7.6.18

February!



From the Oregon Coast at the end of January, to the California Coast, we got to visit our daughter and her family in Palo Alto...

Isn't she a beauty!

Judah's toes in the Pacific...he didn't like it, but he'll learn!

They're wonderful!

Daddy's girl!

He's my favorite boy, don't tell Mike!

These kids are always up for an adventure!  And, it's important to dress appropriately...you never know when you might need to twirl!

Hiking!

Slugs!

Mike would say he is happy 'cuz he's wearing his Cougar shirt!

Love them.

And then, we were off again...to Vegas!  We really liked the Oasis RV park...it's convenient to everything Vegas, but somehow relatively quiet!

We had had some minor warranty issues with Gracie which Airstream Las Vegas took care of for us.  In our absence, however, our bikes were stolen off the truck (in their parking lot)...which was bad enough, but the thieves also hacked off our bike racks...so we had to spend some money and shop for replacements while in town.  Dumb people.

The entrance to Oasis.

Kale?!
This was one of my most favorited Instagram stories...apparently I am not the only one who doesn't love kale!  I love coming up with fun letterboards...makes me smile everytime I read 'em!  This one I found on Pinterest!

On the road to Arizona!
From Vegas we headed south to Catherine Landing...a nice little campground that was pretty uncrowded when we were there...good cell reception, clean, inexpensive.  We would stay here again for sure...and really liked it in this off-season.

The not so wild burro!

He wanted to be my new pet!

Valentine's Day!

We did a bit of exploring there, including over to Oatman, a quirky strange touristy town with burros walking the streets.  We honestly didn't think the town was much more than a busy tourist trap, but it was fun to see the burros wandering around!




And a bank robbery staged on Main street daily...!



Last night there...nice skies.
From there we went to Lake Pleasant!  We snagged a last minute spot for a couple of days near the lake...and we had visitors!!!

Beautiful girls!

Gosh, they're sweet!
 We all headed over to Lost Dutchman...

We loved having them in our world...glamping, hiking, exploring!

LOVED this view!

Nice campground!  We would've stayed longer but we just snuck in for a few days at the last minute due to a cancellation.

Lots of hiking trails.

The old mining town nearby.  We took the train ride...which I wouldn't recommend...!

Cool little ghost town.

Did I already say I loved this view!

This was one of our favorite campgrounds!  The sites are spacious and it's quiet and so uniquely beautiful!

Beautiful skies!

And huge cacti!

Cuties!

Fireside ghost stories!  Harper was incredibly good at telling them!

My cousin, Seth, came to hang out with us too...so good to spend time with him.  He and Mike hiked the ambitious Siphon Draw Trail to the top of Flatiron Summit!  I stayed home and cleaned the trailer!  I think my day was way easier!!!

Handsome men!


Clean trailer!


Our campspot!

Love this old guy!

Chola cacti are the worst!!!

After our company left we made the winding road out to Tortilla Flats campground...cheap, spacious, out in the middle of nowhere camping!  It was good for a couple of day R&R...and then we decided to head to the city...


Love holding his hand.

...for Spring training!  Specifically, the Cubbies!  I was raised, in part, in Chicago...my dad was a huge Cubs fan, so it's in the blood!  I am not a huge sports fan...but I really love a good ballpark!

Ended in a tie!

And, while in the city, we toured Frank Lloyd Wright's Talieson West...really cool!  We have toured Fallingwater, decades ago, in Pennsylvania...and Mike studied architecture for a bit...so we enjoyed this opportunity to see this amazing place.






We ended the month over at Picacho Peak...loving the temps and time to explore in and out of the city.

Picacho


5.6.18

ONE YEAR!

We have been traveling, touring, exploring and living in an Airstream officially for one year now! 

