2nd quarter 2023: WheRV we been?

The trip from Mile 0 (Dawson Creek YT, June 5) to Historic Mile 1422 (Delta Junction AK, June 18) of the Alaska Highway is the most famous stretch, but only a fraction of what we’ll cover this summer, from TX to AK to WA.

First quarter this year we stayed in one place.

From the end of April to the end of June? We became quite promiscuous, spending the night in 44 places in 90 days, as we went from TX to WA with the BFT and Tex (our 41′ 5th wheel), from WA back to TX in just the BFT, from TX back to WA with BFT + Road Island (our truck camper) and Tim the Tool Man’s Traveling Tool Trailer, and finally from WA to AK in the BFT-RI combo, for a total of 9766 miles. So far. And only as measured directly between overnight stops.

Map represents the TX-WA-AK trajectory, and isn’t completely accurate, but I managed to swing the route through most of our actual stops.

I thought about composing a chronological recounting of the wonders along the way, but it felt too daunting and sounded too boring, so I’m going with broader brushstrokes and an intentional lack of chatter. We’re busy. Places to explore and rarities to find!

You’ll notice from our attire that like us, the weather was all over the map, and you can’t count on the tank tops appearing farther south or later in the season than the fleece jackets. Luckily, we’ve remained unperturbed by wildfire smoke, snow, or heavy rain.

The all-night light hasn’t interfered with our sleep, but we do tend to stay up later than usual because it just doesn’t feel right to climb into bed when the sun is still high in the sky — at 10 pm.


All aboard! We took the White Pass & Yukon Route from Fraser BC to Skagway AK.


Cow moose near Chena Hot Springs, AK, gettin’ herself fed.
Her babies had been spotted with her earlier, by friends who’d passed by the pond before we did.


People (mostly us)

Argh! Sorry about the multiple photo sizes in the slide shows. I tried something new to keep that from happening, and I failed. Already planning a new strategy for my next update.

But what about all those logistical challenges?

In my last update, I left loose ends on multiple ropes that required tying off before Tim reports to the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in October for his yearlong program of study. Specifically…

Are we going to book an RV site for a year? Rent a furnished place? We’ve rented a furnished cottage within a couple miles of the school.

Sell or store Tex (5th wheel) or Road Island (truck camper)? As luck would have it, some family members in WA ended up selling their house earlier than planned and needed temporary lodging exactly when we’d have needed to find storage for Tex, so they’re living in it for about a year, and all of us are relieved to have found an ideal solution. Road Island will be able to bunk right next to us in our rental cottage’s driveway, so that worked out too.

What about the cargo trailer with all Tim’s tools in it? It landed in a safe place in WA, on property belonging to friends who have a lengthy list of projects to tackle at their freshly built home, and who are of course free to use the Tool Man’s tools as part of the “rental agreement.” Again, everybody wins.

There it is beside the house, all cozy until we return to WA to hitch it back on in September.

What am I going to do while Tim’s in class every weekday from 8-5 for a year? If I get a job, won’t we need a second vehicle? I’m planning to pick up a part-time job and/or a regular volunteer gig to keep me feeling busy and useful. And since we’ll be living within a couple miles of the boat school, we won’t need a second vehicle because Tim can easily walk, bike, or be dropped off and picked up. Another win.

Where to next?

Everywhere we can reasonably get to in Alaska and western Canada over the next two months.

Already planned: Escapees Hangouts in Seward and Valdez

On the list, but lacking specifics: Lake Clark NP, Anchorage, various towns on the Kenai Peninsula, the Arctic Ocean, Top of the World Highway, Chicken, Northwest Territories

Not on the list, but not off it either: Whatever/wherever strikes our fancy between the various places above. There just aren’t that many highways up here, so locations that haven’t actually made our list are likely to become stops somewhere along the route between others.

Let us know if you’ve got an Alaskan “can’t miss it,” and check our socials for more frequent updates. Maybe we’ll pop up in a place you’ve visited! FacebookInstagramTwitter

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.

4th quarter 2022: WheRVe we been?

We went up, up and away in Albuquerque, and then traveled back in time in Sedona, before landing at our winter home base near San Antonio.

Come on. I’ll take you.

Dawn patrol rising at the 50th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Not so much time on the road this quarter.
In Road Island (truck camper), we completed the big loop we’d started in April,
driving from Albuquerque to Sedona to Boerne (1470-ish miles),
where we promptly moved back into Tex (5th wheel) on our friends’ property a few days before Halloween.
Other than a Christmas week gathering with RV friends in Georgetown, we’ve been parked here ever since.

