Update 1: May 5, 2006

Leaving Phoenix: April 22, 2006 (Location 1 on the Map)

With a quarter turn of the ignition key, the latest chapter of our lives had come to an end. For Jeff, it ended a 20-year stay in Phoenix, including 14 years of his professional life. For Susan, it signaled a move away from her parents, who had followed her to Phoenix from Wisconsin. For Justin it was just another day, but one that would start a great adventure that would help to shape his young life. Turning the key on the RV also brought to a close the many months of planning and agonizing over what we were now doing: giving it all up to travel around the US for a year.

Susan in particular had mixed feelings as we drove away from her parent’s house. After selling our house, we moved in with Susan’s parents for five weeks. During that time, they had virtually unlimited access to their only grandson. Now here we were, taking him away from them. Susan had told me that I would have to be patient with her that first day as she dealt with her emotions. I was, and it didn’t take her long to regain her excitement for the trip.

Joshua Tree National Park: April 22-28, 2006 (Location 2 on the Map)

Joshua Tree was the second National Park we would visit. (The first was Saguaro National Park near Tucson that we saw prior to our trip). Joshua Tree has always been a favorite of ours, so we were excited to be there again among the rocks and the park’s namesake trees. It was also our first extended dry-camping stay in the RV longer than a weekend. We soon learned that even though we had 55 gallons of fresh water in the tanks and plenty of capacity in the grey and black tanks, conservation can only go so far. After three days, we were already out of water and in need of dumping the other tanks.

We spent our time here hiking and climbing. Justin is now a veteran of our hiking and climbing excursions, so this was nothing new to him. During hikes, he’d sit back and enjoy the ride in his carrier. When we climbed, he would either play with toys in his portable playpen, or play with his sand toys next to me or Susan as we belayed the other up the climbs. He even got in some climbing of his own in his new full-body kid’s harness, although he wasn’t in the mood to wear it for very long.

For photos from Saguaro National Park, Click Here
For photos from Joshua Tree National Park, Click Here

Anaheim, CA: April 28-30, 2006 (Location 3 on the Map)

We spent two nights in Anaheim at an RV resort. The nice thing about these resorts is that you have full hookups at each site, so you always have a supply of electricity and fresh water. As well, your sewer hookups are right there, so you don’t have to drive anywhere to dump your tanks. That comes at a price, though: we were a mere 10-feet from the next RV. But we weren’t there to camp; we were there for that great American rite of passage: Disneyland.

Anytime we mentioned Disneyland to Justin, he said the same thing: “Mickey Mouse”. It didn’t matter that there were all other sorts of things to see and do; to him, it was all about Mickey. Fortunately, we were able to get an audience with his Holiness, and Justin got a high-five and a picture to remember it by. Despite the Saturday crowds, we were able to get on a fair number of rides and had a great time. We figured after being there from 10am to 9pm, Justin would be wiped out, but he still had enough energy to watch the fireworks show from the RV when we got back.

For photos from Disneyland, Click Here

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