We began this adventure long before that, of course, with conversations that usually began with the words "what if we", or something along that vein...!  What if we retired a little earlier...what if we downsized into a smaller home now that the kids are grown and we've stopped loving the yard work!  What if we traveled for awhile before we bought another home and another lawnmower!  What if we traveled in an Airstream!

Thus began the journey, with Gracie, whom we purchased from Airstream Adventures NW in Caldwell, Idaho.  Gracie is a 27 foot front bedroom International Signature...and we loved the look, the space and the size was perfect for first time towers!  We sent Gracie off to Wilsonville, Oregon to have her customized by the great people at Ultimate Airstreams.  The Grand Lounge Gourmet conversion offered us a more livable dining and seating arrangement and a wonderful butcher block counter with tons of storage!  Once she was back in our home town we began the move in process, while staging our home and putting it up for sale...we sold our beloved Sportsmobile (campervan on steroids) and, Mike retired, from a job he really loved!

In early May of 2017, we took Gracie on a couple of shake down trips, one to Lava Hot Springs, just south of Pocatello and then to our favorite National Park, the Grand Tetons!  We had lived within easy reach of Jackson, Wyoming and the glorious Tetons for years and the Park had become our weekend getaway nearly every weekend, for photos, wildlife sightings, hikes, kayaking and camping.  It was wild to 'camp' in such a luxurious way, but I took to the idea of glamping quite quickly!

On Memorial Day weekend 2017, we packed up Gracie with everything we imagined we might need (and some things we clearly did not need!) and we headed out, to begin our full time venture!  One year to the day we found ourselves moochdocking in the same wonderful spot with family in SE Washington! 

In one year, we may not have adventured as far as some, in miles, but I imagine we have had as many adventures as most!  We figure-eighted in and around Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and Utah...stayed in RV parks, campgrounds, Walmarts, national parks, alleyways (:-)), Harvest Hosts and boondocking sites!   We got to spend quality time with our kids often, welcomed a new grandchild and got to spend time camping with the other FOUR!  We met lots of new friends and connected with others!  We hiked more, explored more, laughed more, played way more, ate more (:-)), saw more amazing sunsets and lived more! 

Ten months into our travels we also purchased more!  While in Scottsdale, Arizona, enjoying the sunshine and warmth of an Arizona winter, we toured the new Airstream dealership in town...and fell in love with the 30 foot version of Gracie!  Gracie Lou, as she came to be called, has a bigger living and dining area, a bigger bathroom and two additional closets in the bedroom - enough said!  We made the trade while hanging out in their alleyway overnight...and Gracie Lou has been an amazing space to continue mapping our way across the western states!

I've mapped our travels with my Google Maps app on my phone...tagging various locations as campgrounds, boondocking, Harvest Hosts or RV parks...and added stars for places we've explored!  It's not as thorough as the notes we've kept, but it is a nice visual of where we have been...and a nice reminder of places we intend to return!



We had a conversation the other day, well, it's an ongoing conversation really, and it's the question that many people ask..."where has been your favorite place?"  Where hasn't been your favorite might be an easier question as we have enjoyed SO MANY PLACES!  I could literally write a post about any one of the crazy, cool, beautiful, surprising, interesting, fun, challenging, delicious, awesome places and experiences we've had...and maybe someday I will!  In the meantime, here's a short list:

We got to take our whole family to Disneyland this past Fall!  That experience will be hard to beat, but not because it's Disneyland, because the consensus is that we could've skipped the park and just hung out together and it would've been nearly just as wonderful!  A couple of months later, we got to be there when Judah, our 5th grandchild was born!  Without exception, that's the most amazing part of our last year.  We also got to spend time with all of Mike's siblings and his parents, my brother and my cousin!  We do love our family.

In no particular order, the rest of the list is as follows...

