My husband Alan and I spent our honeymoon tent camping across the country so that we could visit some of the most notable National Parks in the west. It was a month-long, epic adventure that would prove to be the foundation for a lifetime of camping and the defining experience that shaped our love of this country’s spectacular National Parks. After talking for years about re-creating our honeymoon trip and sharing that epic adventure with the kids, Alan and I did just that.
Instead of a two man mountain tent, we slept in the Jayco travel trailer we had bought the year before but, aside from that concession to our formerly youthful bodies, the adventure was much the same. We visited all the same National Parks and Monuments – Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain – and you can be sure that our stories from that trip will provide the raw material for many future blog posts. (I do hope you’ll return to read about our trip as it unfolded!)
We picnicked at mountain lakes, hiked some of the same trails we had taken 28 years before and saw the awe on the faces of our children as we introduced them to America. We made it safely through a forest fire in Montana, caught a glimpse of wolves in Wyoming, had a lake in Minnesota all to ourselves one lazy afternoon and discovered the world’s best frozen custard at Culver's. We met up with three sets of friends along the way, which made the trip so much more special and memorable. We covered 6,739 miles in 3 ½ weeks. Six thousand - it boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Each day was filled with its own beauty and adventure and each mile we traveled emphasized the diversity of this great nation. Alan and I love the open road and were delighted when the kids took to the road trip like ducks to water. Concerned that a change in schedule would delay our arrival home by another day, we posed the question to the kids, “Would you be okay on the road another day or are you getting homesick, in which case we can push right on through?” Our daughter (eight years old at the time) piped up right away – she was tired and could use a day of rest and relaxation on the road. But it was our thirteen year old son’s answer that spoke volumes about his perspective of the whole adventure. Sprawled in the dinette of the travel trailer, he raised his arms, looked around and asked, “Why would I be homesick? This is home.” We were on the road together and, therefore, we were “home.” Life just doesn’t get any better than that.
The first day out we had planned to overnight at the home of our friends Peg and Bill who lived in Ohio at the time. Traveling westbound across Pennsylvania we were working on our License Plate Scavenger Hunt, checking off on our list the different state license plates we had already spotted. The four of us got to talking about friends who had the good luck to see “the Jeopardy bus” on a recent road trip and we agreed that it was a pretty neat accomplishment. We knew we probably wouldn’t be able to top that, but we were working very hard to gather as many, if not more, state license plates as they did. Alan thought we had a pretty good chance of beating them but commented that “all we have to do is see the Wienermobile” to clinch it. We all laughed and agreed. We crossed into Ohio, adjusted our direction and pointed our rig toward Peg and Bill’s. What happened next was absolutely amazing. In fact, it’s SO amazing that if you don’t believe me, I have to admit that I can understand your unwillingness to do so. Heading toward us in one of the eastbound lanes was . . . THE WIENERMOBILE! You guys, I am NOT kidding! Friends and family members can tell you that I am definitely not prone to fabricating lies and my “reflections around the campfire” are all fact, not fiction. As soon as we spotted the Wienermobile, there was a loud and spontaneous eruption of shouting, pointing, laughing and clapping in our Tahoe. None of us could believe what we all had just seen. Who knew I was married to the Amazing Kreskin of ESP fame?! While I’m not a superstitious person, I have always believed in Fate and her strange and wonderful quirkiness. Spotting the Wienermobile was a sign to me that the trip was blessed in some special way and the grand adventures we had dreamed about lay ahead in the many miles we would travel. We arrived at Peg and Bill’s much later than planned, but Bill had kept supper warm for us and we had a wonderful visit with our very dear friends.
We left our friends’ home the next morning with our sights set on the Buffalo Shores Campground in Buffalo, Iowa. We would be camping on the banks of the Mississippi River like the pioneers of old. We didn’t have a Conestoga wagon and we’d be crossing the river via a man-made bridge instead of helping the oxen and horses struggle to haul the wagons through the river, but our son and daughter were indeed pioneers – traveling through unknown lands and discovering America mile by mile.
Here’s a tip to reflect upon: The Wienermobile zoomed by too fast for me to get a picture of it on that Interstate in Ohio, but you can see some cool photos and learn a few interesting facts about this unusual vehicle by checking out the Oscar Mayer web site (link HERE). Did you know that there are six Wienermobiles traveling across the country right now? And you can, apparently, follow the Wienermobiles on Instagram to find out where they are! This is not an affiliate link – I’m not being paid by Oscar Mayer for this post and I don't earn anything when you link to their web site. I just thought you might enjoy some Wienermobile fun! Who knows? Maybe you'll get to see the Wienermobile on your next road trip!