WheRVe we been? Our travels, 2nd quarter 2021

I’m pretty sure you could figure out our travel path from April-June if I just tell you about the food. We went from Amish baked goods, to dairy products, to corn, to tacos, back through corn, to trail mix, to potatoes.

If you’re not as food motivated or fascinated as I am, here’s the map to help you out.

We started on the east side of this Y shape and went from IN to WI to IA to OK to TX, and then right back up through OK & KS to NE to CO (our 44th RVisited state) to UT to ID.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 4600 
(Map does not reflect exact routing.)

Indiana

The RV spent a little over 2 weeks having yet more kinks worked out at the DRV Factory Service center in Howe (our 4th warranty visit), and the two of us spent that time in two hotels and one historic state park lodge.

They weren’t quite ready for spring yet in northern Indiana.
April 1st brought snow for us fools.
You know you’re in Amish country when there’s designated buggy parking at the Walmart…
… and mmmmmm donuts are the reward for a bicycle ride along the Pumpkinvine Trail.
When we learned that repairs to the RV would stretch into another week, we decided to switch up our accommodations. Goodbye, generic roadside stay-suites; hello historic Potawatomi Inn.
By the time we left Indiana, spring had arrived for real.
So what’d we do?
Rolled even farther north, where spring was trying hard to show up, but hadn’t quite made it yet.

Wisconsin

One of Tim’s cousins had bought some rural property just before the pandemic hit, and we were finally able to visit. Worked out well for all of us: we got free dry camping, and Cousin D got help framing living and work spaces into one end of his new pole barn.

Moochdocking on the front 40
It’s… well… there’s really no other way to put this.
It’s two white guys building a wall.
And yes, you can laugh, because sometimes a wall is just a wall, and has nothing to do with politics, and even if my sense of humor isn’t for everybody, I still think we could all stand a good chuckle.
Laugh, dammit.
It wasn’t what I’d call ice cream weather in Wisconsin in mid-April, but there was a dairy just a few miles away, and the cheese curds we bought were for lunch, so I still needed a dessert — you know, to keep my meal balanced.

Iowa

We had to start heading back to Texas for some commitments in May, and since Iowa was on the way and was still on our “need to visit” list and some good friends were already staying at an RV park there? No brainer.

We’ve known full-time RVers Andrea & Shawn of 40foothouse for a couple of years, and have deliberately crossed paths in several states since then. We have a tradition of snapping selfies in front of oversized objects, so in Iowa we went extra corny.

Texas

We’d only been away from our home base since January, but May brought family birthdays, a graduation, a wedding, a relocation, and a lot of other stuff in between. We had the time, the will, and the wheels, so we went!

First task: helping our younger son move from Austin to Bryan/College Station.
Not sure the BFT has ever towed anything that petite!
We also volunteered for a couple of days at an Escapees Co-op RV park near Hondo, after disaster struck. A night of intense wind and hail storms totaled numerous buildings and vehicles, and we felt called to assist our own.
Click here for that story.
In Texas, we eat tacos.
And if our amigos Phil & Stacy of You, Me & the RV are in town, we get a table for 4.
And we also ate cake — three in two days!
Our niece graduated from high school the same day as Emily’s mom’s birthday, and the next day a friend’s daughter got married.
Yeah, that was a lot of frosting. But who wants to celebrate a big occasion with salad?

Nebraska

We wanted to check the Cornhusker State off our list, but we were headed from Texas to Colorado, and it’s not exactly on the way. So we said screw it. There were people we wanted to see badly enough to make the detour.

Footbridge work is fun. Race ya!
If you’re interested in other work we’ve done with A Year to Volunteer, and how you can get involved too, start here.

Colorado

By visiting the Centennial State, we’ve filled in all the “big ones” in the lower 48, and now have only four little Eastern Seaboarders left (NJ, DE, RI, CT).

