A Year On The Road – The Final Maps

Back in Orlando again, it’s time to tot up the final mileage and trace our entire route (in 2 maps) around the US. We reached West Glacier, Montana, at our furthest distance from Orlando at almost 2,700 miles away, albeit we reached there via a distinctly circuitous route that involved fully 12 states!

The first 7 months saw us take in by far the biggest ‘chunk’ of our year-long route, including side-trips into Colorado and Southern California by car, as well as parts of Northern Arizona and New Mexico

The “return journey” from there was also far from a straight line, taking in another 10 states before completing what was essentially a giant circle of the Midwest, the North, South West and Southern states. For much of the last 5 months we were close to the Gulf of Mexico before coming back into Florida via Pensacola and the Panhandle area, where we were definitely able to relax a bit (albeit keeping more than one eye on staying out of the way of some seriously stormy weather).

The final five months took us from the heart of New Mexico down to the far south-western corner of Texas, then right around the Gulf of Mexico via Galveston, New Orleans, Biloxi and Gulf Shores

So, with no further ado and a bit of a fanfare – “Ta RA!!!!!” – our final mileage comes to, wait for it…35,186 miles since we left home on May 14, 2023. In our RV, Fati, we traveled a total distance of 9,846 miles, while in our trusty little Ford Fiesta, Nippy, we added a whopping additional 25,840.

Somehow, we’re all still in one piece, albeit Fati has been in for several repairs and 2 full services, while Nippy is heading for a fourth service today and has needed new tires, windshield wipers and two air filters (!). Needless to say, we are immensely proud of our Ford-engined Winnebago RV, as well as our little Fiesta, and they both now deserve a good rest.

Finally back in Florida, we spent a quiet week in a beautiful little RV campground in Milton in the Panhandle before turning south for the last leg of the year-long trip

Will we have more travels to report anytime soon? The debate is now on at Chez Veness! We DO have a fair bit of work to catch up on first, but there is already talk of an East Coast RV tour, as well as a possible trip out West to the areas we missed this time, namely Washington, Oregon and Northern California, as well as more of Colorado.

So, stay tuned for further travel bulletins, and, if you have liked and enjoyed our blogs, please leave us a comment and be sure to check out our YouTube channel for a series of snapshot videos of the trip on this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP5dY0TcznDGkOY8BQUkpQg

Bye for now…!

The Bayous Beckon


Hello, Louisiana! Home to vast acres of rice fields and crawfish farms, and weird, sticky-uppy stalks that we discovered were sugar cane, one of the state’s primary crops. Hello, Covid, too, which put a major damper on our touring, with its ferocious exhaustion and coughing that had Susan bedridden for four days straight.

These fields are everywhere. Some are rice fields, some are crawfish ponds, and some are both.

The virus’s nasty symptoms hit the night before we moved from Beaumont, Texas to the peaceful oasis of Parkside RV Resort in Broussard, Louisiana, but at that point we thought it was a bad cold, or maybe allergies. We’d been so careful; didn’t dine in restaurants, our touring was all outside and just the two of us (plus Ruthie), so Covid wasn’t at the top of our minds. It was only two days later, when Susan said, “I’d better test to rule it out,” that we knew the awful truth.

Dammit.

During our pre-test time of innocence we took a little drive around Broussard, exploring the downtown area by car. It’s a cute city center, very compact and approachable, and we liked the small-town feel in a place we thought would be much, much bigger. It also offered a hint at the transition Lafayette seems to be going through.

The historic area is going through a change, but certainly retains its small-town charm.

Two features really stood out for us as we drove around: the Giant Live Oak trees and the above-ground cemeteries. We’d seen this sort of cemetery during a visit to New Orleans years ago, but they still stand out as curiosities, especially as so many of them seem to be in the back end of nowhere, or smack in the middle of the city.

The Live Oaks are so dramatic, and incredibly beautiful.


