Romance By Catherine: Home!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Sixteen days away from home, traveling this vast country in an RV... Yep, I'm crazy!

I didn't get online very much during my journey, at least not to blog. I did keep my facebook pics flowing, and a few bits of 'Where is Catherine Now" going on. Stop by my facebook page and glance at some of the pictures I sent along the way.

I'm a west coast girl. I was raised in Washington State and transplanted back to So. California after High School. Washington is a very green and wet state where California is very brown and dry. I take for granted the dry heat of So. Cal. and it isn't until I'm surrounded by humidity that I realize how lucky we in California are for our weather.

State by state... lets go over the highlights:

California - Needless to say driving through the California desert is as boring as it comes. And don't do it on an empty tank of gas, cuz the stations in places like Ludlow are really going to 'sock it to ya'! I read A Tale of Two Demon Slayers by Angie Fox and glanced up from my seat...

Arizona - We found the heat... dry heat, but things started to heat up in Arizona. Once you've driven Arizona... you've 'done' Arizona. I finished A Tale of Two Demon Slayers here and moved on to High Octane by Lisa Renee Jones. I figures since we were headed toward Texas, reading a Texas Harlequin would suit.

New Mexico - There is a little more to see in some places of New Mexico... but again, dry, hot and I've so 'been there - done that'!!!

Texas - Sorry, but I don't get Texas. Okay, it's big... but the humidity started to climb yet there wasn't as much green as you'd think. The drivers here were rude, sadly, and stayed that way throughout our journey. In fact, while on the East Coast when someone would cut us off, they had Texas plates on their car. The rest stops were huge, and amazing... and as we drew closer to the East of Texas, they doubled as tornado shelters. Which is weired for a California girl to see. The Alamo was an interesting piece of history, but I like the Missions of California better. The river walk in San Antonio was worth the stop. We ate Alligator, and yes, it tasted like chicken. LOL. We started to hear the Southern accents which made us smile. Read Taming the Texas Playboy by Crystal Green

Louisiana - OMG... what a green and beautiful state. Yes, the humidity stuck to your skin, but it was worth it for the landscape. Note to all RVers... Don't try New Orleans in an RV. There is no place to park. Fork over the bucks to stay in the only RV park close to the French Quarter so you can see that city. I wish I'd known before making it to New Orleans that the majority of the Plantations proceed the Big Easy on the 10 freeway. When the day comes to go back, I'll definitely book tours of the old Southern Plantations and spend the day in the city. We went on a swamp tour and learned a lot about the culture there. The bugs weren't even all that bad even though it was hotter than hell.

Alabama - Sneeze, there it goes... Beautiful state, but didn't see much of it along the 10. Fireflies! I know, those of you who live with them think what??? But we don't have them here so when I see them I go all mushy and watch them for hours. Read To Save the Devil by Kate Moore

Mississippi - I'm always in awe of the big river as we cross it. The swamp land is king along the 10. The bridges going over the bayous run for miles and provide plenty of pictures for the scrapbooks.

Florida - The pan handle is long and wet. We decided to move north on our trip instead of hit the Florida beaches. We didn't think this would be a problem... Oops!

Georgia - I was shocked to see the large clear cutting of trees throughout the south. And the drought going on has water levels in the lakes and rivers at a low. No, I didn't eat one peach in Georgia... bummer! Bugs! OMG the bites on all of us where crazy here. We visited Fort King George and just about lost a pint of blood each.

South Carolina - The Texas drivers are having a run for their reputation with the drivers of So. Carolina. We stayed at Hilton Head in an attempt to get to a true Atlantic Coast beach... what we didn't know is that the east coast beaches aren't a lot like those in California. There is a lot of marsh land that follows the coast and it isn't easy to access the sandy beaches in an RV. Still, this was a beautiful state even if they have road signs posted that you'll go to jail for 30 days if you speed inside a work zone. WHAT? Crazy that, huh?

No. Carolina - Finally the heat started to fade and a few showers started to follow us around. We went to the Baltimore Estate. Home of the Vanderbilt's. Wow! This is a must do for anyone visiting here. The house was amazing, the grounds spectacular. The library alone is a place this author could stay for a month... or a year!

Tennessee - Dodging lightening and distant tornadoes.... Dorothy, where's Toto? When the weather is blazing hot one minute, and coat-worthy the next, I get scared. I felt relatively safe in the Great Smoky Mountains but as we started down them I started to stress. Memphis looks like it's a dying city. Sad, but so much of it was abandoned and boarded up. We took a 'riverboat' on the Mississippi and stayed along the banks of the muddy river over night. The Tom Sawyer campground had recently opened back up after the flood. Nice people everywhere! I'm not a big Elvis fan, so we skipped Graceland.

Arkansas - This is one of our favorite states. The people are friendly and the state is beautiful. My husbands family is from that part of the world so he has many fond memories of trips there.