Albuquerque NM – Sept. 27 to Oct. 11

Balloon Fiesta hadn’t been on our bucket list. If I’m to be honest, I’d say it held a firm place on our “Oh my god too many people let’s just watch videos online because I wouldn’t even go if you paid me ” list.

Turns out that after being convinced by friends we trust — who also happened to be co-coordinators of this year’s Escapees Boomers Balloon Fiesta Volunteer Crew — we paid them to go (the Balloon Fiesta organization, not the Boomers), and $50.00/night for dry camping at that.

And you know what? Totally worth it. In fact, we got off cheap for the scope and breadth of experience we absorbed, simply by attending mandatory crew training and learning some new skills — oh, and by volunteering to use those skills after walking more than a mile to the launch field at ungodly dark & early hours every day, and then sometimes doing it again the same evening.

We knew before we arrived that being offered a flight was not guaranteed, and we adjusted our expectations accordingly. But each of us got to go up! In fact, our pilot didn’t even have the question all the way out of his mouth that first morning, before I had one leg inside the basket.

We worked hard, lost sleep, learned a lot, made new friends, witnessed jaw-dropping visual spectacles, and enjoyed all kinds of crew perks as we became immersed in ballooning culture. As with other sports and activities, especially those that are more on the fringe, the community is passionate and close-knit, and eager to welcome more enthusiasts to the fold.

Up I went!
The biggest shock is that I didn’t puke.
Nothing like a thrill so unexpected and so intense it makes you completely forget you’ve suffered
from motion sickness all your damn life.
I know that for me it’s as much a mental issue as a physical one, and right here is proof of what happens
(or doesn’t happen)
if I don’t have the luxury of over-thinking it first.

Sedona AZ – Oct. 16 to Oct. 21

We’d first heard about HistoriCorps in the summer of 2021, and immediately signed up for a project in Oregon that October. Unfortunately, it was canceled due to wildfire smoke, and we couldn’t find a project that fit our travel timeline again for an entire year.

When we got to Sedona, we literally parked beneath a rainbow, met the rest of our Week 1 crew, and got to work helping to restore historic buildings at Crescent Moon Ranch, which dates back to the 1880s.

I’ll post some of my own pics in a slide show, and for a better summary of the work HistoriCorps did, I’ll also embed a brief local news video below. We’re not in it, as it must have been filmed during the 2nd or 3rd work week, but we definitely recognize staffers Pete and Sarah — and every structure shown.

Boerne TX – Oct 26 to present

It’s our second winter in a row on our friends’ property, which is a great place to get work done — both theirs and ours, working together. For us, it’s mostly RV maintenance (2 x RV = 4 x work). For them? Well, you just never know what might come up. Or drive by. Or moo at you.

It’s also in a convenient location for visiting friends, family, doctors and dentists everywhere from San Antonio to Austin and into the Texas Hill Country, and we’ve done a lot of that too.

Look at me learning a new trick like a big girl.

Where to next?

A long string of pesky dental and medical follow-ups has us staying put here in TX through at least mid-February. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’ll always take pesky over serious, and this situation allows us more time to catch up with family, friends, the aforementioned RV maintenance, etc.

We’ve also thought about making a return trip to Mexico, but this time it would be a short visit to a single location, not a repeat of our 2-month tour in Feb/March of 2022.

Around April, we’ll start moving toward WA to stage ourselves for a summer touring Alaska in Road Island. So far we’ve made precisely one reservation for precisely one week.

We also plan to register for Escapees Hangouts in Fairbanks, Seward and Valdez, so that will cover another 3 weeks, but mostly we’ll wing it like we typically do.

We’ve got you covered, 4th of July weekend.

Alaska will be our 50th state since we started full-time RVing in 2015. No, we did not RV to Hawaii, smartass. We stashed the 5th wheel at a military campground near ATL and flew there during Year 4.

Checking off the last state doesn’t mean we’re done roaming, but it does open up some space for recalculating and reevaluating our priorities for whatever comes after — and I won’t lie, we’re doing that.

There’s a specific plan percolating, but whether or not it happens is not under our control. Nope, we’re not buying a house or land. Yep, I’ll be able to share the news in our next quarterly update if it’s a go, and if you’re one of the few who’ve heard us talk about it in person, hush.

Until then, Happy New Year, and be sure to check in with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for brief updates, random thoughts, stuff I’m cooking, stuff Tim’s repairing, and occasional selfies with animals.

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.