The Journal of

Laura & Fred Jolly

It all started with a Ken Burns documentary, a couple of National Parks books, an Atlas, and a Dream. The rest is documented in this travel journal.

Grand Canyon NP

August 11-16 — The third and final leg of our honeymoon trip. Most people’s experience visiting the Grand Canyon is from the South Rim. That’s why Fred planned our visit to the North Rim – okay, in large part because it was closer to Bryce Canyon NP and Zion NP that were also part of this, our honeymoon trip, but

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Everglades NP / Big Cypress National Preserve

January 29 – February 25, 2013 — We’re on a month-long trip we’re calling our “Southern States Road Trip” with the purpose of trying to avoid some of the cold & just plain yukky Chicago winter.  We’re doing this “because we can” now that we’re retirees.  Yes, we know we’re very fortunate and very blessed to take a trip like this, and

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Dry Tortugas NP

February 9, 2013 — Today was an adventure day!  We left the comforts of our funky-cool-quirky fave hotel in Key West [Eden House], drove to the Key West airport, boarded a sea plane, and flew 90 miles west of Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park.  This is another unique park as it is a remote island in the Gulf of Mexico

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Biscayne NP

February 11, 2013 — The last of the three national parks we came to visit on our “Southern States Road Trip” – Biscayne NP.  Ninety-five percent of this national park is under water, so much of the beauty here remains invisible except to those who either boat into the waters of Biscayne Bay or those who snorkel.  There are four

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Spring 2013

In the spring of 2013, we bought a 30-foot RV which we named Charley, and after a couple of “shake down cruises” over the summer [Fred’s U.S. Navy term for these trial run camping trips; Laura viewed them as “training wheels camping trips”] we declared ourselves ready, more like chompin’ at the bit, to become “full-timers” — definition: those who

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Travels With Charley

Today we picked up our newly-purchased RV from the storage facility in Indianapolis. The prior owners took immaculate care of it, only putting 4,649 miles on the odometer. A couple of signatures followed, and with that, the 30’ Newmar BayStar was ours! We drove a short (and a bit nerve-racking) 15 miles to the home of some friends in Clearwater

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First Test Drive a Success!

This morning we drove Charley to Eagle Creek State Park in Indianapolis where our niece, Kelsey, was rowing in the Big Ten Championships.  We watched on excitedly as she rowed with the other ladies in her four [person boat] to take 2nd  in her race; Wisconsin took 3rd overall.  Then, with Dona along for the ride, we set out on our first

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RV Operations School

Today we drove Charley to Ehrhardt’s Trailer Sales in Des Plaines – the next suburb over from our summer storage site – which gave us some more city driving practice.  There, we got schooled by Dave, an awesome technician with 23 years of RV experience.  He showed us RV neophytes how to operate our unit – from the hot water

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Lake Shelbyville

July 20-26 — For the second time in four years we joined Fred’s brother and his family and several other local Chenoa [Fred’s hometown] friends down in Lake Shelbyville for a week of camping.  While we’re newbies to this tradition, the rest of the crew has been doing ‘Shelbyville week’ for well over 20 years and having lots of fun together. We

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