A funny thing happened when we decided to hit Colorado.
I asked our friends Marc & Julie of RV Love if they’d be around, and to heavily paraphrase their response, they said, “YES! Come play with us! Just keep going west over the mountains!”
So we did
(Photo: J. Bennett)
And then a funny thing happened on the way to the western slopes.
I looked out the window from our pitstop site at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, and the chillest dog in America was looking right back at me.
It took some time for me to regain my composure, and I think the only way to explain this is that you can’t spell cool without CO.
Our chips definitely knew we were at elevation.
Luckily I’ve learned a trick or two in our travels, and I remembered to loosen things like condiment lids and the flip tops to our toiletries very slowly to let the air out without a messy explosion.
Forgot about the chip bags in the pantry though, so let me be the first to advise you that Fritos make terrible confetti.
Speaking of explosions, late one night at the campground, Tim heard the unmistakable sound of water spraying.
Turns out a gasket in the kitchen sink faucet had failed, and water was shooting all over the place. Tim’s quick dash outside to shut off our city water connection saved us from major damage, and his fixit skills and tool collection saved us from a major repair bill.
And that’s why I’m going to sneak in a plug for RV Love’s new book here. It’s called “RV HACKS: 400+ Ways to Make Life on the Road Easier, Safer, and More Fun!” and we’ve both got tips published in it.
Tim’s is in the Repairs & Maintenance section, and mine’s in RV Living.
Release date is next week, and we can’t wait to get our hands on a copy!
(Not an ad. We gain nothing from your click or purchase.)
Our campground was situated within striking distance of several stunning hiking areas…
… and that’s why I chose trail mix as the designated food for this state along our path. We went through the better part of a large bag.
We closed out our visit to Colorado with day trips to two of its national parks. This is the view from Warner Point at Black Canyon of the Gunnison
And this is a view from Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument.

Idaho

We arrived in Coeur d’Alene at the end of June, and we’ll stay for about 3 weeks. Tim went to high school here, and the roots still run deep. Not a day has gone by without spending time with old friends, and his parents have just arrived in town for a visit as well. I know I should be capturing all the smiles in photographs, but I’ve been trying to set my phone aside and focus more on soaking up these moments together. Plus, most of these moments involve food (including Idaho potatoes in a multitude of glorious forms), and who wants to pose while grinning dopily around a mouthful of spuds?

Where to next?

We’ll head to Washington first, to visit our older son on the Olympic Peninsula, do a little hiking, and soak up some adventure at yet another “summer camp for grownups” at the Escapees Cascade Mountains Hangout. That’s not their term; it’s one I chose to describe the program after our first Hangout, nearly two years ago in Maine. In late August, we head east to Montana for the Escapees Glacier Country Hangout.

We’ve been to both locations before, but we find it hard to resist the allure of group events for which everything is planned and organized by someone else — stuff we wouldn’t normally arrange on our own — and all we have to do is pay our money and show up. We don’t even have to find a place to stay; the campground or RV park is reserved in advance, and we know exactly what we’re getting when we roll in. Full-time RV life is not a vacation. Hangouts are!

We haven’t figured out September yet, and I’ll fill you in on October’s plans in my next quarterly update. Until then, you can check up on us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for updates as we go.


We started full-timing in August of 2015, but I didn’t think to do an annual review until the end of 2016, and it was just a listing on Facebook of places we’d visited. After that, I started using a quarterly format.

WheRVe we been? Our travels, 3rd quarter 2018

It was summertime, and the living was busy, and holy hell did we put on some miles. We really need to stop saying things like, “Sure! We can be there by Tuesday.” Somebody please slap the truck keys out of our hands next time we do.

Here’s a summary of our 3rd quarter travels, mapped with a little help from Google.

RV miles traveled this quarter: about 5711.

Our starting point in July was Coeur d’Alene, ID.
From there, we headed east across MT and ND to MN, then back to Coeur d’Alene via SD.
After that, we spent a little over a month traveling around western WA, and concluded with a cannonball run back to Texas.
(Actual route varied. Source: maps.google.com)

Coeur d’Alene, ID, June 22 – July 7, and July 22-31: The third quarter began where the second ended, and was interrupted by a two-week jaunt to Minnesota and back (coming up next). While in CDA, which is where Tim’s family lived for a few years in the 1980’s, we spent a lot of time doing outdoorsy stuff with family and friends, to take advantage of the area’s lakes, mountains and rivers. One of Tim’s old high school buddies owns all the best toys, and he treated us to both 4-wheeling and kayaking!

– Biking the 15-mile Route of the Hiawatha
– That day one 4-wheeler, 1 dune buggy, and 3 adults got covered in what felt like all the dirt in Idaho
– A much cleaner day, renting a pontoon on Lake CDA (photo by Tim’s dad)
– And another day on the lake, this time in kayaks

Montana, the Dakotas, Minnesota & Wisconsin, July 7-22: Tim’s got a cousin in the Minneapolis area. We’d made tentative plans to visit last year, but for one reason or another, we didn’t follow through. So this year, we committed to making it happen. Granted, MN isn’t really right around the corner from ID, but at 1300 miles, it was as close as we were going to get in 2018, so off we went on Mad Dash 1. Cousin David made it well worth the time and expense by taking a few days off from work to serve as our tour guide, and even helped Tim fix… ugh, I’ve already forgotten, so… whatever the hell was broken on the RV or truck that week.

