An overdue Happy New Year from AJ and Bill

Our long awaited, happily belated holiday e-newsletter

by A.J. and Bill

The 2021 Outer Limits report

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

 Because 2020 was such a Twilight Zone, we decided in 2021  we would take a trip around the borders of the United States and call it the Outer Limits tour.

Fun with Fungi, Appalachian Trail

Outer Limits Fun Facts

 The journey encompassed more than 11,000 miles.

 We explored 21 national parks, of which 11 were first visits, bringing our contiguous states national parks total to 42 of 49.

We crossed the U.S. continental divide about as far South as you can and about as far North as you can.

We hiked a few segments on the Pacific Coast, Pacific Crest, and Appalachian trails.

We averaged 2 miles on foot per day.

We listened to the books HOW NOT TO DIE and HOW NOT TO DIET, and began transitioning  to vegan. We lost more than 20 pounds apiece and have kept it off with unimaginable ease.

 We camped by at least 10 Elks lodges, and in more than a dozen state parks, 10 community parks, four national monuments, and three national seashores in addition to camping at the 21 national parks we visited. We also visited seven national history parks  and drove quite a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

 We are sad to report that wildlife numbers seem greatly diminished. What we did see AMAZED.

 We  boated along with, and around, at least 1,500 dolphins on our way to the Channel Islands, and once there, startled a rare Channel Island Fox.  

A spotted owl flew in front of RVoyager  as we departed the Sol Duc portion of Olympic National Park.  

We had to hike around a rattlesnake at Big Bend National Park. We met python hunters with a fresh catch in the Everglades National Park.

 We also saw bats, elk, moose, seals, sea lions,  condors, whales, bears, a few more snakes, and  a wolf and a coyote.   Our spirit birds were definitely bald eagles, woodpeckers and hummingbirds. While it is a great testimony to the recovery of the bald eagle to see so many, it’s also a bit concering to see so many woodpeckers when in my youth, a glimpse of one was so rare that I wrote poem about it.  Much of our national forest clearly suffers stresses from invasive species and climate.

TOP MEMORIES

The undeniable thrill of driving California Route 1 on the Big Sur… Photo by AJ Barrett

BILL VISITS ALL FAMILY BUT ONE GRANDCHILD

AND AJ MAKES FIRST VISIT TO SEE BARRETT AT USC AND TUCKER PLAYING BASEBALL FOR WALTON HIGH

Although we originally planned only to make a big loop around the edges of the country, we also enjoyed dipping into the Heartland to visit friends and family in addition to friends and family who live nearer to borders.  We realized how much we missed the in-person cameradie stolen from us by the pandemic during 2020.  

We are still grateful the vaccines helped us to more safely visit with more than 70 friends and family in 2021.

We also made several surprise illegal incursions into Canada thanks to houseboat Captain Aaron Sims…ahoy to us and the Aaron clan as pirates on the boundary waters!

High above the southern visitor center of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Creative commitments

AJ will join Bill in retirement in 2022.

I am scheduled to do a creative project for my last month. We started our travel photo and stories website RVoyager.com during the Pandemic because we figured it would be visually stimulating for a lot of people who were not getting out much.

Bill, Niagara Falls

Without Bill as caregiver, AJ could not undertake these journeys. Soon, a subsection of this site will focus on the niche of “lesser abilities” travel.

The biggest disability travel lesson learned so far?

allow for more rest days

We cut short our Outer Limits tour without reaching Acadia because AJ wore out.

Now that we understand more about living part of the year on the road, we hope to continue sharing our insights, photos, and adventures whenever time – and energy – allow.

Fallen magnolia blossom at Fort Davis section of the Gulf National Seashore. Photo by Anita J Barrett

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s