»»»» even though january isn’t the best time to get away,
it sure is when we think about it a lot…don’t you? ««««
we’re celebrating another ANNIVERSARY. one year ago today WE took off in our AIRSTREAM looking for anything and everything. our first stop included BEIGNETS for the first time, candy’s can-we-have-them-everyday-amazing-MARGARITAS, and lots of work on eddie. oye. walked most of MAGAZINE street in new orleans. rode the ALGIERS ferry. drank a PINA COLADA from a drive-thru daquiri place. can we have one in denver please. saw the most amazing rocks on the KUMEYAAY hwy. made it to HOLLYWOOD and saw lots of STARS. thought about pretty woman as we walked along RODEO drive. walked amongst GIANTS. tried to convince the husband to grab onto a trolley and belt out rice-a-roni the san franciso treat. failed. ate the very best chicago style vegan DEEP DISH pizza. three times. drank thai TEA. watched FORTUNE COOKIES being made. walked in the petrified FOREST. found the best mexican restaurant in las cruces new mexice. hello stuffed sopapillas we like you a lot. learned all about BORDER control. went thrifting on SOCO in austin. watched old FAITHFUL erupt. stood next to a BUFFALO. saw about a hundred more. peered into turquoise POOLS and got steamy glasses. ran into an airstream with a doughnut on top. saw CANADA from the seattle shoreline. visited cadillac RANCH. saw the biggest blue BEAR ever. went to the BERNSTAIN bears hometown. fell head over heels in love with ROSLYN washington. dreamed about having more deep dish pizza. had a flat in one of the HOTTEST cities in america. saw the LONDON bridge. in ARIZONA. dared to go to the WICKEDEST town in the west. saw my first big cactus. jumped back and forth between arizona and nevada on the HOOVER dam. thought about TRANSFORMERS hanging off of the dam. couldn’t believe the dense forest in FLAGSTAFF. took pictures of EDDIE next to the wigwam TEEPEES. watched a BASEBALL game during spring training. went on tea, beer and wine TASTING tours. decided not to leave the ROCKIES. made LISTS of everywhere we still want to GO. blogged a lot. shared some FAVORITES. got frustrated some. had FUN. feel blessed. can’t wait to get out there all over again.
♥♥♥♥a big THANK you to all who follow along with us, we’re so happy you do♥♥♥♥
we had a BIG year, how about you? we sold almost all of our stuff. uprooted ourselves in search of ADVENTURE and a new home. drove over THIRTY thousand miles. experienced lots of the U.S.A. camped for our very FIRST time ever. drove all of california. fell in love with SEATTLE. saw amazing wide open spaces. felt like KINDRED spirits with marathon and marfa texas. blogged over 12oo posts. met amazing new blog FRIENDS. learned a lot about living in an AIRSTREAM. drove through a blizzard, ice storm, rain storm and sunny bright skies all in ONE day. finally saw MONTANA. confirmed that it’s is one of the most beautiful places ever. had
one four vegan blizzards in tempe arizona that were the best things i ate all year. WISH i could get them everywhere. ate vegan REUBENS all over the place. none beat the CHICAGO diners version. went on the most torturous BIKE ride ever known to man in SAN DIEGO. had some 20 degree NIGHTS and over 100 degree days. went on inspiring hikes in JOSHUA TREE national park. hiked almost the entire south rim of the grand canyon. saw lots of NEON in las vegas. and michael jackson, darth vader and minnie mouse. visited the close encounters of the third kind house in fairhope ALABAMA. ate at top notch in AUSTIN texas and felt like we had stepped into dazed and confused. had the best thai food we’ve ever eaten in NAPA. walked the entire GOLDEN GATE bridge. had DIM SUM for the first time. and loved it. bought a teeny tiny HOUSE in edgewater colorado. couldn’t believe we were new homeowners AGAIN. two became three with our new miniature bulldog penelope. hiked to a GLACIER. watched FIREWORKS from our backyard. got into more renovating than we ever thought possible. wondered from time to time how we got into so much renovating. fell in ♥ with colorado. missed SOUTHERNERS. said hallelujah to living in no humidity. spent thanksgiving in charlotte. watched the macys day PARADE. missed NYC. came home to MORE diy. and SNOW. scraped my car windows for the first time since.. embraced wholeheartedly having a home. plotted our next roadtrips. watched SUPER 8. bought it in blu-ray because it’s awesome. saw poltergeist for the first time. wondered how that had escaped me. and LEARNED more than we could imagine about everything. well not everything but a lot. blogged about most of it. are thankful for everything. 2012….
