When I started this blog four years ago, I had the vague idea that it would be a place where I could document my travels and keep my friends and family updated on what I was doing. I had no idea that it would become such an important part of my life, and I certainly didn’t expect so many people to be interested in my travels. Don’t get me wrong, objectively I think it is a pretty interesting story, but I have met lots of people with interesting stories in my life, and mine is just one of the many. So it is with extreme humility and no little awe, that I want to take a moment and recognize the fact that people found what I wrote interesting enough to click on this web page 500,000 times. To me that’s extraordinary and in no small way helps me to remember that my life is different…and different in a good way.
So as the number grew closer, I tried to think of the best way to say thank you. Thank you for caring. Thank you for the support. Thank you for giving me external validation, which I know I shouldn’t need, but hey, I’m human. For liking our pictures and our words. For talking to us as people. Mostly for sharing in the journey and being invested in it. As much time and effort as I have given this blog it has always given more back to me. To illustrate I’d like to share one small story.
If you have been reading all along, you know that dental care has been a huge challenge for us on the road. After RV repairs, it’s probably been my least favorite thing, so last year when we found a dentist that we liked in Oregon we were pretty excited. We started talking about our lifestyle with him to explain our particular challenges and it turned out he was very interested in what we were doing. Sometimes, if it feels right, I’ll share the blog with people, but it’s always an awkward moment for me because it feels a little self-aggrandizing. Still it’s the best way to really explain what it is we do, and sometimes, the person I am sharing it with takes a look and gets hooked. We rarely know when that happens after the fact, but this year when I called to make Lee a dentist appointment the receptionist immediately knew who we were and said “We have been following your travels!”.
Even after five years, when that happens I am still surprised by it, and I was even more surprised when we went to see Ed yesterday and he spent a ton of time in between patients talking to me about what had happened to us in the last year. He doesn’t just skim the blog, he reads it! And through it he knows me. He cares about what happens to us, poked me a little bit because I haven’t written as much as I usually do, and in a very cool way gave me some career advice on what to do next. The blog brought someone into my life who cares about us and not to sound too corny, but ultimately nothing is more important than that. So thank you Ed, and all the other people who share this journey with us. We are truly grateful. And sorry Ed I know you wanted to stay in the background, but that story was just too good not to share 🙂
Faced with this, I wanted to find a cool way to say thank you. Lots of ideas went through my mind, but ultimately I decided to go back and pick out pictures of some of our WOW! moments. It’s easy to lose site of why we do this sometimes, especially when life becomes all about working, and the exercise helped clear my mind, refocus me on what is important, and was a ton of fun. After all, we have done some pretty cool stuff. I hope you like it!
This may seem like a silly place to start, but we came across this Giant Fork in the Road (July 2013) while we were still thinking about becoming full timers and it really felt like the universe was speaking to me.
Lee and I at Looking Glass Waterfall, which we stumbled across accidentally. This was the moment I decided I wanted more waterfalls in my life.
Lee at Jekyll’s Island in late December 2014. After going on the road in October and then spending the holidays with family, we were finally moving and Lee as you can see felt totally free.
Feburary 2015, we took a sunset cruise with Jo, Ben, Kelly, and Bill and the dolphins swam along side our boat for most of the trip. After enduring 15 winters in New Hampshire watching dolphins at the ocean while on a boat was particularly special.
April 2015 we spent a month with friends in the Outer Banks and one special day went to Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers Memorial with Kelly and Bill. Walking the path where their airplane took off and landed felt very much like walking on hallowed ground and I absolutely loved the monument. It is still one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
In June 2015, we went to Minneapolis to visit my daughter and visited the Star Trek exhibit at the Mall of America. I have been a fan since I was a child, but never in my wildest dreams imagined I would ever get to sit in the captains chair. I was completely giddy as I channeled my inner Kirk and pondered how to get us out of another jam.
