August in Aruba was a transitional month for us.  First there was a concern that my Dad would have to have surgery, and at his age, 86, any surgery is major.  If he was going to have surgery, I would fly home.  While we were waiting for news on that, my niece and nephew, Ashley and Josh, came to visit for a week.  We had a really great time.  This was their first time on our sailboat and their first time in Aruba.  We had a great time.  The bad news, it was REALLY hot in Aruba.  Not all the time, but from 9:00 in the morning til about 4:00 it was hot.   We finally broke down and put the air conditioner in, but now we felt we were just warehousing ourselves.  The worse news, it was just as hot, if not hotter in Colombia, and we wouldn’t have an air conditioner there.  So we decided, instead of flying back at Christmas and losing good sailing weather, we would fly back now.  By doing this, I could get the kids schoolbooks for next year, we could see our families, and we could spend some time touring the United States.  Our sailboat in Charlotte NC, is for sail and Dan needed to do some work on it, so we decided he would fly to Charlotte, stay with Karon and Alan, work and work on the boat.  The kids and I would fly to Chicago, and Dan would then fly and meet us there a week later.  From there we would plan an excellent adventure across the United States. 

The weather in Chicago was fantastic.  It had been several years since we had been back to the midwest in the summer and we really enjoyed it.  The kids started their homeschooling for the new year, I visited with family, and Dan worked really hard in Charlotte polishing and cleaning our sailboat there.  Hopefully it will sell soon!!!  Our original plan was to leave as soon as Dan joined us in Chicago.  Our tentative plan was to  head out west and tour the Grand Canyon, Colorado area for a few weeks.  We wanted  to rent an RV but the cost was too expensive, so we went with our backup plan which was to rent a SUV for a month and camp.  The plans were just about set in stone, when we received sad news that my great niece had passed away.  She had been living in Montana.  My sister Linda who lives in North Carolina (it was her granddaughter who passed) would be flying to Montana and then stopping in Chicago.  I wanted to see her, so we rearranged our SUV plans to leave on Saturday September 12,  instead of the previous Tuesday after Labor Day.  We were still committed to camping, as the SUV would have been around $189.00 per day.  As luck would have it, by pushing our date back, and staying flexible,  Dan went back to the internet and did more research.  Camping World had some specials for one way RV rentals.  We had tried to get these before, but they would never reply to us.  Dan tried one more time and scored a great deal, $9.95 PER DAY!!!!!  It was a one way with two choices, pick up in San Francisco and drop off in Nashville Tennessee, or pick up in Los Angeles and drop off in Charlotte NC.   $9.95 per day, can you believe it????  It included 100 miles per day and ALL the insurance for a 31 foot RV.  Now obviously we would need more mileage, but this was too good a trip to pass up.  To make our trip that much more of an adventure,  we would take a AMTRAK TRAIN from Chicago to San Francisco, a 53 hour trip, but the most scenic trip you could take, through the Rocky Mountains, the deserts and over the Sierra Nevadas.  This was our kind of trip!!!  So read on for an update on our next great land adventure!!