We covered a lot of ground.
– Went down the WI side of the Mississippi River, and back up the MN side, stopping to explore along the way
– Visited another one of Tim’s old hometowns, the charming Prescott, WI
– Drove up to Duluth and took in Gooseberry Falls and the historic Split Rock Light House

On the way to MN and back, we
– Ran under a rainbow in North Dakota
– Dropped in on the cabin Tim built as a teenager in Montana
– Paid our respects at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in MT
– Spent our 26th anniversary hiking at Custer State Park in SD, including a trail that offered a distant view of the backside of Mt. Rushmore. (No butts. I was disappointed.)

Western WA, Aug. 1 – Sept. 1: Despite having spent most of April, May and June in Washington, there were still more things we wanted to do and people we wanted to see there, so we went back! Ahhh, freedom. We started with a show of Tim’s father’s photography at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op in Mount Vernon, then skipped from fairgrounds parking in Enumclaw, to golf course parking in Chehalis, to a private RV park in Hoquiam, and managed to squeeze in not one, not two, but three backpacking trips — one from each location. Wild blackberries were at their peak, and I could not turn down all that free dessert, so do not judge the amount I’ve still got stashed in my freezer. Come on over, and I’ll make you a cobbler. Maybe two.

– The work of Doug Rohrer, photographer, and co-op artist of the month for August 2018
– I only picked 7 or 8 quarts, but only because our freezer is so damn small
– Stared in awe at Mount Saint Helens, and we highly recommend a trip through the exhibits at the Johnston Ridge Observatory (photo by kind stranger who said we looked very picturesque sitting there)

A collage of scenes from our backpacking trips
One: Emily finally decides to give it a try
Two: Wildfire smoke nearly ruined it
Three: Tim saw a bear!

One of the reasons I decided to give backpacking a try was to be able to see places that can be accessed only by long-distance hiking.
We hiked 13.5 miles to get to this scene: the Enchanted Valley Chalet in Olympic National Park.
Worth it.

Port Townsend, WA, Sept. 1-8: A big draw for Tim, the annual wooden boat festival, opened on Sept. 7. But we needed to be in Austin, TX — 2200 miles away — by Sept. 13. Our older son and his girl live in Port Townsend, so we’d get to hug them again, and we’d also gain the chance to see some Navy friends who’d just moved back from Germany, if we could just. make it. work. To make a long story very short: where there are wheels, there’s a way. We just had to spend some really long days on the road.

– The Steamer Virginia V, photographed because we once lived in VA, and because our son, who is a licensed captain and festival volunteer, got to drive her!
– Father, son, and sailboat bonding
– Please note that my headband, by Tavel Designs, has little sailboats on it. I’m so nauti!
– Our boy and his girl
– Military family friendships endure through miles and years of separation. The last time all of us were together, the three “kids” in front were a second grader, a preschooler, and a toddler.
Heart: full

And then we made Mad Dash 2, from WA to TX in four days.
Although I don’t recommend it, and I hope we never again make choices that would cause us to repeat it, I will say that we prepared well, and that enabled us to handle the trip well.
And by prepared, I mean we stocked up on healthy, easy-to-grab road foods; we were honest about when we needed to stop for breaks; we treated ourselves to one restaurant meal per day; we shared the driving, and set reasonable limits; and we steeled ourselves mentally and emotionally beforehand for 4 days that just wouldn’t be much fun.
(Source: Apple Maps)

But we’ve had a lot of fun since our arrival!
– Snarfed more than the recommended daily allowance of breakfast tacos.
– Made a trip to the beach, where we met my brother’s family‘s newest kitten
– Put our arms around our younger son and took the “starving” college student out to dinner
– enjoyed a happy hour that turned into six hours of food and fun with our friends, Marc & Julie of RV Love (photo by my mom)
Also, we’ve both been poked, prodded and prescribed during our twice annual round of medical visits here in San Antonio. All is well, and we are grateful.

We just don’t get views like this here, though. Washington’s waterways win.

Where to next? Ummmm, not sure yet! The roads are as wide open as our calendar, from late October until next spring, when we’ll return to Texas for more family time, more medical appointments, and two big graduations. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for updates as we go!


We started full-timing in August of 2015, but I didn’t think to do an annual review until the end of 2016, and it was just a listing on Facebook of places we’d visited. After that, I started using a quarterly format.

2Q 2018     1Q 2018      4Q 2017        3Q 2017        2Q 2017        1Q2017        2016