And then there were the bears. Hands down my most amazing experience to date on the road was when we were 80 yards away from a mama and baby grizzly bear. The fact that we were Deb and Steve only added to the joy and this moment has yet to be beat by anything we have done.
Another childhood dream of mine was to see the redwoods, and not only did we see them in November of 2015, but we lived in one of the groves when we spent a month volunteering in a campground along the Avenue of Giants. Although the constant rain did eventually get to us, those first moments with the trees were magical and completely lived up to my expectations.
When the constant rain in the grove drove us to the coast to explore in December of 2015, we followed the advice of a park ranger we had met and went to explore the Lost Coast. This was the most beautiful piece of of coast I have ever seen and I just laid in the grass and enjoyed the amazing view.
Ok I know this is a weird one, but in January 2016 I was able to dump our tanks all by myself in Quartzsite That was a major victory for me and the first time I felt like I was getting a handle on the mechanical aspects of of the lifestyle. It was a major “victory” and made me super happy.
In March 2016, we got to visit the site of one of Lee’s childhood dreams, The Very Large Array. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, and not easy to get to, but completely amazing in it’s size and scope.
As we headed up to Alaska in May 2016, we had one day where we saw seven different large wild mammals. One of the most interesting sighting was watching a baby caribou attempt to cross the river and eventually we watched it scramble out.
At the end of the month Lee’s first moose sighting was also really special, mainly because he kept saying there are no moose…and then there was! I love it when I am right and he is wrong…although to be honest that doesn’t happen often 🙂
Alaska had so many jaw dropping moments I could make this entire post about them, but I’ll pick one of my favorites when we walked on an actual glacier and got to see an ice cave and a waterfall. Very special.
For Lee standing under the Alaskan pipeline was a really big deal.
But nothing beat finally seeing Denali. I was giddy!
I completely geeked out when I finally got to Stand on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona. It is a quintessential RVer moment and totally lived up to what I thought it would be. Plus there was hands down the coolest giftshop I have ever been in next door.
In April of 2017, we fulfilled another childhood dream of mine and saw the Petrified Forest. What I didn’t know was there is also a section of absolutely gorgeous painted desert that truly blew me away.
Sharing all the waterfalls in Columbia Gorge with Lee in June 2017 was a very special moment for me, and hiking to bridal veil falls (one I had not seen before) was really wonderful. You could swim at the base of this one and being in this picture, felt like I was in it.
This picture doesn’t really capture the experience, but we had a magical moment at night standing at the base of the Hecata Lighthouse with Rick, Jim, and Diana. We could see so many stars through the beams of the lighthouse and it was really special.
Crater Lake, July 2017, with our friends Kat and Bert was amazing. Some things in life really do live up to their press and this was definitely one of them. Every picture was a good one and it was really special that we got to see the floating “Old Man of the Lake” log. After talking to some locals not everyone gets to see that when they visit, and we wouldn’t have even known if some folks didn’t point it out to us.
In August 2017, we saw the eclipse and being in the path of totality was well totally amazing. I thought it would be anti-climatic after all the fuss, but it really wasn’t. It was 5 minutes or so of pure magic.
In March 2017, we finally made it to Padre Island in Texas. There were lots of great moments when we stayed on the ocean in one of our best camping sites ever, but nothing beat when we saw this pelican eat a huge fish. It was definitely a mouth hanging open kind of moment.
And then there was our April in Utah, 2018. After Alaska, I didn’t think any landscape could impact me that way again, but the three weeks we spent in Utah had so many of those moments. Again it’s hard to just pick one (and maybe I won’t) but standing at the base of Grosvenor’s Arch and looking up was very special.
Ok I can’t pick just one. The photographer’s tour of monument valley.
This gorgeous view of Canyonlands brought tears to my eyes.
And Arches. For me this was a terrifying and exhilarating moment because it was a difficult climb to get up there and a drop to death behind me. Not something I would have ever done in my old life.
And most recently in July 2018, standing in the cave behind North Falls. Waterfall kisses are the best!
