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The states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Those are the states we'll be traveling to before the month is over.  I guess Oregon doesn't count since we live there, but we will travel to the other side of the state from where we live.  Besides, I didn't want Oregon to feel left out.  Here is roughly the route we will take:

I just noticed that the eastern-most pin on this map shows Yellowstone National Park. Actually, we are going to the Grand Tetons.  We've already spent a substantial amount of time in Yellowstone, and so that isn't on our agenda this time.  The pin near Boise is for Stanley Basin, and the one almost dead center in Oregon is for the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

I say this is roughly our route because we avoid the interestate highways as much as possible and try to stay on the back roads.  It's a more scenic way to go.  Still, when one is pulling a big 5th wheel trailer, one wants to stay off roads that are too windy (long "i" windy).  Windy roads don't bother me, but they make Mike the Driver crabby.

Now here's something you may or may not have surmised about me.  I am an inveterate collector of useful and useless information.  (I'll even give you three guesses between the two choices which kind of information outnumbers which.)  If I see an interesting article or book about travel or cooking, even if I think the chance that I will ever use it is remote at best, I will tear it out or store it away for future use.  I have whole file cabinets full of stuff I have torn from magazines and printed from websites.  Some of it is ancient, but I can't bear to part with it.  After all, I might just visit that Dennis the Menace playground in Northern California some day...maybe when I have great grandchildren.  (It would be expeditious to have some grandchildren first.)

Yesterday, I went through my piles and piles of information and distilled it down to one medium-sized box for our upcoming trip.  The stuff in the manila (or vanilla, as Mike likes to say) folders in the back is the stuff I've torn from magazines, just to be clear.  I have an envelope like that for every state in the union and many of the countries around the globe.

And for all that it drives my family crazy, I like to think that I am an excellent tour guide.  No matter how tiny the place may be that we are traveling through, I have at the tip of my fingers some completely useless information to share about it.  

For example, did you know that in the town of Fort Bridger, Wyoming, (pop. 345), one of its early residents was the renowned mountain man Jim Bridger, who hired himself out as a wilderness guide.  Bridger was known for telling tall tales, including the story in which he tried to jump across a gorge in a petrified forest.  As it turns out, the gorge was wider than he expected, but Bridger managed to escape death by remaining aloft on the gorge's petrified air.  (I swear I am not making this up.)  Now, call me crazy, but I think this sort of thing is precisely what one needs to know when one embarks on a road trip.  You agree with me, don't you?

And here's something else.  There are many benefits to being a member of AAA, but in my mind, the price of membership is completely worth the maps and tour books you gain access to.  Like, how could I possibly have known that about Jim Bridger without having the Wyoming tour book at my disposal?  So here are our maps (fascinating, I know). 

We do have GPS, but a good map is indispensable when the GPS leads you astray.  I am certain they are programmed to do that every couple of hundred miles or so.  I imagine they have parties with their GPS friends and snicker about the times they've led people to remote outposts and dead end streets.

And these two books are great for making the most of the scenery on any given trip.

And here are my beloved tour books.  I like to sleep with them the night before a trip just so we can become well acquainted.

And just in case, I bring along all the border states too.  You can never be sure where that GPS will take you, and you wouldn't want to miss out on any trivia along the way.

And then, because you'll want to stay in the finest campgrounds...or any campground, when you are in the middle of nowhere searching for one...there is the RVer's Bible.

But just in case, it's always a good idea to consult alternative sources.  You know this one is the "best".  Just look at the smiling faces of all those happy campers.

Oh yes, and if you're looking for all-inclusive questionable service and amenities, there's always this one:

It's two years out of date, but you can pick up the latest one on your first KOA stop.

And this one goes without saying:

Our 5th wheel is about 34 feet, and so it's good to have a book dedicated to big rigs along. There are lots of RVs bigger than ours, but again, middle of nowhere, and you'll like having every opportunity to find something that will work.

Check out the states listed in the subtitle of this next one!  It's as if this book were published just for us...and just for our trip!  You don't suppose?

But with all these official and best guides, I leave nothing to chance.  I bring along the "unofficial" guides as well because pretty much everything we do when we're traveling is unofficial.

And last, but definitely not least, there is this one that gives us lots of good information on the cheapest camping in America...unless you know some free spots.

So, I think I've just about covered it, although I'm still looking for a guide to the worst campgrounds in America.  I want to have all the bases covered.

So, anything else you want to know about traveling?  Because I'm seriously trying to delay as long as possible the making of the final batch of pasta sauce of the season.  As much as I like pasta sauce, it is a big job peeling and chopping and cooking and canning all those tomatoes.  And the third time around is much less charming than the first two times. 

If nothing else, the trip will give me a break from the tomatoes.  Remember when I was swooning over them?  Maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder and I'll be back to that loving feeling when we return.  And then I'll tackle the salsa.

And here's your morning picture of my little buddy.  He's grounded today and tomorrow for venturing too far from the house yesterday.  Actually, he caught a vole, and I think the vole was leading him down to bobcat territory with his little squeaks..."Come on, kitty, just a little further..."  They are e-vole that way.  (Snort!)

