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?
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’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!
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!
We pureed pumpkins near the Mexican border, got stuffed with turkey near the Canadian border, and baked cookies for Santa after a return trip south.
But that’s what happens when ya roll from a SoCal Halloween, to a PNW Thanksgiving, to a desert Christmas.
Yes, it would have made far more sense to just stay in the southwest for the duration, but then we would have missed out on Thanksgiving with family (hadn’t seen our older boy and his girl for more than a year), and that was important enough to us to make the schlep back and forth through the brrrrr.
Escondido, CA, Oct 1 – Nov 4: What an orange blur October was. Our workamping experience at Pumpkin Station really deserved a blog post of its own, but I just didn’t get there. The quick facts:
We worked 10-11 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the entire month.
Service industry employment was basically new territory, since neither of us had worked directly with customers since college days. Quite a learning curve, that.
Although our job title was Assistant Managers, we really had our hands in all kinds of tasks necessary to keep the business running: hay rides, tours, petting zoo, sales, stocking, cleaning, decorating, phone calls, hiring, scheduling and more.
Our compensation included a salary and W/E hookups on-site with regularly scheduled tank pump-outs.
Errands like laundry and grocery shopping meant late nights out after the work day was done, since we didn’t have weekends off.
And that meant we used very little fuel and spent very little money during the month we were bound to the farm. Another bonus? Free home grown pumpkins after we closed for the season. I didn’t have to buy a single can of Libby’s for my holiday baking!
It was both exhausting and rewarding, and we haven’t ruled out a return in 2020.
Las Vegas, NV, and Savannah, GA, Nov 4 -12: So what did we do to decompress after a month of working together day in and day out? We took separate vacations!
Tim held down the fort in the Las Vegas area (and even moved the fort successfully from one site to another without me) while I flew to Savannah, GA, to join the girls for our 25th annual gathering, which we call FriendFest.
The ten of us met when our husbands were serving as naval officers aboard the same ship in the 1990’s, and we’ve gone on our own “deployment” every year since 1995. We eat until our pants are tight, drink until we stumble, laugh until we pee, and we’re gonna keep doing it until we can’t keep doing it anymore.
Port Townsend, WA, Nov 14 – Dec 2: Although heading north in the winter is not our favorite thing, we do it to spend time with people who are some of our favorites. Fun fact: This trip made it so that we hit all four corner states in a single calendar year. Bam!
Southern AZ, Dec 7-31: We had no specific destination in mind upon leaving WA, so our goal was to head south until we could stand outside without coats on.
Where to next? Our experience at the August Escapees Hangout in Maine was so rewarding that we’ve signed up for two more in early 2020.
In mid-January, we’ll join a team of RVing volunteers in New Mexico at the Escapees Carlsbad Caverns Cleanup Hangout. Per the event description, we will “help the National Park Service preserve the wondrous formations of Carlsbad Caverns. On Monday through Friday of this Hangout, we will spend 4-5 hours each day underground, deep inside the heavily-visited parts of the caverns, cleaning lint and other debris from the formations.”
And to keep life in balance after our work time, we will then go spend part of February at play, at the Escapees Baja Mexico Hangout, with toes in sand, margaritas and tacos in hand.
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.