MILES AND MILES OF MEMORIES

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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333 MILES OF BEAUTY

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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LITTLE BIG CITIES

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Anyone remember Little Big Man, the comic novel by Thomas Berger that debuted 50 years ago in 1964 and became a celebrated film starring Dustin Hoffman six years later. Well, this post is about Little Big Cities.

I’m not a city person. Although I’ve resided in two of the biggest (in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and Manhattan’s Greenwich Village), I prefer the wide open spaces. In fact, even the photo above wasn’t actually taken in a city. It’s a Lego skyscraper from Legoland in Carlsbad, California. That’s my preferred pace.

I live in what many would describe as a small town on California’s Central Coast. I’ve written three travel memoirs, all of them about some of the tiniest dots on the map. A house on wheels has taken me to some of the more remote places in the country — from Promontory (Utah) to Plaquemines Parish (Louisiana). I like it that way.

It’s not that I stay away from cities, by any means. They still form the backbone of every summer trip for us—and this summer we went everywhere from New York to Philadelphia to Boston. But I always prefer a place where quiet is the rule, not the exception, and where the view isn’t obscured by concrete and glass.

That being the case, I think I’ve come up with a way to reference some of America’s most populous places without necessarily having to become part of the population. The following are nine communities with familiar names, but they’re in less familiar places. And there’s something worth seeing in each of them. Tour them in this order, and it could constitute a viable RV itinerary:

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SEEING “THE MOUNTAIN” AND OTHER ALASKA SURPRISES

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You can’t drive over 5,000 miles into the Northern Hemisphere without stopping at the Santa Claus House in the North Pole. Unfortunately, Santa had taken the day off, but it was still a fun place to get an Alaskan Christmas ornament and a good stop for fudge. But, could a stop involving fudge ever be bad?

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Upon arriving in Fairbanks, we headed over to Pioneer Park. Pioneer Park allows RVs to stay in their parking lot for up to four days for a reasonable fee. They even have a place to fill up water and Wi-Fi.

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10 SUMMER MEMORIES YOU’LL NEVER FORGET

Summer sadly doesn’t last forever, but the memories made on the road with family certainly do! We’ve captured our top 10 favorite summer #RVmemories below and want to hear yours! Send us your favorite #RVmemory by tweeting @GoRVing or enter here for a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card.

#10 – Watching fireworks GoRving-6122

Nothing says summer like the boom of fireworks.

#9 – Having a beach adventure GoRving-6047 GoRving-5965 copy GoRving-5024

Is there anything better than warm sand between your toes?

#8 – Grillin’ with the family GoRving-2-3_Cropped GoRving-4960 Dads always cooks the best meals when he’s behind the grill.

#7 – Scenic views and sunsets GoRving-256 GoRving-32 GoRving-5797

The thrill of exploring a new place with the comforts of home not too far away.

#6 – Family Time GoRving-5105 GoRving-7095 GoRving-6806

The best summer ever couldn’t have been possible without mom, dad, brother, sister, and everyone else in the RV.

#5 – Fun Outdoors GoRving-4858 GoRving-5080

It’s easy to get lost in special moments – and that’s what summer is for!

#4– Exploring new places GoRving-6612

Turning off the GPS and finding that secret spot while traveling on the back roads? Priceless.

#3 –Campground R&R GoRving-5981 GoRving-5188

Who knew vacations could be so exhausting? Thankfully, the RV always provides a great place for a little R&R.

#2 – Games GoRving-6682 Whether it’s a quick game of “Go Fish” or a never-ending game of Monopoly, the best summer ever is full of games with the family.

#1 – Finding your AWAY with an RV of course! GoRving-6512

Was summer 2014 your best summer ever? Tell us your favorite memories. Find us @GoRVing or comment below.