It’s just a few days before we’ll ring in the new year, and like many of you, these final few days of the year always give us pause to reflect back on what we experienced the past 12 months as we anticipate the promise of what the new year will bring. Every year holds it’s own unique stories, treasured moments, and unexpected idiosyncrasies–and 2017 was no different (complete with lots of lessons learned). From camping as far south as Texas’ Padre Island, and then setting up camp in the northern woods of Michigan’s Upper Penisula, to swimming with dolphins and witnessing the historic solar eclipse, it was a year filled with experiences that reaffirmed the reasons we are pursuing this life of travel with our children.
But before we take a look back at our year of creating family connections one RV adventure at a time, here’s a quick recap of the year by numbers:
- 12,350 miles driven
- 67 days on the road
- 17 campgrounds
- 14 NPS Sites
- 1 new camper
And now, our year in pictures:
We rang in the new year in Texas, making our way from Austin to San Antonio then Corpus Christi and Waco. We toured the Texas State Capitol, Texas Hill Country, Magnolia Market, and survived freezing-temperatures while boondocking at Padre Island National Seashore. Our three-week winter adventure also included stops in Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
We left the camper parked in Pennsylvania so we could visit family in Florida. As we soaked up some winter sun, we explored historic St. Augustine, swam with dolphins, and ate way too much good food.
We celebrated the end of the school year with a week-long camping trip to Pennsylvania’s Prince Gallitzin State Park. Although we squeezed in some sightseeing (you know us 😉 ), this trip was much more low-key, and featured lots of time to fish, bike, and cook over the campfire.
June & July
Our big summer trip found us winding our way through Michigan’s mitten and upper peninsula into Wisconsin’s storied Door County. The Michigan portion of the trip included a return trip to one of our favorite places: Sleeping Bear Dunes. Then there were stops on Mackinac Island, at the Mackinac Bridge, and then an adventure to Taqhuamenon Falls and celebrating the Fourth of July at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
From Michigan we wound our way into the charming Door County, where we packed our days with fun exploring nature preserves, local parks, lighthouses, community museums, and more. When it was finally time to bid adieu to all the fun, we made our way back home via a stop in Illinois to see Lincoln’s former home.
This final trip of the summer was the culmination of years of planning to fulfill Jarrett’s dream of being in the path of a solar eclipse. En route to all the eclipse fun, we made a stop at Kentucky Horse Park and delighted our horse-crazy daughter taking in horse shows and equine museum exhibits.
Once in Tennessee, we discovered a slice of campground heaven: Our spot in Mt. Juliet was seriously our most-epic campsite yet. And the best part: We got to experience totality right from the campsite.
Jarrett and the kids took off for a fun weekend while I stayed home to work on a writing project. They explored, canoed, and just all around played hard. 🙂
We were excited to meet up with our friends from Rowles Made (formerly RV Circus) for a beautiful fall weekend of camping at Shawnee State Park. We enjoyed good food, soaked up some incredible weather, paid a visit to the Flight 93 memorial, and biked the abandoned turnpike. It was everything a fall camping weekend should be!
So that’s a quick look back at our highlights from 2017. What were the best parts of your year?