Laundry on the road, laundry living in an Airstream. Seems like it would be a dreaded affair, especially after years accustomed to a big washer and dryer steps away in our house. I’ve found some unexpected perks to the good old laundry mat, like having loads upon loads of laundry and being able to knock out every single one of them in a quick 30 minute wash cycle. It seriously does spoil you. Mounds of laundry, washed, dried, folded and fluffed in an hour and a half, versus loads all day or all week.
The downside of course is loading it all up to go there, which you actually get used to knowing that it’ll all be done in a hot minute, but what really puts a bee in your bonnet is the cost. Depending on just how long you’ve waited to do laundry you’re looking at at least $10 (m.i.n.i.m.u.m) and easily could be $20 (or more) every time you walk in the door. It’s not hard to do the math and figure out that your own set (bought with serious comparison shopping) will be the much better deal.
Even still there are other perks to the laundr-o-mat, such as there’s never someone’s stuff left in the washer or dryer, never switched, left for you, next in line on laundry duty, to now do first before even starting on your own piles. You know that feeling when you open the washer, at the ready with an armful, and phoo, there’s a load in there, from last week. Which means.. it smells, needs rewashed, then switched to the dryer, which too has a load fuller than any you’ve ever seen needing unloaded and folded, and you haven’t even started yours. phoo, phoo, phoo! Never happens at the laundry mat. Always empty, always at the ready. And it gives you time to read, there’s a certain rhythm to the spinning and tumbling, you can drift away a bit. Just bring lots of quarters.
(all images via pinterest)
We’re one!! Over one thousand blog posts later.. here we are. We’re not where we thought we’d be, even though we had no idea where that would be. Funny how that works out. We drove around THIRTY THOUSAND MILES (all caps were totally necessary, that’s a lot of driving!). We’ve been in almost every state and can’t wait to see the ones we’ve missed and saw some fun roadside attractions.
I’ve taken about 5000 photographs. He has taken about 5. Hmmm.. now you know why he’s the only one in all of the photos, he is the ham of the family though. Photography and the editing (even if it’s just resizing), is the most time consuming thing of the whole blogging process, but how else could we share the biggest legs or longest map? Not to mention cutie pie penelope.
Of those 5000 photos, not included were about an additional 1000 of blurry trees as we zipped down the highway, instead of some beautiful something, the photo snapped in front of a tree. Seriously, a thousand might be a bit of an exaggeration, but hundreds for sure.
We know for sure that the United States is beautiful to drive through, has something for everyone, is nothing like we expected and exactly what we expected. We’ve been in more wind in the first 6 months of the year than we’ve been in our entire lives and realized the U.S. has more desert than we ever imagined. We’ve not been to one single state/city/town that at least three people didn’t say they’ve had the weirdest and most unusual weather they have ever had there this past year. Lucky us to be here, there and everywhere to concur on this with them.
We’ve learned that we can live in 175sq. ft together for a year and still be married. That we are adaptable. Hello laundromats, strange bathrooms, and no more hot showers steps away from the bed each morning. Going outside to turn the oven on, wearing a shower robe outside, en route to the shower house and seeing more people on that walk than we’d normally see all day. Adaptable. Yes.
Thanks to each and every one of you for following along with us… who knows what’s next.
We know so many of you out there want to do just what we did, grab a camper, hit the open road, and see all there is to see. Right? Does it seem totally un-doable or so far in the future that it truly doesn’t seem possible? There are so many ways to travel, and rv’ing is definitely a great way to see a lot and do a lot at once. Within this community are so many choices, travel trailer, motor home, fifth wheel, small, big, and in-between. Where to start?
After traveling most of this year in our Airstream we know so much that we had no clue whatsoever about. Things like, gas costs, camping costs, where there’s an abundance of campgrounds and where you can’t find one anywhere. What it’s like to tow, problems that arise, hooking up, unhooking, parking, driving, boondocking, solar power, generators, yada. yada. yada.
