It is hard to believe three years to-the-day has passed since we left our New Orleans home (where we lived for 15 years) in the metaphorical rear view mirror and headed east on I-10 along the Gulf coast and never looked back.
|We had the RV a year before we hit the road full-time. That was more than|
enough time for us to realize how much we loved traveling in it as it sat in the
backyard of our home in New Orleans
For three years we have been driving around the country in search of every presidential museum, roadside attraction, historical marker, National Park, burger joint and anything else that caught our eyes and ignited a spark in our minds. We have seen Cadillac’s standing upright in a field, real live mermaids, trees big enough to drive thru, home of the jackalope, and so much more. We've seen hoodoos, hotshots, blue angels, wooleys, windjammers, palouseys, and a ton more cleverly named things that make up Americana.
Our RV journey has taken us to the rocky coast of Maine, the sandy shores of the Florida Keys, across the majestic Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean blue . . . and a whole lot more in between. My brother once asked, “What surprised us most about our adventure?” To that we replied, “We are surprised just how much we love traveling full-time in the motorhome!” The original plan (if you can call it that) was to travel for a couple of years and see all the small towns that we missed when our vacations were too short and work took us to bustling cities and conference centers. Well those two years came and went. And then, year three came and went. Now we find ourselves eagerly planning year four with no end in sight. Our health is good, minds are sharp, and interest for discovering America (and Canada) has not wavered.
Last summer was the first time we found ourselves working at a campground. We landed jobs as camp hosts for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and spent three months at Dworshak Dam and Reservoir in north-central Idaho. The experience far exceeded our expectations and we LOVED it. Yes the campground setting was stunningly gorgeous and rugged, but it was the people that really made the experience so wonderful. The great camaraderie led to plenty of laughs and work days that passed without a blink. We discovered that work camping allows us to find an affordable way to stay in one place for an extended period of time and save money.
Our annual expenses for year one and year two were within $11 of each other. Year three costs were considerably less and we spent $11,000 less than the other years – a savings that we confidently attribute toour work camping stint. With no camping and diesel costs, money was successfully saved. Additionally, our remote campground location meant we only went to town once a week for lunch and groceries. No five-star restaurants were lurking in Orofino (population: 3,000) to break our budget.
As we plan this new year of traveling, we find ourselves heading back to a familiar place – Maine. We will spend three months work camping at a private RV park (The Narrows Too) near Bar Harbor where we will catch up with Betsy’s brother and friends and lingering belly laughs are sure to be commonplace.
Today has us driving to Perry, Georgia for the Family Motor Coach Association Annual Rally. This will be the first time we have ever been to a rally and are really looking forward to the informative seminars and motorhome viewing. Our friends Nealy’s On Wheels will be there too so us “rally virgins” will get indoctrinated with them and certainly relive the days activities over a glass of wine in the evening.
After the rally, we plan on visiting the
Outer Banks of North Carolina, Virginia Beach, Washington D.C., Baltimore and
who knows where else as we travel north.
|We scored rock star parking at the rally...right up front. The Nealy's and us are the two Tiffins|
you walk by. Stop by and say "hi" if you have a minute. (We are in lot OO.)
We surely will miss the Florida Panhandle and the great times we had there this winter. The four months we were parked there has proven to be our longest stay in one area since RV’ing full-time and we felt like locals. With sadness we said goodbye to all the great friends we made there who have certainly made our stay enjoyable and we look forward to seeing them next fall when we arrive back in Florida in November. Our wanderlust addiction has kicked in and the wheels have started turning. Anxiously we welcome year four and eagerly see where it takes us. Who knows, maybe year five and beyond are in our future.