Yosemite - Glacier Point, El Capitan, Half Dome - amazing vistas
Glacier - hiking through epic scenery, amazing sunsets
Lost Dutchman and Picacho Peak - incredible desert hikes, family camping with us
Meeting nice, interesting, generous, like-minded people all along the way
Ft. Stevens Park in Oregon - fun bike paths through beach landscapes and exploring Astoria
Central CA - Pismo Dunes, Templeton and Paso Robles, Avila Beach
Lake Powell - paddling the lake and paddling and hiking slot canyons
Scottsdale and Mesa, Arizona - Spring baseball, Taliesin West, art shows
Desert Hot Springs - tramway, Idyllwild, Dr. Suess trees
Zion - incredible hikes up the Narrows and to the Subway
Mendocino and Glass Beach - quirky, fun town and wonderful beach vibe
Joshua Tree - so cool to finally see this unique landscape and climb these awesome rocks
Hood River, Oregon - I love this place...mountains, river, beer, art, waterfalls, hikes
Redwoods - lush forest hikes, like being in the Hobbit or Star Wars
Crater Lake - the most amazing sunset I've ever seen
Pacific City - our home away from home, so to speak...a sweet, small beach town

...that's where we are at right now, in fact...enjoying some sticks and bricks living in our time share (including bathtubs!) while Gracie Lou is getting a great solar install! 

We began this lifestyle of full-time travel in our Airstream one year ago with the question "what if we"...and at that time we thought maybe we would live this lifestyle for a year, or maybe two... 
After one year, we find ourselves asking, "what if we do this, well, until we can't..."

19.3.18

January 2018

To be honest, I'm writing this blog post in March and January is kind of a blur...!!!  Not because I don't remember where we were or who we were with, but mostly because of what we did and how quickly the month went by - it was kind of traumatic!

We left Desert Hot Springs and went up to Las Vegas to drop Gracie off at the Airstream dealership to have some minor maintenance work done.  (Note to self; check the Las Vegas convention schedule when planning next time...make sure the CES Convention isn't in town!)  The dealership was gracious enough to let us leave Gracie for basically a month, even though the work would be done in just a couple of days...and we were able to leave the truck there too (another note to self; when the service manager suggests to take the bikes down and store them inside their shop, take him up on it)!

On the way into Vegas I insisted we stop at this random, wonderful art installation!

Seven Magic Mountains.


So fun!

We flew into Pocatello, where our daughter and her family live, and where we have had a home for the past 19 years...and somewhere in between the time we had decided to head north to check on things and spend time with family and when we landed in cold Pocatello, we had gotten an offer on the house...and signed papers to sell...  So, the casual, fun, relaxed time we had planned to spend with the kids was kind of wrecked...because the buyers wanted a quick close!  (We did manage to get in a Bagelry date, or two...and got to watch the girls in gymnastics, go to Harper's kindergarten class and played a bit in between the chaos!  Oh, and we had a fun granddaughter sleepover in a hotel the very last night!)


 We also got to be there when they found out that their third baby, due in June, is a BOY!!! 

And then, we got busy...  We had sorted and purged our house a bit, before we left on our travel adventures 8 months prior, but clearly not enough...!!!  It was a big, wonderful house, full of treasures...but honestly, once we started selling and donating our stuff, it because easier and easier to sell and donate our stuff!  We weren't attached anymore to the physical things...the memories didn't live there, they lived in our hearts and minds...  It's so cliche to say that, but it was so true! 

We did keep plenty of things...more than we had planned to actually, given our time constraints...but we did pretty well, going from a 4000+ square foot house that we had lived in for nearly two decades to a 250 square foot storage (that isn't even full!). 





We signed everyone's name on a support beam in the basement, everyone who had lived in that house, it having been a haven for plenty of family and friends over the years...and I wrote a blessing, of sorts, to the new family and those they welcomed...that they might have as many wonderful memories and as much love in that house as we.

And then, we left!  We flew out and headed West to spend some time with Mike's parents and siblings...and then drove over to our other little haven, our time share on the Oregon Coast.  It was the perfect way to end a crazy few weeks!


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