March 30 - April 7, 2020: Drive Home To Boise
Punta Gorda, Florida to Boise, Idaho
Well, it is time to start our drive back to Boise, Idaho and finish our travel adventure across the US, Canada, and Baja.
As we began the drive home, it was with sadness to have the trip ending, however excitement to get home and back into some kind of routine. Although our trip has been epic and fun, we both are missing family, home, and our lifestyle.
Our original plan was to spend about a month traveling back across the US to Boise. Visiting the States we had not been to (Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma) and revisiting some of the States (Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado) but spending time in different cities. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions varying by state, county, and city, we decided to 'book it' home. Still driving through Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Day 1: March 30, 2020
Today we drove from Punta Gorda, Florida to Pensacola, Florida. We drove I75 to I10. 525 miles. 9:30am - 5:30pm travel time.
The terrain was flat with a few rolling hills. Temperatures were between 84 - 72f. When we stopped for gas which was usually at a Love's, Craig would use a plastic bag on one hand to 'run' the gas pump (credit card buttons, nozzle, etc.) he would then use hand sanitizer when he entered the truck. If we went inside to use the restroom, there were hand sanitizing stations as you entered the facility and outside of the bathrooms. In the bathrooms most had automatic water, soap, and towel dispensers so in reality we never touched anything and the buildings were pretty empty of people. However, since we had the trailer, we were also able to use our own bathroom and never enter the truck stop store!
The roads were pretty empty and going through the big cities was not a problem at all!
We stopped for the evening at a rest stop just outside of Pensacola, Florida. On all of our stops for the evening, we would exit the truck, enter into the trailer and not come out again until the next morning to get in the truck and continue our drive.
Note: Do you think the signs below mean....No Parking ; )
Day 2: March 31, 2020
Today we drove from Pensacola, Florida to Forrest City, Arkansas. We drove Highway 87, 31, to I65, I22, I26, I55, I40. This took us straight up Alabama, across the bottom of Tennessee, into Mississippi, and then into Arkansas. We stopped for about 30 minutes in Mantachie, Mississippi to pick up some items we had left at Dr. Bob's house during our travels in 2019. 529 miles. 9:15am - 7:30pm travel time.
The terrain started out very green and then became more treed with larger rolling hills and a lot of flat farm land.
The exciting thing about today's travel was the tornado warnings! Yep, as soon as we left the Pensacola area, there were tornado warnings from Pensacola up Highway 87 into Alabama. Luckily, we were about 30 minutes ahead of the tornadoes, however we experienced torrential rain and poor visibility for about an hour. A little exciting...
Same story on the roads being empty and on getting gas throughout the day. Prices ranged from $1.55 to $1.69 per gallon.
Loved the message signs along the Interstates...glad to see people have not lost their sense of humor : )
We stopped for the evening at a Walmart in Forrest City, Arkansas. The outside temperature got down to 45f, and the inside trailer temp was 55f. As you can see from below, I was bundled up in blankets!
Day 3: April 1, 2020
Today we drove from Forrest City, Arkansas to Salina, Kansas. We drove Interstate 40, 35, and 35. This took us through Arkansas, Oklahoma, and into Kansas. Again, the roads in the bigger cities were pretty barren. 614 miles. 8:50am - 7:30pm travel time.
The terrain today went from rolling hills to again flat farm land. And...oil wells.
Same story on getting gas throughout the day. Prices ranged from $1.57 to $1.65 per gallon.
Again, loved the message signs along the Interstates... : )
We stopped for the evening at a Walmart in Salina, Kansas. The temperatures were back up into the 70's, sunny, and gorgeous!
Look at the first picture...Do you think they had some rain recently? Oh ya, part of the storm and tornado. A lot of the fields were flooded like this.
Notice anything special out these two pictures? Not a single car on the road, only semi trucks. This was pretty much the normal.
Notice what State we are driving in? Kansas. Notice the City, State on the GPS = Wichita, KS. Notice the Song on the radio? Carry On Wayward Son, by....the Band...Kansas. Freaky..... ; )
Day 4: April 2, 2020
Today we drove from Salina, Kansas to Littleton, Colorado. We crossed from Kansas into Colorado. 455 miles. 8:00am - 3:30pm travel time.
The terrain was....flat....flat....farming....dessert....barren....
Same story on the roads being empty and on getting gas throughout the day. Prices ranged from $1.39 to $2.59 per gallon. The prices got higher as we got closer to Colorado probably because some of this area is very desolate.
