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 2020

We put some miles on, y’all!

And thanks to friends in remote places, we were able to feel safe about where we stayed — a fair trade for making a big diamond around CO instead of spending time exploring it as we’d originally hoped to do this summer.

Just in time for fall, we drew you a leaf!
We went from TX to AZ to UT to MT to WY, and added our 40th RV state by spending a night in NB on our way back to TX.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 4338
(Map does not reflect exact routing.)

1st major stop: 45 miles outside Kanab, UT, on private land belonging to friends of friends, who are now our friends

When I wrote last quarter that we’d planned to head northward to cool off, but didn’t really have a specific itinerary, our friends, David & Cheryl Goldstein of Landmark Adventures said, “Well, if you don’t know where you’re going, why not stay with us on the way?”

It was impossible to argue with that kind of logic.

They’d set up housekeeping in southern UT, on land belonging to fellow Escapees, Cindi & Roger, who we’d somehow managed not to meet at the Escapees Baja Mexico Hangout that we all attended in February, but we quickly made up for that lost opportunity during our very private, 12-day “Socially Distanced Unofficial Hangout Limited to 6 Escapees.”

Getting to our secluded enclave involved a 45-minute drive out a dirt road, from a point that was a 30-minute drive from the nearest town. Now that’s remote!

Getting into our designated site was a challenge that required navigating tight turns, narrow pathways, tree branches, and the other two RVs.
Tim likes to call this video “How I performed a 187-point turn into a tight spot in only two minutes.”
(We were aiming for that yellow square.)
I like to call it, “Keep your eye on your wife, and you might get a fun little dance at the end.”
The view from the property was well worth the parking hassle.
Got a little warm inside the RV, though.
Usually means it’s time to head north when I shout, “Honey, the coconut oil has liquified!”
We did some hiking through mystical rock formations…
(Location: Lick Wash Trail)
Location: Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon
… and rented one of these so that all 6 of us could go on a “motor assisted hike”
(Cindi & Roger drove their own).
Seriously, though. Who wouldn’t have a good time with a group like this?

2nd major stop: Thompson Falls, MT, for a birthday celebration that was worth the travel

We’d decided months and months before we’d even heard the word “Coronavirus,” that one way or another, Tim was going to find a way to be with his parents for his father’s 80th birthday in August.

You think we’re moving targets? You should try keeping track of my in-laws!

As it turned out, we were able to meet in Montana to celebrate about two weeks early, with the added bonus of doing so with one of Tim’s sisters and her husband.

So many of us missed multiple milestone events with our families this year. We are exceptionally thankful that this one happened.

Tim and the Birthday Dad at Kootenai Falls
Tim, his mom, dad, brother-in-law, and sister shaking things up on the swinging bridge,
just downriver from the falls
We climbed all over Thompson Falls, and let the record show that Tim’s folks
went up even higher than I did.
Pretty little riverside town.
Visit Thompson Falls
From Thompson Falls, we made a long day trip to Glacier National Park.
The marmot wanted Tim’s dad to put down the camera and just let him into the rental car.
He clearly knew that cars and humans mean food, and he was not wrong.
We did indeed have a whole day’s worth of snacks onboard.
Now if this guy had asked?
I think we’d have let him have all the snacks, and probably the car too.
“Just take the keys, Mr. Grizzly, sir. It’s allllll yours.”

3rd major stop: Meeteetse, WY, on private land belonging to friends we’d met in January

Hey, remember when we helped clean Carlsbad Caverns by picking lint with teensy little paintbrushes? That’s where we met Debra & Larry, and learned that they own 20 acres of property about 30 miles south of Cody. But when we parted with, “Hey, we’ll let you know if we come your way in our travels,” we didn’t really know it would be so soon.

But summer safety this year meant avoiding crowds, and Wyoming makes it really easy to do that (population of the state of WY = 1/3 population of the city of San Antonio).

We thought we’d boondock on Debra & Larry’s little piece of paradise for about a week, but it turned into a whole month!

Not only is Meeteetse small, but our location was on a gravel ranch road, about
4 miles from the heart of town.
A typical experience: evening drinks and shared dinners at the pole barn
The lifestyle common to our friends, both Wyoming natives, was not typical at all for us.
What a gift that they shared so many of their experiences with us.
These included a 7-mile hike with two humans on foot, two on horseback (I took this photo from the saddle, y’all!), three doggies, and a random herd of cows…
… fishing for our supper …
… canine assisted kayaking …
… stand-up paddle boarding …
… making chili using ground elk instead of ground beef or turkey …
… and making judicious use of an outhouse, which allowed us to save enough space in our black tank that we didn’t have to find a dump station until we were ready to leave,
which was 3 weeks later than planned…
… but was also just in time.
Debra texted us this pic of our “yard” just a few hours after we left on Labor Day.
We knew the storm was coming, and we made it eastward to Casper in time.
We woke up to about 4″ of snow there the next morning.
Debra & Larry got 4-6 feet, and couldn’t open their RV door!

Where to next?

Wellllllll, we’ve got medical appointments keeping us in San Antonio through the first week of November.

After that, we’re not sure. We’ve talked about moochdocking with friends in Pensacola, FL, for part of the winter, or boondocking in the southwest. The latter would put us in better position for a springtime run up to WA to visit family there, as we missed our older boy & his girl this year, along with Tim’s other sister and her family.

We’ll figure it out, and as ever, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for updates as we go.

“It certainly was not the summer we had planned, but it was the summer we needed.”
~ that wise friend mentioned above, David Goldstein

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.