I'm the author of the book "A Passion for the Edge: Living Your Dreams Now." It's about a 6,500 mile motorcycle trip across Alaska, The Yukon Territories, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest - and about how to live your dreams. This blog is about another dream - selling our house, putting everything we need for a two year adventure into an RV, and spending time with family and friends; and being saturated by the people and places of America. You're invited to share this adventure with us. We have no firm plans, just each day as it comes and an idea for our tomorrows. Hope you enjoy the story as it unfolds.
Blog Log - Joan and Tim: On the Road and RVing in America
On The Road - FINALLY (August 5 to October 17, 2011)
October 14 – 17, 2011
Next we went to Tombstone to see our niece Dawn – back to a camping site in the desert which we shared with a variety of critters (including an owl that decided to hoot under our RV until we turned the porch light on and a sign in the laundry room warning of rattle snake which fortunately we didn't see).
The first night we went to Dawn's house on base at Fort Huachuca – a very nice house.
Dawn is the director of the Food Bank in Tombstone and she invited us out to help unload a truck full of donations and hand out food during the next morning. We met another couple that regularly volunteers there and visited with some of the interesting people who stopped by for food.
In the afternoon we toured Tombstone and went to the famous BootHill. The grave markings were a testament to how wild times were in Tombstone. The markers had phases like killed by Indians, shot dead, murdered, lynched by a mob, dropped dead, and one marker mentioned a poor sole who was hanged and later it was determined he was innocent (Here lies George Johnson hanged by mistake 1882 – He was right we was wrong but we strung him up and now he's gone)!
The last day Dawn came over for a Bar-B-Q and we spent the evening talking. It'd been several years since we'd seen Dawn and we really enjoyed spending time with her. A wonderful young lady. We missed seeing her son Jack and husband Kurt who were out of town but hope we can visit with them in the near future too.
October 8 – 13, 2011
Two days after leaving Moab, Utah we stayed at the Sand Hollow State Park near St. George. That evening we decided to go camping in Las Vegas for a few days. Joan had never spent any quality time there and wanted to walk the strip and see a show. It was also close to my birthday. Vegas sounded like fun thing to do so we did it – very spontaneous. The first night in Vegas we walked part of the strip, saw some of the casinos, and watched the water fountain show in front of the Bellagio. Next night we went to see the Blue Man show at the Venetian – very fun. The last night we celebrated my birthday by going out for lunch and doing a little gambling in the evening. Between all this we swam, bicycled, Bar-B-Qed, and camped. Now camping in Las Vegas we found was a little different than in southern Utah. Here are a few comparison pictures of the Sand Hollow campground and the Las Vegas campground.
Aluminum camp table with a tin roof and charcoal Bar-B-Q grill versus a marble table, a lanai with grass roof, a gas grill, and a sitting area.
Our workout facilities was miles of open desert to walk in versus a club house with a gym, one of five swimming pools in the back and a nine hole putting green along one side (all facilities were free to guests).
There was an open space for parking our RV versus a camping site surrounded by Palm trees.
Our view down the road at each site was very different.
The view of our swimming pool was a lake about a mile away with signs warning about swimmers itch versus one of five heated pools right across the street from us with full tiled shower facilities.
Yes, camping in Las Vegas was rough but we survived. From Vegas on to a night at Lake Pleasant, Arizona.
October 4-7, 2011
We were going to stay in Moab, Utah for a day and visit the Arches National Park. However, we were having too much fun and there was too much to see for one day so we ended up staying four days.
We went to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, hiked a total of 12-15 miles, saw a road that went up the side of a nearly vertical cliff (and watched cars driving on it!), looked down into a giant hole in the ground that was formed by a meteor that hit the earth millions of years ago, climbed through natural sandstone arches, looked over the sides of cliffs with vertical drops of hundreds of feet, called 911 to get help for a lady that had a bad fall climbing a steep trail to one of the arches, walked through canyons with vertical walls on both sides, were in awe of rock formations jutting straight out of the desert that looked like monoliths and sails, hiked around a balancing rock that seemed like it would fall at any time (much better than the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy); and were mesmerized by flowers, trees, and cactus growing in a hostel desert environment. Perfect time to visit. During the summer temperatures reach 100 degrees – while we were here temperatures during the day were in the 60's to low 70's (nice for hiking). When it hailed one evening and the snow started creeping down the side of nearby mountains we decided we it was a good time to start heading south. We took a total of 400 pictures during our hikes (happy we're in the digital age).
Here are a few pictures from Canyonlands National Park.
Here are pictures from Arches National Park.
October 3, 2011
The Aspens were changing colors in the mountains and reports indicated that this weekend the colors were at its peak so we decided to head over the pass.
Here are some pictures of us resting by the pool before heading to Arches National Park in Utah and us resting beside the road on the way over the pass. We climbed from Golden at about 6,000 feet to the summit when we went through the Eisenhower tunnel at over 11,000 feet. The climb was slow and coming down the other side there were long steep sections of road with lots of signs showing where the runaway truck ramps were.
