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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.

Wait.

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!

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.