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.

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.)


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.