It was all worthwhile. The mountains were ablaze with color – spectacular scenery.
Wait a minute. Who's driving the RV?
September 10 - October 2, 2011
Arrived Colorado on Saturday the 10th. Found a beautiful RV campground in Golden (Dakota Ridge RV) – the sites have a picnic table, Bar-B-Q, trees, grass on both sides, and an interesting hiking trail behind the campground. Facilities included a heated pool, hot tub, fitness room, clubhouse with TV and fireplace, billiards room, dressing room next to the pool with showers, laundry facilities, and onsite garbage pick-up. Staff are extremely friendly and we've met many interesting people during our stay (including some veteran full time RVers).
The campground is only 25 minutes from Joan's mom's house who we visit almost every day. Also having get-togethers with Joan's younger brother Mike; her older brother Bob and wife Glenda; and Bob's son Justin and his lovely fiancé Chus. Joan is helping her mother going to appointments, doing alterations, washing, etc. Mainly spending time with family Bar-B-Qing, swimming, and visiting.
We took Tilly to Petco for a bath and grooming. I think she enjoyed being pampered and they said she was the best behaved dog they'd had – even put a bow on her collar (cute).
Joan's friend since 3rd grade, Barbara, came by to visit. It was great to see her and do some catching up. Friendships that stand the test of time are a real blessing. She's a cool lady (OK, I know that's sixties talk but we met in the sixties).
Marlin and Paulette came by to visit for the evening. We went into Golden and ate at Woody's. They shared a story about buying a $5,000 RV and touring around a part of America. Their adventure could have been a full length Chevy Chase movie - very colorful story. Longtime friends and always a pleasure to visit with them.
Hiked up a ridge to get pictures of a sunset – Glorious. Along the trail I saw a sign that reminded me we aren't in Alaska anymore (beware of rattlesnakes).
Our plans for traveling are not structured but conceptual in nature. Our first priority was to visit our immediate family. Joan and I are now thinking about what the next phase of our adventures might look like but it will include visiting friends and extended family, places we would like to see during the winter months, and getting plugged into community service, volunteer work, and missionary activities as part of our continued travels.
Evenings are getting crisp. Signs of leaves starting to turn yellow. Expect it to start cooling off soon so when the pool closes at our RV Park we'll be heading for warmer places - probably late September or early October.
When we leave Colorado we're thinking about visiting Zion's NP, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon then head further south. Probably be in Arizona for a while after that and plan to visit family and friends.
August 28 – September 5, 2011
Crossed the 45th parallel on Sunday – whoa it was hot on the other side.
Started out with the idea of spending 4 days at the Union Creek National Park Campgrounds (located 18 miles from Baker City Oregon off Hwy 7). However, when we looked for another national or state park further down the road we found all the good ones were booked for the Labor Day weekend so decided to stay here until after the holiday weekend (9 days) rather than trying to find another place and contend with all the traffic – why bother. The camping spaces were large with a table, fire pit, and Bar-B-Q grill; there were lots of trees and plenty of space between sites; we had cell phone reception at the lake but not at our site; the lake (a short walk from our site) had a good swimming area and the water was warm; there were fun places for biking; and something unusual for this type of setting - the RV sites had power, water, and some with sewer hook ups (with a Golden Passport the full service sites were only $14.00 a night - $20.00 without the passport)! What a treat after camping in parking lot like RV campgrounds for $35.00 a night.
The first couple days were hot but it cooled down and it was pleasant the last week. Lots of friendly people in the park and spent time sitting around campfires in the evenings with other campers during the evenings. Two couples we particularly enjoyed evening fires with were Bob and Dotty, and Jim and Jo. Several years ago they started a tradition of stacking rocks along a trail that leads around the lake. Now there are signs that have been put up by other campers commemorating the main site and rock stacks are appearing on other trails around the campground. The birth of a tradition.
Went into Sumpter one afternoon - a historic gold mining town 10 miles from Union Creek. Visited an old gold dredge. Lit a fire inside so decided to try a little gold panning while we were there.
Our dog Tilly enjoyed long walks through the woods every day. She still loves RVing.
It was wonderful to be unplugged for 9 days. No cell phone (unless we hiked down to the lake), no internet, no TV, no radio. Wow! It was great to just focus on enjoying each other, enjoying new found friends, and enjoying God's natural wonders.
August 25-27, 2011
Stopped in Walla Walla for a couple of days to visit family. I forgot to turn off the jeep at Ellensburg and the battery was stone dead when we arrived. We called my sister Beth and she came out to jump start us (a lifesaver). Then we went to see Beth and Joe's new house (very nice), visited for a while (with Joe, Beth, Todd, Kara) and then had Trudy and Jan over to our house for dinner and visiting. The next day Joan and I went to my dad's, mom's, and sister's grave site and had a private memorial. That afternoon, Jan took us all out for lunch at the South Fork Grill – amazing food and great deserts (stuffed when we left). Later that night I visited with Trudy and Jan, then Joe and Beth came over to the RV and Joan and I visited late into the night. Nice to spend time with everyone.
