WheRVe we been? Our travels, 3rd quarter 2021

Looks like we flung a couple of ramen noodles at a map, and then tried to follow them around the northwest this summer. Allow me to help unravel the squiggles.

We started where we left off last quarter, in Coeur d’Alene, ID.
From there, we traveled in WA to Yakima –> Ashford –> Port Townsend –> Cashmere before landing back in Coeur d’Alene again for a couple of weeks.
Then we rolled allll the way over to Glacier NP in MT, and allll the way back to Soap Lake, WA.
After that, we made our way to OR, for visits to the Tillamook and Bend areas.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 2370 
(Map does not reflect exact routing.)

Why all the loopiness?

Our summer was a mashup of pre-planned events interspersed with family visits that had to be finagled where and when our family members were available, plus logical places to layover during the in-betweens, plus recalculations when not one, but two planned events were canceled with less than 2 weeks notice (one fell to COVID, one to wildfire smoke). So yeah, our brains ended up looking a little like twisted noodles too.

I’ll take you on a brief tour of each of our ten major stops. Ready?

Coeur d’Alene, ID ~ June 27 to July 18

It’s a home for us. Tim went to high school there, friends still live in the area, and his folks still visit about once a year. We were lucky to spend time with them both times we swung through this summer.

Yakima, WA ~ July 18-22

It was just a 4-night stop to have some work done on the truck, but we scored on finding a quiet state park within bicycling distance of the repair shop. We celebrated our 29th anniversary at a downtown eatery on our first night, and the only other item of note was actually rather embarrassing.

Ashford, WA ~ July 22-25

Another score: a Harvest Hosts location only 5 miles from the SW entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. With host permission we stayed 3 nights, spent accordingly in their cafe, and were thus able to put in two unrushed hiking days, with gloriously sunny weather and clear views.

Port Townsend, WA ~ July 25 to August 3

Our boy! Our big boy lives in Port Townsend and we hadn’t seen him for 19 months. Oh… ummm… actually both of our boys are big, at 6’2″, but this one’s the first born. And we hadn’t seen him for 19 months. Did I say that already?

Cashmere, WA ~ August 3-10

This is an easy one. Already wrote about it! We celebrated 6 years on the road at the Escapees Cascade Mountains Hangout, during which we went on a scavenger hunt, and went hiking, and went tubing on the river, and had potlucks, and toured a candy factory, and went to a musical, and pretty much pretended we were kids at summer camp again.

Happy 6th annRVsary to us!

Coeur d’Alene, ID ~ August 10-24

We had two weeks to kill before our next event, and Cd’A was along the way, so it made sense to land amongst our people again.

Glacier National Park ~ August 24 to September 1

Time for our second round of “summer camp,” at the Escapees Glacier Country Hangout. The directors planned an incredibly varied slate of activities, and we saw more of the park than we would have on our own: west side, east side, trails, lakes, and guided tours. I cannot pick a favorite excursion or photo, and that’s why you get 12 in this slide show instead of only 4 or 5.

Soap Lake, WA ~ September 2-7

This stop was a last-minute addition. We learned that Tim’s other sister and her husband would be staying at Soap Lake in their new-to-them camper, and then Tim’s folks decided to join them in their new-to-them camper, so we grabbed a site at a campground right down the road, and voila! We had a plan for Labor Day Weekend.

Garibaldi & Tillamook, OR ~ September 8-19

When one door closes (like say, an event we’d registered to attend in WA that was COVID cancelled), another one opens (like say, a third Hangout with a spot available). And that’s how we ended up at the Escapees Oregon Coast Hangout: skidding in sideways at the comparative last minute. We were not at all sad about another week of fun in an area we’d not explored.

Sisters & Bend, OR ~ September 19-30

We found a great place to boondock, and set off on several adventures from there. Mornings were chilly, but the sun came out and warmed up our days, making for perfect hiking and backpacking weather. We squeezed in a pretty wide variety of activities, and have more on our list for an eventual return visit.

Where to next?

We’re now making our way to the Salt Lake City area, where Tim will savor some solo time while I fly to VA for Girl Time, and the fewer details I release about that, the better. Suffice it to say that since we canceled last year’s annual gathering (our 26th) because of the pandemic, we will likely make up for it with double the indulgences this year, and I cannot wait. I’ve even added nights on each end to spend even more time with more girlfriends from my Norfolk-based sisterhood. We were stationed there from 2004-2010, and I still miss the strong sense of community.

After I’ve recovered from the eatingdrinkinglaughingandhardlysleeping hangover, we roll to Hobbs, NM, for the 2-week Escapees Habitat for Humanity Hangout. It’ll feel good to get back to giving back, getting our hands dirty, and sharing the experience with other like-minded RVers. Plus, I’ll get a chance to pull those leftover brownies out of my freezer and upcycle them into something decadent for a potluck dessert.

