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.


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, 4th quarter 2019

‘Twas a rolling feast!

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.

Here’s the summary of our 4th quarter travels, from Escondido to Port Townsend to Tucson, thanks to a little help from Google.
RV miles traveled this quarter: about 3512
(Map does not reflect our exact routing, hence the mileage discrepancy.)

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.
– The pumpkin patch as viewed from the upper fields
– A hungry goat (they’re always hungry)
– One of many school field trip groups
– Our site management team
Tim can now add toddler entertainment, hayride driving, tent re-stabilization, and goat-proofing to his list of marketable skills.
I get to add sunflower gathering, cashiering, petting zoo maintenance, and price gun wielding to mine.

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.

– Tim’s boondocking site in the desert, near Lake Meade
– Front and back of custom made FriendFest t-shirts, and perfect party napkins for our crew of retired Navy wives

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!

We stayed on the Olympic Peninsula to be closer to our son and his girlfriend, which meant taking an early ferry across the sound to spend Thanksgiving with Tim’s sisters and their families, who live north of Seattle.
I used my challah dough recipe to make a turkey to go with the turkey!
Oh. And on the way north, I learned a good lesson about using other vehicles to judge back-up distance.
Spoiler alert: I got it wrong.

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.

First stop: Ontario, OR
Second stop: Hill Air Force Base, UT
Still no.
Third stop: Page, AZ
There was no snow at Horseshoe Bend, but we still needed coats.
And hats.
In southern Arizona, they know how to put the mmm in warm.
We stayed at Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, Painted Rock Petroglyph Site near Gila Bend, and the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Famcamp in Tucson.
We celebrated Christmas by baking cookies like we thought our boys were still at home to help eat them, and by setting out our few decorative items.
And when I opened our blinds on Christmas morning, I realized I’d just missed Santa’s takeoff!

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.

Follow us on FacebookInstagram and/or Twitter for updates as we go.

¡Con sueños de la playa, hasta la próxima!

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.