Tomorrow we head out to a wooded US Forest Service park (Union Creek Campground) near Baker City in Oregon for fun, relaxation, and reflection for a few days. Found this camping area using a great web site www.recreation.gov . Also found out that we could save $6.00 a night on our camp site if we were 62 or older and had a Golden Passport or National Parks Pass (plan to get one of these at the Forest Service office in Baker City).
August 24, 2011
Drove to Ellensburg on our way to Walla Walla.
August 22-23, 2011
Went to Sequim, Washington to see our good friend Joy. Joy invited us to her house for a fantastic dinner one night and she came to our house (the RV) for dinner on the next night. During the days she took us hiking near some tidal pools (see first 3 pictures) and to Hurricane Ridge (see next 4 pictures), and Joan and I took a bike ride along a coastal trail (WOW – Sequim is a fantastic place). We spent the evenings after dinner playing Redneck Life. The only thing that would have made the visit better would have been if Joy's husband Mark could have been there too (I was looking forward to beating him at Redneck Life). We'll have to find a time to make that happen.
August 15-21, 2011
Having a wonderful time visiting Cristi and her family so decided to extend our visit from a week to ten days (great to be flexible). Spent the following week taking evening walks, having a picnic in a park with a fun playground for all us kids, washing the Jeep with some help from Brad, celebrating Elias's birthday (what fun), going to the Portland children's museum (with action packed interactive play centers – see pictures), and having a couple of water play days (the last of which evolved into water fights between neighborhood kids and Joan)! On Sunday we all went to church and Cristi cooked a fantastic Sunday dinner - a perfect ending to a perfectly delightful visit. We didn't want to leave but decided to come again and spend Christmas with them if we can find a non-freezing route up to Vancouver, Washington during late December and early January.
August 14, 2011
Today we went to church with Cristi and our grandsons. Had an interesting talk by a missionary family living in a small village in the Philippines.Cristi's church totally sponsored an extreme hut build for one of the families in the village. They raised over $2,400 by selling frozen cookie dough. This was enough to pay for labor and supplies to build a two story hut for the family. We were struck by how alive their church was for Christ's work.
Afterwards, Cristi had packed everyone a picnic lunch and we went to the RV to eat. The boys had a ball playing inside and sitting in the captain's chair pretending they were driving the RV (see pictures).
Later that evening we went to Crist's house for dinner, spent time playing with the grandkids, and walked to the park via a path through a wooded area (eating blackberries off the vine that were growing wild along the way). A Wonderful day.
August 12, 2011
Arrived at Vancouver, Washington late in the evening. We'll be staying here for a week or so to visit with our daughter Cristi, Brad, and two grandsons. Also, plan to spend time organizing the RV and getting it set up for the road.
August 11, 2011
We got to Spokane at noon, just as everyone in the office was heading out to lunch – GRrrrr. After doing some paperwork we had two and a half hours in the sweltering heat to unload the crate and put everything into the RV before the gates were locked. Made it with 15 minutes to spare but we found out we WAY over packed and our RV and Jeep are stuffed. Ended up giving a lot of things to employees at the moving company and still have things that will need to be taken to the Good Will or given away to have our RV set up the way we want it for the road. STILL DE-STUFFING.
After leaving Spokane we stopped at the first RV park we saw for the night. Ended up at an RV park where there was a Good Sam's club members get together. They invited us to come out and sit around the campfire with them that evening and visit. Great bunch of people.
August 10, 2011
Wow. The transition to living on the road is taking a lot longer than we thought it would – currently in the final transition stage.
When we bought the RV we found out Washington State only gives a 3 day trip permit for people buying a vehicle from out of state (temporary license). Can't do anything in three days so had our paperwork overnighted to our son-in-law Jere in Fairbanks, Alaska to get plates and title for the RV. Overnight using UPS turned out to be late on the third day. Day after paperwork was received Jere went to the DMV, got everything taken care of, and overnighted back to us using Fedex which took under 24 hours to get to us. We stayed in a motel while we were waiting. Not too bad. Hotel had a nice pool and room service so we survived.
The day the plates for the RV were to arrive we scheduled an RV orientation class provided by the dealership. While getting ready to check out of the motel and go pick up the RV Joan was in a hurry and ran into the bathroom, her cell phone jumped out of her pocket and took a dive into the toilet. She grabbed it, took it apart, dried it off, and put in the sun for a while to dehydrate. She was desperate, her whole life was on that phone. After 24 hours she put it back together. A miracle – it worked! Joan said, "Praise God, I have my phone back."
Below are pictures of the Blazer hooked up to pull the Jeep (the Jeep is the tow car we plan to hook up to our RV). The Blazer had 153,000 miles on it, towed the Jeep all the way from Anchorage to Kent, Washington, never used a drop of oil, and had no problems. People at the RV center and some of our friends couldn't believe it made it. A great car – we hated to sell it.
The orientation class took several hours, then we sold our Blazer to the salesperson we were dealing with, got a few things at the store, and headed toward Spokane at 2 pm to pick up all the items we had shipped down for our RV. Made it almost half way to Spokane that night.