From there, we’ll roll to Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo, TX, for about a week. It’s been on our list since before we even started RVing, and we’ve not managed to hit it right a single one of the umpteen times we’ve gone in and out of TX since 2015. This time, I made a reservation — at a highly uncharacteristic 6 months in advance!

After that, it’s back to homebase San Antonio for a few weeks of catching up with family & friends, routine annual medical and dental checks, and holy crap how are we this close to the holidays again already?

So ummm… happy new year? I’m sure I’ll post at least one fresh blog between now and then, and as ever, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for more frequent updates as we roll along.

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.

6 years in: RV there yet?

Still no.

By my very rough calculations, we’ve tallied more than 77,000 RV miles since we left housebound life behind and hit the road in August of 2015.

And this year, I’m abandoning my prior annual update format, and instead telling you what we did to celebrate our 6th “nomadversary.”

Hint 1: We visited one of the most remote towns in WA.
Hint 2: It was part of an action-packed week, and we were far from alone.

But you can still click to go back in time to the “Amusing Tally of Miscellaneous Statistics” from 5 years in and 4 years in, and the “Questions We Hear All The Time” from 3 years in and 2 years in. Oddly, I did not blog about our 1st nomadversary, but I did make wee mention on Facebook.


Okay, I will bring forward one item from previous annual updates: our map of RVisited states.

We’ve only got CT, DE, RI and NJ left to go in the lower 48.

Alaska is still way the hell up there, unrolled upon by our wheels, and I really don’t know how to count Hawaii. We flew there in 2019, in Year 4 of full-time RVing, and it took some skillful planning on Tim’s part to find a place to park the RV without arousing my suspicions and spoiling my 50th birthday surprise, and we certainly wouldn’t ever go through the hassle and expense of shipping our own RV there, if that’s even possible, so… uh… where was I going with that?

Doesn’t matter. Here’s the map.

My criteria for counting a state as visited are a bit fluid, which I know will drive some people a little nuts. Did we stay overnight? Long enough to do the weekly laundry? Go on a hike or visit a national park? All of those are valid to me. Just driving through on the way to elsewhere, with a potty break at a gas station? Not so much — otherwise, we’d have completed this map a lot sooner.
(Map created at amcharts.com)

And now, onward to our celebration: the Escapees Cascade Mountains Hangout!

As I mentioned in our 2nd quarter update, we’re attending two Escapees Hangouts this summer, and the first one happened to coincide with our 6th nomadversary. We love Hangouts because they are as simple as this: register & pay, show up, make friends and have fun. Excursions and activities are planned and organized by someone who is not us (see packed calendar shot above), which makes it feel like a total vacation.

Some of the photos in the following slide shows (1 for each day of the Hangout) are a bit irreverent. It’s how we roll. And let me just say that it is very tempting to post these pics without benefit of explanation and leave it all up to your imagination, but uhhh, my parents read this, and I don’t want to get grounded.

We took the express boat back — barely.
It’s rare for the two of us responsible-and-reliable-to-a-fault people to arrive late for anything, ever, but someone didn’t believe me when I told him that our return boat left from a different dock than the one where we’d arrived.
So we waited at the wrong dock until Tim wondered out loud why nobody else from our group was there, and that was when the stoned hiker — with whom we’d been having an amusingly rambling conversation — served an even higher purpose (ha ha) by pointing us in the correct direction.
Which I had pointed out before.
But Tim likes to say that god came to us in the form of a stoner dude that day, and saved us from literally being left up the creek without a paddle.
Came skidding in sideways to meet our boat just in time. Whee!
(True story: this is the second time we’ve been “rescued” by a stoner. Here’s the first.)

What’s next?

We’ll close out August with the Escapees Glacier Country Hangout in Montana, and then we’ll head back to Port Townsend for a second visit with our older son, and a weekend at the annual Wooden Boat Festival. Tim’s going to attend the seminars and tour the boats for three days, and I’m going to pull a few volunteer shifts because 1) I like helping, and 2) I honestly lose interest in the boats after about an hour, and that’s not worth the price of admission. Volunteers get in free, so it’s a win for everybody!

Farewell from the Cascades, and happy nomadversary to us!
This Hangout was our 4th. I wrote about the other three too. Check out:
Downeast Maine (Aug 2019)
Carlsbad Caverns Clean-Up (Jan 2020)
Baja Mexico (Feb 2020)

Despite the rah-rah tone, this is an unsolicited and uncompensated testimonial, and we don’t work for Escapees. It’s just that holy crap, we love those Hangouts!