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!

Double Feature: “1st Quarter Travels” meets “Volunteer State, Part III”

The first feature is more of a short film — just our travel map, a pair of puppies, and a collage of tranquil waterscapes.

Why so brief? Well, since we spent most of January, February and March in state parks doing service work with A Year to Volunteer (Y2V for short), and I’ve blogged 3/4 of those experiences already (see links below), there just wasn’t much else left to show ya.

So since my usual quarterly update coincides with the highly blogworthy wrap-up of our final Tennessee project with Y2V, I’m combining the two, which means you get a ROGO (Read One Get One). And, since we continue to host this blog without advertisements or affiliate links, it really is free!

Free?
Why that’s as uncommon as a donkey smiling for a selfie.
But I got that to happen in Tennessee, and now I should probably stop taking selfies because it’s going to be really hard to top this one.

Feature 1: WheRVe we been? Our travels, 1st quarter 2021

We went from FL to TX to MS to AL to GA to TN to IN, and added our 42nd RV state with that 5-day stop in Mississippi, which had always been a pass-through state for us.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 3700 
(Map does not reflect exact routing.)

Our RV accommodations for the quarter included the friend’s driveway where we closed out 2020, a casino, a Harvest Hosts winery, 3 Army Corps of Engineers parks, 2 military fam camps, a 24-hour diner, 5 state parks, and our manufacturer’s service center.

The friends whose driveway we occupied in Florida? Avid animal rescue/foster/adopt people.
So our year began with a limitless supply of puppy kisses!
The beauty of Army COE parks is that they are always on a body of water.
Top left: Wilson H Fox in Granger TX
Top right: Twiltley Branch in Collinsville MS
Bottom: Gunter Hill in Mongomery AL

Feature 2: Volunteer State, Part III

Thanks to Y2V, we spent 6 weeks volunteering in the Volunteer State, culminating with a park named for the original volunteer himself, good ol’ Davy Crockett.

The main objective for Y2V at David Crockett Birthplace State Park was to build an outdoor stage with amphitheater-style seating. Check! Our crew of 32 also constructed a bridge, cleared a trail, removed excessive riverside vegetation, painted a couple of bathrooms, beautified the park entrance, relocated a fence, and created about 80 new signs.

And by the time our stay was up?

Our original schedule included 10 weekdays of work from March 15-26, but two were rained out.
We got it all done anyway.
If you’d like to see it in a single uplifting 13-minute video, it’s right here on YouTube.
Tim & I spent the first week on the bridge building team with Jeff & Susan of Happy2Serv, and a new Y2V participant named Gary. Since Gary & his wife had a prior commitment the following week, John & Wendy of A Road to Nowhere stepped in to help finish up.
When we arrived at the proposed site, the park rangers had only 4 telephone poles and the mere hope that a footbridge could be put there.
No plans, no other supplies, just a dream to make that bumpy, washed out part of the Homestead Trail easier for park visitors to traverse.
We evaluated and conferred.
Susan sketched out a design and came up with the supply list.
And we started building that very day.
Look what I learned how to use!
I didn’t like it (note my look to the side for help at the end) but since I’d invested in that there pair of bonafide big-girl work pants to replace the inadequate ones I’d ruined at the prior Y2V project, I was willing to risk finding out if they’d given me any sort of superpowers.
Meh. Jury’s still out.
These are my new work pants.
(Not an affiliate link; I gain nothing if you click through or purchase.)
And there’s why I was digging.
We needed deep holes for the concrete molds to help hold the bridge footers in place.
We poured concrete at the center pivot point too, and I gave it a tattoo before it set.
It took some muscle to get those four telephone poles into place, and I’m pretty sure there’s a good joke here about a twenty-mule team. I should have asked my smiling donkey for help. He wasn’t that far away!
Our engineers, Susan & Jeff, solved the central pivot puzzle by fanning deck boards, marking them, and ripping them to fit.
Yes, a straight footbridge would have been easier, but there were two boulders at the mid-point, and excavating them would have weakened the riverbank, so we angled the bridge between them.
On our 4th work day, we completed the decking, installed the rail posts, and repurposed a couple of railroad ties to create steps at each end.
From nearly nothing to a completed footbridge in just over a week — which included delays while we waited for rain to stop and for rope to arrive.
For Week 2, Tim and I parted ways, each of us contributing to a project that allowed us to work to our strengths. He helped out with construction of the amphitheater stage …
… and seating …
(photo credit: A Road to Nowhere)
… while I got to brush off my design and layout skills from … well, from wayyyy back when graphic design was done without benefit of computers.
On the signage team, I stenciled one sign after another, then passed them along for routing, then sanding, then painting.
Partway there
Finished product!
And speaking of finished products, look how nicely that ampitheater stage showcased all of us for the official Y2V group portrait.
(Photo credit: A Year to Volunteer)

We stood distanced, grouped by RV household, and removed our masks for the photo above. When working and socializing, we took the usual COVID precautionsAll the measures we volunteers agreed to follow on our first gig were also in place for this one, with the addition of TN’s state-mandated daily temperature checks and symptom questionnaires.

Some side perks and benefits from our two weeks at David Crockett Birthplace State Park? I’m not even sure where to begin. Wait. Yes, I am.

We were within an hour’s drive of family from my father’s branch of the tree, and we gathered for a COVID-safe Sunday afternoon of much cherished togetherness.
This pendant was a gift from one of my aunties.
The rangers treated us to a homemade breakfast on our final morning, and let me just say that Ranger Gary’s people taught that boy how to make biscuits & gravy right. Very right indeed.
That evening, we went on a stroll through the park to visit each of our completed projects, and toasted every single one with champagne. It was like a pub crawl, but with a greater sense of ownership.
And speaking of toasts (see what I did there?), l got a little bored on one of our rainy days, and made my family famous homemade bread, but twisted into the Y2V logo.
There was just enough for each of us to enjoy a small slice with our champagne, and you can compare my doughy version to the official one below.

Where are we now, and what’s next?

We’re in a holding pattern in northern Indiana while our RV is being repaired at the DRV service center in Howe. Again. It’s complicated, and we won’t discuss what is still an ongoing process, but we’re hoping for a better fix for some of the issues we’ve been experiencing since we bought our 2018 Mobile Suites.

The repair schedule will keep us in the area for the next two weeks. After that we’re not sure, but some happy friends-and-family events in May require us to aim ourselves toward Texas, so we’ll just figure it out as we roll. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for updates along the way — wherever it is.


To learn how we got involved with Y2V in the first place (wine), read this, and for more about their upcoming projects, visit them on

David Crockett Birthplace State Park was our fourth service project with Y2V. Others were


Our Pandemic Caveat
We are traveling a lot less than we normally would, and as often as possible we choose destinations that offer ample outdoor opportunities, and are unlikely to be crowded. 
When we gather with friends or family, we keep our numbers small, and we request honest communication beforehand about their comfort level. 
We continue to wear masks in public and wash/sanitize hands frequently, we limit our outings, and we will soon be able to report that we are fully vaccinated.
 ~ The rrrrOHHHHRRRerrrrs, March 2020 – ?

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.