With all this we’re hoping to share some insights that just might get you out & about sooner than you think. First, towing can be awesome. (travel trailer of fifth wheel) You have a vehicle for running all over town in when you’re all tucked into a spot. No driving your motor home everywhere you go or towing a car behind the motor home. It’s two totally separate things. In a lot of ways this offers major advantages. Your vehicle and your home are not one in the same. If something goes wrong with a travel trailer (that doesn’t prevent it from being towed behind your car) you can keep moving until you get to a good spot to work on repairs. When you are out sight seeing it’s just like any other excursion with your vehicle. On the negative side, if you have a heavy rig, you need a heavy duty truck/suv to haul a travel trailer. Heavy duty = heavy duty gas bills. And those gas bills stay with you on all of that sight seeing too.. it will decrease a little since you aren’t pulling.. but not that much. If you’re towing, parking and pulling into and out of places can be more of a challenge, and sometimes not feasible at all. So, when you’re trucking down the highway and see something you want to stop and see it may or may not be easy.
This is where size of your rig comes into play in a big way. Our little eddie is pretty small, 22 ft total, but.. heavy. So we needed a lot of car to get up and go and gas was our number one expense, it blew every other cost out of the water. We definitely had times I would have liked to have stopped but it was absolutely not feasible, and a few times that I really wanted to see something and Sean had to let me jump out so he could keep moving and then turn around further down and maneuver. (always worth it to both of us, but still a challenge sometimes) Having said this, we love our painted Airstream and it will get lots more love from us always, both for trips and as our guest house! If you’re traveling with a family, sometimes you have to go larger or it just won’t work (or won’t work without everyone sleeping with one eye open.. haha!) when traveling en mass, going bigger versus staying home? no contest, go bigger. (but just big enough for everyone to fit happily) But, if it’s just you or you and a partner, light and small will free you up immensely. There are several lightweight, fiberglass travel trailers that you can pull with a car! Huge difference on gas bills, and for many, whatever vehicle you currently use will be fine, so no added cost of purchasing a tow vehicle. Double bonus. These campers are easy to maneuver, can be parked almost anywhere, and are easy to drive/pull for anyone regardless of towing experience. (pop-ups could fit into this category as well) The more simple your set up the more freedom and cash for your travels, and with a regular car as your tow vehicle you’ll be running around town saving even more money on gas while you’re camper is parked. It’s not for everyone, but if you can go small, and light, we highly recommend it.
Motor homes are a whole other ballgame. You will either have a tow vehicle behind you, creating more gas costs, or if you choose not to tow you have to drive your “house” with you everywhere you go. Can be a downer, but on the upside, there are tons of smaller motor homes that offer much larger conveniences in the same amount of space than you might find otherwise. Companies devote a great deal of time into motor homes, making them as much like home, with as many of the creature comforts as possible. If you’re willing to drive something larger, chances are you’ll get double the amenities. Motor homes typically have great storage and good flat roofs for adding solar panels. Once you get used to driving it, zipping in and out of just about any spot becomes second nature. If however, you have a big rig, a bus, or some other long version, you run into some of the same issues as pulling a trailer. (harder to maneuver, ease of pulling in/out of places, etc…) We have definitely seen some small motor homes that blew us away, we couldn’t believe the storage, bathroom size, and kitchen amenities. Another big bonus, when you’re driving you can jump up and get something from the back.. can’t do that if you’re towing. If you can drive a small motor home, take bikes or a little scooter on the back (we frequently saw this) then you can have the best of both, less gas expense from not towing, more amenities, and easy maneuvering. If scooters or bikes don’t cut it, then not having a separate tow vehicle might be a bit of a drag.. all depends on you and your personality.
And for all of you dreaming… that none of these options will work or seem viable in your near future…. don’t give up!! We 100% believe that, even though the experience would be different from camping, if you have a decently gas friendly vehicle, jumping in the good old car and hitting the road is awesome. If you can keep your standards of where you stay from being sky high, you can hit the road with no rv, just you, your car, and basic living needs and see the country. Stay at mom & pop motels, check craigslist for affordable places to stay, there are tons of programs online for staying with people for free (with like minded people who love to travel as well, and help others trying to do the same) and if the weather is great you can even tent camp. The huge advantage is how easy you can go and do everything with no restrictions. If you get somewhere and don’t love it, it’s easy to move on, no being stuck at a campground that you had to book in advance because that was the only place to stay, etc. You have the freedom to be more flexible, and if it were us, waiting until we got somewhere (if we were unsure of the place) to see if we wanted to stay at all. If it’s somewhere you know you’ll love then you can check on any of the above listed ideas and be good to go when you arrive.