Loved the message signs along the Interstates... : )
The weather this day was...chilly...It was windy and spitting rain/sleet off and on. The snow was going to start coming later in the afternoon, so we wanted to stop in Littleton, Colorado before it hit. By the time we stopped for the day, the temperature was 25f! YIKES. What a shock going from 82f to 25f in the course of a few days! Bucking the wind and pulling the trailer, we averaged 6mpg. Yes...6 miles...per...gallon...
We stopped in Littleton, Colorado because Craig's cousins Mark and Crystal live here. We have stopped a few times to stay with them as we have traversed across the States and we thought this would be a good break point. Since Craig and I had been isolating since about March 8 and they had been isolating for 25 days, we all felt safe staying together in their house. We still maintained social distancing and yet had fun.
Ah....nice to be settled at Mark and Crystal's for a few days!
We found plenty of things to occupy our time at Mark and Crystals.
Craig built a shelving unit over the washer and dryer for Crystal. Built a bed laptop desk for Camille. Hung a swinging chair in the basement. And...the best part...let Camille play with his hair ; ) He actually kept it this way all day!
Meanwhile, Brynn and I played American Girl Doll (multiple times), painted toenails, and made crafts. Crystal and I spent a few days cleaning and organizing a basement room that had food, alcohol, party supplies, and small appliances. It is fun to do this with someone else's stuff when you have no vested interest!
Camille made some really good dog treats (yes...I ate 2 of them - smile) and was making fruit smoothie bowls for us!
We also helped collect eggs and...even got to bring some home with us! YUM....farm fresh raised eggs!
Mark and Clark were smart and kept themselves entertained doing other things ; ) Although Clark did buzz his hair!
We had a fun time with Mark, Crystal, Clark, Camille, Brynn, Marley (dog), and Stella (cat) and it was good to catch up, work a little bit, and yet relax.
THANK YOU Mark, Crystal, Clark, Camille, and Brynn for your hospitality!!!
Day 5 (of traveling): April 6, 2020
Today we left Littleton, Colorado and drove to Centerville, Utah. We crossed from Colorado into Utah on I70, I15. 551 miles. 9:30am - 7:15pm travel time.
We were so close to Boise and thought about pushing on through the night, but...decided to stop for the evening and have an easy drive home the next day.
The terrain was mountains, mountains, mountains, and more mountains. Oh how I have missed my (I know, they are not MINE and belong to everyone, but...they are special to ME - smile) jagged and craggy mountains of Colorado, Utah and Idaho! Of course, we came across some desert areas and we were in oil country again.
The roads where getting more busy, but still less than normal. Gas prices ranged from $2.25 and up per gallon.
We stopped for the night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot and...were the only people in the area! Cracker Barrel was open for take out, so we decided to splurge and get takeout for dinner. We split a dinner and YES...we wiped down the containers before coming into the trailer!
Notice the leaving Colorado and welcome to Utah signs. Cool to be able to capture both. And...look at the temperature and song playing on the radio. Yes...Christmas was mixed in with the other music...in April : )
Day 6 (of traveling): April 7, 2020 WE ARRIVED HOME IN BOISE, IDAHO : )
Today we left Centerville, Utah and made it home to Boise, Idaho - YEAH! 316 miles. 10:00am - 3:40pm travel time.
The terrain was mountains and desert. We passed through Rupert and did not stop and visit my parents. We decided to play it safe and continue to practice our social distancing, even with family.
The gas prices...much higher $2.25 - go figure!
Traveling near Jerome, Idaho one of my favorite sites...a dairy farm and wonderful smells. Cow manure...and silage...yes folks...that would be cow manure and silage. As John Denver said "Thank God, I'm a country girl" ; )
And how fitting the song on the radio at the time...
Our first signs of Boise...
No matter where our travels have taken us, there is always a sense of peace as I crest this area and see the Boise Valley again. (I was using two camera's hence the color differences)
We are back home!
The trailer is parked right where we started 22 months ago.
Thank You Russett, Bill, Ginger, John, and Rea for getting the house ready for our arrival and stocking us with food!
We traveled 2,990 miles from Punta Gorda, Florida to Boise, Idaho in 6 days (excluding our time in Littleton, Colorado). What a whirlwind trip home and we were glad to be here.
We were gone 22 months, drove 30,362 miles and accomplished our goal of seeing every US State (except Alaska), every Canadian Province (except Quebec, Newfoundland, and Labrador), Baja, and Puerto Rico!
We had an amazing adventure, met incredible people, and had unforgettable experiences! Click here to read our RV Travel Blog Summary and Lessons Learned.