Oklahoma - Big, flat, and full of lightening while we drove through. Oz started to look good. Read Ransom for a Prince

Then Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and home. Read In Good Hands by Kathy Lyon

So, that's six books and 5372 miles.

So, dear reader... do you RV?  What do you love about it? What do you hate about it?


Anonymous said...

We're glad you decided to stay in Hilton Head when you drive though South Carolina! Next time you come through you will have to hit up our beach because it is not nearly as marshy as others.

We're glad you made it home safe and hope to see you again soon!

-Bailey with Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

Catherine Bybee said...

If we were in a car and not an RV we would have made it to your resort. Thanks for stopping by, Bailey.

Becca Dale said...

We love going camping. It is an excuse to not do all the stuff that always needs to be done at home. We lived in Texas for a few months when my kids were little-near Austin-and I had just the opposite experience with drivers. They would almost stop to let me in. Of course, I had a seriously ugly truck with an enormous plywood box on the back and two little cuties in car seats next to me so I might have looked like the girl next door. :-D Next time across the nation, swing through Western SD. The Black Hills are gorgeous - make sure you hit Spearfish Canyon and Needles Highway - might not want to do the Needles in an RV though-curves are sharp.

Catherine Bybee said...

I've not ever been to South Dakota. But have hit all other Western States. I'll keep your ideas in mind.

Lynne Roberts said...

The last time I took a trip like that I was about 10. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to a 'we're in Texas' but by morning we weren't. Visted a few years ago, and I share your opinion. Of course, I'm a transplanted California girl too and will take our dry 110 any day to Texas at 90.

We stayed west of the Mississippi--but hit every state--the only other states I've visited are Florida and New York.

Was North Carolina as green as Western Washington?

Joyce Henderson said...

Cahterine, it's too bad you didn't tow a car behind your RV, park in strategic places, and see the sights better in a car.

Granted, Arizona on I-10 can be boring. Did you see Old Tucson? Holy mackerel, you missed Prescott, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and you missed the desert in springtime, I guess. You can't believe flowering cactus (Saguaro blossom is the state flower), not to mention all the other low-growth flowers. Of course, draught undoubtedly took its toll on flowers.

That goes double for Texas! Blue bonnets, Indian Paintbrush, all the wild flowers plantings Lady Bird Johnson spearheaded were probably not evident because of draught. I find drivers in Texas and generally all Southern states to be courteous, except for Florida, where I live. Many of the drivers are Mid-Westerners or East coast transplants.

Honey, I grew up in LA County. I traveled the first freeway, Arroyo Seco, and watched the sprawl occur in Southern California. I don't see the CA drivers as more courteous than others. They are simply agressive. Hey, if you're not, you don't get on the freeway in places like San Diego, Orange County, or near LAX, in the Valley... And don't get me started on San Francisco! :)

Oops, shut my mouth. I just can't comment without writing a book. LOL

Catherine Bybee said...

Lynne - I grew up in West Washington State and yes, Mississippi and all the So. states were just as green if not more so than Washington. It's different. The humidity and heat make for different plants than Washington. And there is a huge dry spell in the South right now. So things were more dry than usual we were told.

Catherine Bybee said...

Joyce- Amen to the Ca. Driver. I agree. I just found Texas cutting us off where we didn't find that in any other state. I guess I should explain... we've done all the Western stuff on previous trips. I find Utah to be the most beautiful of states. The Grand Canyon is a must see... we take the train when we go. We did stay in Flagstaff on the way home... but off the 10 freeway, there ain't crap! We've done Carlsbad Caverns (Must do if in New Mexico) Rosewell... How about The Biosphere in Arizona (muct do)
All of these things are a day or two away the way we drive, so they've all been done before. And for those coming to California... I could go on and on with the parks and things to do here.

Mona Risk said...

Catherine--You should have hit the Fort Lauderdale beaches and linger there. It's the best place to be in summer. Trust a veteran Floridian who send hours in the ocean plotting her next book.

Catherine Bybee said...

Mona: Our origninal plan was to park it on a Florida Beach for a couple of days... maybe even drive South to the Keys... but alas, the North called. Next time!

Lisa said...

Yep, I live in Texas, and you're exactly right. Drive friendly. Yeah right.

Ilona Fridl said...

As a native S Cal gal, who moved to Wisconsin in 1971, I hear ya on the weather! My dh and I don't have enough money to take fancy vacations, so we take the RV on weekend campouts. If you ever get the chance, come to Wisconsin. It's beautiful weather here in summer and things to see and do. Wonderful countryside around here!

Catherine Bybee said...

LOL - Texas was clean thought -

I've never been to Wisconsin. I do wanna hit all 50 states. I've been to Hawaii and want to visit Alaska and a bunch of Canada.