It may seem like this would cost more, but in reality you might end up saving or at the very least breaking even. We can’t stress enough how high gas costs are and how that plays into your budget, being in a gas friendly car virtually eliminates thousands and thousands of dollars you’d spend towing or driving a motor home, this will very much balance out the spreadsheet of staying in motels. Especially if you mix motel stays with other overnight options, or staying in one place for a week or more and getting discounts. In many ways, you could go and see much more, much faster this way, which is great! Especially if you don’t have the ability to take big chunks of time off, but can take a week, two, three or four at a stretch. You would be amazed how far you could go and what you could do with only a suitcase and your car. There are obvious downfalls, eating out more, not having a kitchen, but lots of motels offer these amenities, in the lobby at least, and most alternative stay places are homes where you have full access. While it may not be for everyone and is not the camping or rv experience, it would allow the thing that has most people on the road for in the first place….travel, seeing the U.S., exploring. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about for everyone. Going and doing.
What is the American dream? Who is John Galt? It really is the unanswerable question because the answers are wide and many. The old standard was a house, white picket fence, 2 kids, a dog, and a steady 9 to 5. Doesn’t really fit everyone anymore (not that it ever truly did) and within the current economy doesn’t even seem feasible sometimes. Main point being, the American dream is as open to interpretation and dreaming as each person is individual.
For us, when we got married, we didn’t have a set dream in mind, we just lived life and went where the curves took us, which included buying a house, selling a house, renting, selling it all (almost), and trucking down the road in an Airstream full-time. The first time we bought a house we learned more than a million books could have taught us.. about home ownership, commitment, mortgages, mortgages + marriage, and when we sold that house it took 7 full years to be ready to take the plunge again. Seven. Full. Years. With a huge chunk of wanderlust and no roots whatsoever thrown in the mix as well.
We’re a combo platter of planning and not planning. We planned to leave-it-all, hit the road, live one version of the American Dream of traveling cross-country in a travel trailer, an Airstream specifically.
We didn’t know for how long, what it would be like, feel like, how it would change us or not. We planned to go and do but didn’t plot every thing. We wanted warm(ish) weather and to see whatever popped up in our path. We dreamed of finding a new spot to call home so we could travel indefinitely from year to year when the weather was welcoming.
We had ideas of what all we would see and where we would go in our first year.. we’ve seen some, missed some, have tons left, we knew one year would never do it and felt content all along that the open road would be ready & waiting each and every time we were ready to hitch little eddie on the yeti and take off. We hoped to fall in love with somewhere that inspired us to stay and play and work while dreaming of the next big adventure in Airstream living. We imagined finding a little slice of land and parking eddie on it and trying a whole new kind of stay-put living, this is what we imagined but didn’t know. What we did do was meander & explore, we visited & learned, we learned so much that we didn’t know about different parts of the U.S. and never knew if the next spot we drove through was going to be that little slice of heaven that made us say, this.. is it! To not know where you might lay down roots next is exhilarating and nerve racking all at once.
We worked very hard and saved and saved, and saved to go on this big adventure. We primarily put our earnings on hold as most of our work involves being somewhere not rolling down the highway. This meant that our full-time was to be for a definite amount of time, we just had no idea what that was. A year? 6 months? 2 years? Full-time, as we have experienced it..and have witnessed via numerous travelers…is more of a gone all winter somewhere (because you live somewhere frosty cold) or gone all summer/spring (because you live somewhere hot.. or because you can easily go anywhere during these seasons) than it is truly moving down the road 12 months a year, never staying put anywhere. This is where our dream of finding that new special spot came into play, a place we could live and work and save some more, allowing warm weather to be the beacon light showing us the way to all still left unseen.
We are very, very excited that our loosely imagined and hopeful idea of just the right place practically jumped out and bit us! We had imagined all along a little piece of land for us and eddie and another something new.. when a teeny tiny house, in a town less than a square mile (a pint-sized town on the edge of Denver), stole our hearts and made us more ready than ever to take on the moniker… home-owner once again.