Smitty gets so relaxed and spread out like a coating of butter on the couch that sometimes he slides off onto the floor without any alteration of his former position.

20 comments from clever and witty friends:

Pieces to Love said...

Looks like a great trip in the works.

Mrs.Pickles said...

looks like you are ready for a great trip. If you crossed the border into Alberta and drove just a few hours more you could come and visit...lol I think I have a few tomatoes you could can too :P
Have a great trip!

Wendy said...

SCHWEET!! Nice trip you have planned there ... you are passing through my hometown, Missoula, Montana while traveling from the Grand Tetons (gorgeous by the way!) to Glacier National Park :) :) You may just have to give me a heads up and a wave!! I used to live in central Oregon so you will enjoy the Fossil Beds, don't miss the Lava Lands ... too bad you can't go a bit further south and visit Crater Lake Oregon ... beautiful! Safe travels :) :)

greelyrita said...

Clearly your calling is in research! Have a lovely trip! I wish I were coming along...

Celtic Thistle said...

I am way underprepared for our trip from Riga to SW France having seen your post! Looks like you will be a complete mine of information. Have a great trip.

Dirt Road Quilter said...

Well now I know who to turn to when I leave the dirt road! :) we happen to know a lot about Jim Bridger because we are avid readers and we have a few books about him on our bookshelves. Sounds like you are armed and prepared! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures!

Dirt Road Quilter said...

I forgot to mention that those GPS' really will lead you astray. We don;t have them, but a few months ago they closed the road to town due to an accident and suddenly we started getting all this traffic down our dirt road. DH is horseback and he calls me to see what in the heck is going on. LOL. I go out and start talking to people. Apparently their GPS tells them that they can get to town using our road. Ummm...no. :)

Teresa in Music City said...

If I ever get to take a really nice road trip somewhere - anywhere! - and I get to take only one person with me... you're it! Sorry Don, sweetie, I love you and all that, but you just don't have the travel tools Barbara's got :*)

Cassandra said...

Your trip looks like a lot of fun! Like you, I'm a planner. ;) All of your books and trip preparations are extremely useful! After all, the planning is half the fun.

Lee said...

Never hurts to have lots of info. Way, way back I used to do a lot of camping, hiking, backpacking. We backpacked into a wilderness area of the Grand Tetons. Worst trail ever as it was also a horse/mule trail though not frequently used and not at all smooth. I had fallen off a curb the morning of the backpack so did the 15 mile trip - all one day - uphill - limping and aching which because I then wasn't walking correctly, gave me tremendous, painful blisters that lasted the entire trip. The only advantage downhill coming back had was just that, downhill. The hiking boots got tossed into the dumpster at the end of the trail. Never did get back to it - my son was born the next year and that took precedence :) The Tetons are beautiful and somewhere in that area Green River I think is a Mountain Man Festival - earlier in the year than this, they have fun times.

I love Smitty's look laying there on the floor. Sweet.

Denise :) said...

Love your collection of resources!! I have several of them, most notably the Quilter's Travel Companion and the NG's Guide to the National Parks. The Scenic Highways and Byways sounds like fun. And I couldn't agree more that a good map is indispensable! Sometimes GPS fails! I always keep a road atlas in the car....it's saved us a time or two!! Good punny play on the e-vole ... and nice *snort* too! :)

Diane Wild said...

I hope you'll look up from your book once in a while and enjoy the scenery. Sounds like a great trip. I camped in the Tetons in 1988..the year of the Yellowstone fires. I'll always remember "Dead Sheep Trail". That was the name we gave it as there was a dead sheep in the middle of it. We also met a search party on horseback looking for a lost hiker. I think that was the lump across the back of the pack mule. Be careful.

Colleen said...

I love little boy cats! They are so sweet and boyish! Keep a close eye on him! Him catching the vole reminds me of my late cat Opus. An inside cat who lived in an outside covered pen part-time when I stayed with my parents for a few months. I went out to visit him one time and he had 3 voles lying dead at his feet. He gave me a confused proud look and meowed like 'Did I do ok?" I still miss him. Have a good trip.

Junebug613 said...

Wow that is quite the library of travel you are taking with you! I admire your organization and I love all the informational stuff! I bet you're fun to travel with. As always, I love the pictures of your adorable little guy. Thank goodness I have my own little adorable kitty, or I'd be oh so jealous! I hope you have a fabulous trip and can't wait for the photos and stories!

Dana Gaffney said...

You're a little weird, but I'm pretty sure that's what I like about you. The e-vole made me literally LOL. I know you'll have a great trip, I hope Smitty enjoys being a traveling kitty.

Snoodles said...

Girl, you plan a trip just like I do. LOL I sure hope you have a blast...looking forward to some intermittent posting and photos! Will Smitty be in his Catio? Stay safe, and have a wonderful time making memories!

ana-ane said...

¡¡Feliz Viaje!!



Kate said...

You are one prepared traveling lady. I like that in a person.

quiltzyx said...

You are soooo organized! Yes, I agree about AAA too - their maps are wonderful. It's about the only thing I have my card for.

I'm looking forward to your annual travelog & pictures during the next few weeks. Have a great time!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

One of my best friends just got home from Glacier Nat'l Park. She loved it. Have fun!