Well, we've been back home for a week, and we have had many opportunities to talk about our favorite places, best times, and acclimate to our present temperatures of cool.
We first realized that we grossly underestimated our travel distance. Our anticipated mileage had been 3000 miles. Our actual mileage was 4500 miles!!! Wow, did we blow the gas budget! Our saving grace, however, was the vast difference in the southern gas prices. We're talking about over a dollar less in places. The lowest price was $3.09 in South Carolina, and the price when we got back home was $4.26!!
We all enjoyed the mountains and the beauty of creation. We would like to go back and do more hiking next time. (I will try to be in better shape.)
Some people had warned us that it was going to be awful being in the car with the children for that long of a trip. That turned out not to be a problem at all. Our biggest difficulty turned out to be keeping our noise level down to a dull roar at some of the campgrounds where most of the other campers were older and didn't necessarily appreciate our exuberance.
The temperature extremes were also quite amazing. We left with the temperature in the upper 20's, enjoyed temperatures in the 90's while in the Carolinas, and returned home to the 60's. "Brrr!!!", says Kristin who is the family cold person.
After returning, the laundry pile was truly amazing!!! This is not because I didn't do laundry on the trip either. Well, two days and 17 loads later I was done! That was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Our other major hurdle was the lawn. That took seven days and three workers to get that one done, but they managed. Now, the only remaining problem is the ticks--yuck!!!