We’re not done traveling, we have loads of amazing stuff from the last few weeks that we haven’t been able to squeeze in yet..and we have so much left to share about traveling, simple living, downsizing, and our latest venture of how to own small and keep the dream of travel alive & well. This blog will continue to be all about our adventures & roadtrips, Airstreams, plus lots of love for our new home base.. Denver. Our new blog *Camp 1899* will chronicle our before, during & after of our new home remodel, life with me & him.. in an only slightly bigger space than our little airstream…from 175 sq. feet to 528 sq. feet… we’re so excited, thanks for following along with us!!
Travel is as personal as how you decorate your home, what you like to eat for breakfast or how you raise your kiddos. Travel with more than yourself and you’ve got compromise in your future. The hubby and I think alike on a lot of travel related/itinerary decisions.. we both seem to want to stay or move along at a similar pace, whether or not to spend the $20 to go to the top of a tower or to be more thrifty, to name a couple. But just as we have similarities, as with any couple we compromise. Anyone who travels, even if it’s vacation not RV travel deals with this.. I might want to stay somewhere longer and “dig in” deeper but he’s ready to go and unless I feel 100% I cannot go on without doing it, we’ll move along. Just as he will indulge thrifting more often than he would choose or whatever I have in my head at the time…where if given full reign he might choose a big no thank you to.
You might think travel isn’t travel if you don’t go hiking at every location you visit, or tour a museum in each big city or see what everyone else thinks you should see in each place. If you don’t like to hike and the thing a town is most known for is the trail system, don’t worry about it. Do your own thing, see what interests you and move along. Just like you might eat Count Chocula every morning for breakfast and wouldn’t dream of skipping it.. that might be the worst thing ever to the same people who think missing the great hike would be tragic. It’s personal. It’s great to try new things and if something offers even a glimmer of interest or fascination to you then jump in, you never know what will be the next great thing…but if there is zero desire, move along little doggy. If you despise cooking (for ex), you wouldn’t go on a vacation that was designed all for the wanna be chef, just as you wouldn’t do things on your travels that light no fire under you whatsoever.
Full or part time travel is full of decisions, where to go, how to go, how long to stay, what to see, do and experience. You must decide whether to plan it all, fly by the seat of your pants or a little of both. Do you want to see tons of roadside attractions and plot your drive around them , see cities you’ve always heard of, only take the backroads, or just take what comes. We do a fair amount of both. We’ve traveled a lot of our past 6 months with no set destination for the day and we’ve specifically planned stops as well. We’ve sought out certain attractions and stumbled on 90% of what we’ve seen. We’ve stayed longer in places that we loved and shorter in places we thought would be longer. Your best friend might love somewhere and you arrive and it just doesn’t rock your world. It’s ok, travel is an adventure and just like which side you part your hair on, you’re going to be as individual in how you go & see as you are with the hairbrush. Happy travels!
When you get recommendations of must-see roads, places or things as a full or part-time RV traveler make sure you consider your source. For example..our drive/stay in Oregon. We had heard from multiple people that we must, must, absolutely must-not-miss..Hwy 101 along the coast in Oregon after our stops in Portland & Eugene. Here is where we realized our “mistake” of not taking into account who was doing the recommending. There is a huge difference between someone recommending a place they visit (a particular location) and a recommendation from a fellow RV traveler. All of the people recommending the 101 (when we later reflected) were people who went to a specific place on the 101 versus driving it without intent to stop but rather just to take in the scenery. 90% of the drive was all dense trees with zero view of anything else, no coast, no ocean, mountains, nada…until the very last few miles before entering into California. The Oregon coast is beautiful, but you need to be traveling to a specific place, spot at the beach, etc. to actually see it. So… if you’re vacationing and you drive to Coos Bay for example, you’ll be in the town and have beautiful beach and ocean views, wonderful! But… if you don’t have time scheduled to drive into this beach (or any other town/beach along this stretch of coast) you see nothing but dense forest, big difference. As full or part-time travelers there is much to see and you don’t always have time (for one reason or another) to see it all at once, you may be in an area and have only a day or two or you may only have your drive time and what you see as you pass by… hence the importance of getting a referral of what route to drive from a fellow traveler who knows that if at all possible you want the scenery out your windshield to be a good one. Food for thought.
(as noted our drive was the Southern half of the 101 in Oregon.. the Northern half could be different, we were only instructed on the stretch from Florence to California)