We made it! After nearly 20 straight hours on the road, we're home!
Hey, this is finally starting to look familiar!
Our Wild West Earlventure is officially over. Here is Captain Paul completing the final hurdle, backing Big Earl into our driveway.
Over the past (almost) three weeks, he safely piloted us through three time zones and 12 states, complete with some really impressive maneuvering in tight spaces! In case anyone wants the official trip statistics, here they are straight from the on-board computer:
Yup, a whopping 7.9 miles per gallon. At 32,000 lbs. Big Earl is not exactly a green vehicle... But that's the price we have to pay for having all the comforts of home wherever we go. Can't believe we logged over 90 hours and almost 5,000 miles!
Other than lots of wet, cold weather, the trip lived up to our expectations. We saw all sorts of wildlife, from bison & elk to bald eagles & pelicans. Never saw a moose (to Paul's great disappointment), but I was able to corral and tame the elusive jackalope! Who knew they were so big!
We never really did "see" a bear - save this one that was just a speck on the horizon, even through binoculars. You'll have to take my word for it, but this really is a grizzly according to the ranger who pointed him out. See that little black dot right in the middle of the photo? That's our bear!
Admittedly, we were hoping for a little closer bear encounter than that. However when Brutus showed up with his guy, I was glad it wasn't the real thing (although it is supposedly life-sized).
Hey, mom - look what followed me home! Can we keep him?
Sorry Brutus, he'd eat us out of house & home. Literally. Why else would we have found this sign:
So no moose or bears, but otherwise the trip was a complete success! Speaking of which, there's one more important thing I keep forgetting to mention: Mason accomplished another milestone in his personal quest!
Can a guy get a little privacy out here??
Yes, Mason pooped in every state we went through! That brings his grand total (including the New England States from last fall) to 21 states! Quite the prolific producer our old boy is. Seriously, how many dogs can claim that kind of statistic????
All in all, I took well over 1000 photos, so what I've shown here on the blog is only a little taste of the fabulous things we saw & did (I'll save the bulk of them for torturing my family by making them sit through slide shows LOL). I could go on & on, but you've all been patient enough, think I'll leave it at that!
I see it Mason! I see our house!
It feels so good to be home safely. Now it's time to clean out Big Earl so that he can rest for a few weeks. Since several of you asked, there's not much planned for B.E. in the near future, just some weekend trips here and there. The coach will be home away from home from me & Brutus at an "away" dog show in August, then maybe a trip south in the early fall. Finally there's Ohio State games to tailgate before Big Earl goes into hibernation for the winter. Maybe some day we'll get to use him when it's NOT raining - that'll be a new experience! But you know what they say, without rain, there'd be no rainbows!
Well, time for me to get to work. Thank goodness it's easier to unpack than it is to pack. Then maybe I can get a little rest in preparation for tomorrow's post. Are you ready? Wait for it........ The torture will finally be ending....
I can't believe mom has drug it out this long! What the heck is she up to? We're really suspicious....
Yes, our much-heralded BIG ANNOUNCEMENT will be posted tomorrow. After all the build-up I know no one will believe it until they see it. I promise, you'll know tomorrow, and it'll have been worth waiting for :) See ya then!