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.

3rd quarter 2022: WheRVe we been?

Remember that time we left Maine in August and drove all the way to southern California for our pumpkin patch jobs that started in September? That was in 2019, and although the line on the map below makes it look like we’d perhaps forgotten that 3-week endurance test, we most definitely had not.

This year we made a similar diagonal, from Nova Scotia to New Mexico, but took closer to 6 weeks to do it.

We is smarter.

Being a little more pressed for time than usual, I’ll jump right into the maps and a quick sampler of our 3rd quarter travels. We’re currently in Albuquerque for the 50th Annual International Balloon Fiesta, volunteering with the Escapees Boomers, and our training/crewing schedule is going to have us keeping unusual hours. Hello to 4:00 a.m. wake-ups, afternoon naps, evening glows, and the sights & camaraderie that will make it all worthwhile.
From July to September, we racked up 8 US states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 6019 miles — only as measured directly between overnight stops, not all of which are on the map — on a jaunt that took us from MA, NH, ME to NB, NS, PEI, QC, ON to MI, WI, OK, NM.
We put way more miles than that on the truck, sometimes with the camper on, sometimes without, as we ran errands and visited people at each location.
(Map does not reflect actual routing.)
Just for giggles, I also made this very rough map of the counterclockwise loop we’ll have completed by the time we get back to San Antonio next month. We took off in Road Island in late April, and will return almost exactly 6 months later. It’s been a lot — in a good way.

Slide Show 1: NH & ME

Slide Show 2: NS-PEI-ON Canada

Slide Show 3: MI-WI-OK

Where to next?

After our gig here at Balloon Fiesta, we’ll head toward Sedona, AZ, for a week of volunteer preservation work with HistoriCorps at Crescent Moon Ranch. We’d first heard about this organization last summer, and immediately signed on for an October 2021 project in Oregon, but it was canceled on short notice due to excessive wildfire smoke. When the Sedona project popped up for this fall, it took all of two minutes to decide that the detour would be worth delaying our return to Home Base San Antonio by another week.

So yes, after that, we’re back in central Texas for the winter, for the usual visits with family & friends, all the winter holidays, and the doctor-and-dentist-go-round. We’ll also move out of Road Island (~150sf) and back into Tex (~320sf), and won’t that feel all kinds of extravagantly spacious!

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.