As I am finishing this post up, I realize it comes woefully short of capturing the complexity and joy of the last five years. Yes, when I think about my life there are a series of images that flash through my mind, but the true story is in the details, the small moments, the day in and day out struggles and triumphs. I know it’s presumptuous, but if you haven’t had a chance to read from the beginning I really wish you would. It’s not about getting more hits (although a million would certainly be cool!), it’s about sharing the story arc with you. We are in the middle of our story now, and I have absolutely no idea where all this will end, but I do promise that I will share it all the way through. And once again…thank you!
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Here’s the thing – you have an amazing writing style and you’re a joy to read. You manage to bring us to where you are. That’s an amazing talent. I’m wishing you both continued joy and fun on the road.
Thank you so much….that is very kind of you to say. Truly appreciated. I sort of write how I think…which shows it’s a little chaotic in there at times 😉. Seriously there is something about this medium that helps me express what I am thinking and what I am feeling at the same time. Those two parts of my brain are usually sort of separate if that makes sense. This is a place they come together. Anyways, thank you for saying that.
First off, I will echo the comment of “It’s Her Van”. Your story line is like reading the best travelogue ever. Second, you and Lee have been in no small way responsible for Jacki and I to be where we are today, living full time in an RV. You are a prime reference I cite when talking to friends and family about traveling full time with the 5er. Keep up your good work, and I swear one day we will meet face to face. Love you guys.
Love you guys too!! And seriously there is no greater compliment than when someone says we helped their journey to get on the road.
It is a constant highlight for me when I get to read your blog….and knowing that we started out together in the 2014 RV Dreams rally makes it even sweeter….athough our lifestyle has become more traditional for now, it is a testament to watch as you and Lee continue to push the boundaries…we love you both and are so happy for you. I know that irregardless of where our paths will cross, our friendship will be intact! CHEERS….
You saw the possibility of this blog well before I did and have been unfailing in your support throughout, plus you friendship matters to me also no matter where you live. I was talking to Steve the other day about political differences impacting friendships and said, “ Are you the kind of person that will be there for me in times of need?” If the answer is yes who gives a shit about anything else 😄 Ellen no matter where our paths take us I KNOW you are that kind of person. Love you sweetie and thanks for all your clicks!
It’s been a wild ride for sure! So happy we have shared so much of it together! Bill and I wish you continued happy and safe travels and hope our paths cross again in the not-so-distant future! Love you! ❤️
Love you too sweetheart!!
Congratulations! Keep up the good work
What great memories and times you guys have had 😎after going full time.
Best wishes and safe travels.
I discovered your blog after buying our new-to-us Casita trailer last year -fretting over all this new technical stuff to absorb, wondering if I was over-planning. Two 3-week trips from Oregon to Arizona and back opened our eyes to a whole new world – thank you so much for being the narrators!
We sit on a few acres in the forest, and aren’t ready to leave yet, but might in ten years – we’d love to see the places you’re showing us. Really glad you are enjoying your time in our neck of the woods here. Safe travels!
Thanks!! So glad you got a little taste! Oregon is a great place I understand why it’s tough to leave but it’s a big wide world out there. Hope you get to explore it 😄
Congrats, here’s to the next half million. Glad to have been along (vicariously) for the ride. We will be out there soon enough. The anticipation is getting palpable.
Thanks for sharing all the good and the “not so good” things that take place in the lifestyle called fulltiming;o)) What’s interesting is the ones you really remember are the GOOD!!! Here’s to many more GOOD memories…It really is all about the JOURNEY!!!
Your pictures are beautiful. I am sure it was fun going back through them all and picking out some of your favorites. They are wonderful pictures and such great memories. Thank you for taking your time to share it with all of us. Congrats on the half million –
Congrats on 500K! I’ve read your blog since the beginning and met you at RV Dreams Spring ’14. You both tell a great story and it just gets better….wish you the best.
Thanks Ralph much appreciated !!