Susan had a little rally five days into it, so, with her fully masked up in an N95, we hit the road for the Bayou Teche National Byway to Morgan City. We had been wondering exactly what “bayou” meant, since we thought it meant a big, swampy waterway with cypress trees in and around it, but very back-woodsy, dark, and mysterious due to all the trees. The kind of place Huckleberry Finn would have been born and grown up, where ‘possum and squirrel were always on the menu.

Instead, it’s a French version of the Choctaw word “bayuk,” meaning (roughly) a creek or small river, which was what we were seeing every time we saw a marker for a bayou, including Bayou Teche (literally, river snake, or “snaking river”), which was once the original course of the mighty Mississippi River a few thousand years ago.

Bayou Teche

There may be those among you who have unexpectedly encountered the transfer of illegal goods from one car to another, as we have seen on occasion, but only in Louisiana would that transfer of goods involve crawfish and shrimp. And that’s exactly what we saw while waiting to gas up Fati at a Walmart. These two fellas negotiated the sale of crustation packages tucked in a cooler full of ice for quite some time, while holding up everyone in line behind them waiting to get gas.


The next day, Susan was free from the feeling of having been kicked in the face by a donkey, but still coughing and incredibly tired, so we opted for a drive along the Cajun Corridor Byway that runs between Delcambre and Kaplan, south of Lafayette.

This is how Susan did most of our touring, when she wasn’t flat-out asleep in the rig.

Simon’s appetite made up for Susan having none at all, so a visit to Suire’s Cajun Restaurant and Grocery Store for lunch was in order, being somewhat of a local institution. We knew before we even started the trip that Louisiana would be a non-starter for Susan, food-wise, due to a rather nasty shellfish allergy, so having no desire to eat was a blessing in disguise.

Some of the best food we’ve had has come from some of the humblest places.

He’s got the goods!

Simon had no such restrictions, and went for the Boudin Plate, a homey assemblage of Boudin sausage, rice, gravy, a dinner roll, slaw, beans, and a brownie. Delicious perfection!

The kind of food you scarf down, then sop up the tattered remains with a biscuit.

We detoured further south for a drive along the White Lake Birding Trail after lunch, and while we couldn’t do any of the walking trails, the road through it rewarded us with wildlife sightings and reminded us of our beloved Apopka Wildlife Drive in Florida. We saw lots of gators, some deer, hundreds of birds, and a mammal that was either a muskrat, a beaver, or a woodchuck. Probably a beaver, possibly a woodchuck, but we’ll never know for sure.

This is definitely a gator.

Cooking dinner was out of the question, so we made a quick stop at Hebert’s Meats for pre-made Etouffee and sausages, which Simon could dine on for the next couple of days. Somehow, we only have one photo of the outside of the store, and none of the fine offerings within.


Susan’s rally was short-lived. The next morning her oximeter was showing some worrying numbers, so it was off to Urgent Care, just a quarter-mile from our campground. Two chest X-rays later (mercifully, both clear), we were sent home with a six-day course of steroids, an antibiotic for a brewing secondary infection, and a coupon from the doctor to help us afford a $500 inhaler.

While Susan slept the rest of the day away, Simon went back to St. Martinville to see the Evangeline Monument and the Acadian Museum. The monument is a plaque in front of a massive Live Oak tree, the fourth representative of the original tree made famous in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s tragic poem, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie about the exile of Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755.


When we set out on this year-long adventure, our perception of Louisiana was that it was a less prosperous state, but as we drove around we began to see a pattern. Big houses and mini-mansions were rising up right next door to the most humble of homes, mobile homes, and RVs being used as homes, both in the towns and perhaps especially in the more rural areas. Something was clearly happening (gentrification; it’s gentrification), and when we arrived in Baton Rouge a week later, our curiosity about this trend kicked into high gear.


Our week in Broussard and Lafayette was far too short, especially given the days “wasted” by sleep, but we thoroughly enjoyed what we did see. Louisiana’s southern coast had definitely impressed us so far, as did the Southern kindness and generosity we’d encountered, and we were eager to see more.