Virginia) — they felt a kinship with victims of that day, whether they knew them or not.

I’d say this is evident in the myriad 9/11 memorials that now populate the landscape. Solemn remembrances (often in the form of remnants of the World Trade Center) can be found in Austin (Texas), Lansing (Michigan), Carmel (California), Windermere (Florida), Havelock (North Carolina) South Bend (Indiana), Parsippany (New Jersey), Dodge City (Kansas)—and literally hundreds more places.

But about 12 months ago, I discovered a place where you can get that regional perspective of a national tragedy simply by visiting one place — the Newseum in Washington, D.C. For me, the most riveting exhibit in this remarkable museum was the 9/11 Gallery. Its centerpiece was a mangled communications antenna that once topped the North Tower. There was a damaged piece of the Pentagon, too. And, this being a museum about the First Amendment and the press, the exhibit told the story of the only photojournalist killed in the attacks.

But it was the wall of front pages that took my breath away. There were, I believe, 136 of them — from all over the country. Indeed, all over the world. They were all from September 12th. Every one of them, in probably the boldest headlines since Pearl Harbor, offered a regional take on the tragedy. What photo did the editors choose? What headline? The choices convey perspective, emotion, shock.

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Who are the girl campers, glampers, and women who are filling Pinterest with pictures of their tricked out trailers and girlfriend adventures? Well, they are a new generation of campers, many of whom are finding the RV lifestyle for the first time. They are a new demographic of small trailer owners and park hoppers who have reached a point in life where they are going places and doing things and having the time of their lives. Pssst…they are also doing it in high style!

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As I sat in bed this morning watching a bald eagle perched atop a telephone pole out my RV window, I began to reflect on this summer’s journey.

I thought about our campsite on the beach where we started this grand adventure in the Florida Keys and Thing 2’s face when he found the conch shell. I thought about the time spent visiting our family in Indiana and the joy of watching our boys interact with their cousins. I thought about winding through the whimsical creative madness of House on the Rock just outside of Madison. I thought about Thing 1 playing piano at the International Music Camp in North Dakota and how too quickly he is growing up. I thought about crossing the border into Canadadriving the “Alcan” with our friends, and thousands of miles later spending cozy afternoons in the RV while the rain fell in Alaska.

I thought about the memories we had made and wondered about the memories yet to come.

As my thoughts began to settle, I was overcome with a deep gratitude. Grateful for the memories and grateful that you came along with us. Your suggestions helped more than you know, and it was so fun to share the adventure with you. Thank you.

Now let’s #GoRVing one more week in Alaska before I collapse into a pile of sentimentality!

From Homer, we headed to Seward in hopes of catching a sunny day to take in a boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park tidewater glaciers and the possibility of seeing a glacier calve. The tour is a bit on the pricey side for a family of four (baby is free), so we wanted to make sure it would be a clear day. According to the forecast, the following day would be the only clear day during the upcoming week.

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Many of you have offered suggestions on the Go RVing Facebook page during our journey from Key West, Florida to Alaska. We want you to know we are genuinely thankful. We’ve seen so many amazing places by following your suggestions and Talkeetna was no exception!IMG_5520

We stayed in Talkeetna Camper Park, a short walk from downtown Talkeetna.

talkeetna-collage-alaskaTalkeetna is a small town off the Parks Highway. It’s a hub for adventures with many sight seeing, river rafting, and zip lining companies based in town. Most climbing expeditions to Mount McKinley (Denali) begin here.

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