We think that 2017 has been one of our favorite travel years ever! We took a grand loop of the western United States, taking in some of the best of God's wonders found anywhere in the world. We visited 18 National Parks and 41 National Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Historic Sites during the last eleven months. What a great year of wandering!
It's always fun to see a map of where we have been. Mark plotted each point we camped in the motor home during 2017. There were 78 different camp sites in this loop. The print is small, but he included the campground, city and state of each. By clicking on the map, you can enlarge it in a new window to see the stops more clearly. From those campgrounds, we drove the car to explore the area around us.
We started the year at the southern tip of Texas. We spent over a month at the RV resort where Denisa's Mother has wintered for over 30 years. In mid-January we headed west until we hit the ocean. That took us across Texas and through southern New Mexico, Arizona, and California until we landed in San Diego for a week in March.
We discovered that California is a huge state, and we spent two months traversing its length from south to north. We arrived in Oregon in May, and found that this state's coast line is stunning! We crept our way north up the coast, spending time at the beach every day of the month we were in Oregon.
We sped up on our trip through Washington, since we were meeting our son and his girl friend at the airport in Seattle. We made a fast three-day trip around the Olympic Peninsula, and we've already decided that we need to return to spend more time. We loved the San Juan Islands just north of Seattle. It was hard to pull ourselves away from the ocean and the mountains to turn our motor home eastward to continue our loop across the State of Washington.
We flew back to Oklahoma for a month-long visit in June, leaving the motor home in storage in Washington. When we returned, we continued our loop across Washington, through the Idaho panhandle, and into Montana. We learned about forest fires, and spent the month of August dodging the worst of the smoke. We were lucky to get to spend 20 days around Glacier National Park before some of the entrances were closed because of the fires. We had another visitor, Patti, during this special time in one of our favorite national parks. It was in Glacier National Park that we had some of our best wildlife sightings.
Our loop turned south through Montana into the tip of Wyoming to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Now our moves were determined by snow storms in the mountains that were nipping on our heels. We traveled through the tip of Idaho before we made our way through Utah during much of the month of October. We enjoyed more glorious national parks and autumn leaves as we entered Arizona. One of the year's highlights has to be winning the lottery for two of the ten spaces to hike to "The Wave"!
We drove through the Navajo Reservation that makes up the entire northeast corner of Arizona. Then we made our way across the state of New Mexico visiting more Indian sites. We entered the Texas Panhandle in November, with fewer and shorter stops as we got closer to our old stomping grounds in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
The grand western loop has been an epic year of travel with new states and some of our favorite stops ever! We have truly been blessed as we wandered through an entire year of God's wonders!