2017 – Looking back at a life-changing year…
We charted a new course in the Fall of 2016 when we bought a motor home and decided to sell our Maryland home of 20+ years. Thus began our journey as full time travelers. Denise was scheduled to join me in retirement in April. We took delivery of the motor home the end of 2016, and put the house on the market in February expecting to have a couple months to sort, store or dispose of the accumulation of years. The house sold in the first week…..
Suddenly this was our new home, a 2017 Tiffin Phaeton 36GH ….
So, it was a scramble to get ready to hit the road. That included passing the test for my Class B non-commercial driver’s license. Applying for a ‘learner’s permit at my age felt a little odd. And, moving from 2,600 sq ft to a bit over 300 was a challenge. What stuff didn’t go to kids, Salvation Army or the local landfill went to a storage unit. Being mobile full time, without a ‘sticks & bricks’ home, makes answering simple questions like ‘where are you from?’ a bit tricky! That said, off we went without looking back – at least not often.
So where did we go? In brief, we traveled from Maryland to Florida by way of Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama (again), Georgia and finally Florida (each pin represents a stop of a few days to a few weeks). We covered about 8,000mi averaging about 37 miles per day. Of course, that doesn’t begin to describe the journey with all the stops along the way visiting good friends, making new friends and seeing some of the most
beautiful scenery that makes up our wonderful country. Some of the experiences are pictured and described elsewhere in this site.
It was not without a few bumps in the road. An AC unit failed in Cody, WY during the summer heat wave – replaced by Tiffin in a matter of a few days. Coach and car (in tow) were plastered with gray, gumbo driving through the west Texas oil patch, and we waited for two weeks at the Tiffin factory in Red Bay, AL to get warrantee work done as well as a couple modifications to improve ride and handling. I was now learning some of the finer points of driving a 38ft, 34,000lb bus……
The up sides have far exceeded and difficulties. We have reconnected with friends. We have seen spectacular parts of the Country….and we have, no, are sorting out the accommodations it takes to live 24/7 in small space with another person!
We are safely settled for a while at an RV park just north of Tampa, FL. We have marvelous neighbors/new friends who are showing us around and have included us in their social group.
So, here are some of the highlights from this first eight months – in no particular order (it’s certain I’ve left some out) ….
Custer, SD: Wow! It was an amazing visit. Custer State Park and the Black Hills are worth however much time you have. The scenery is spectacular. The wildlife is fascinating, and there are always interesting things to do. We were there for Gold Rush Days complete with parade and hot air balloons.
….and lots of wildlife and scenery. Don’t miss the tour though the spires (cars only for the tunnels) ….
The donkey’s were friendly, and the bison were everywhere!
Rocky Mountain National Park: A remarkable place with panoramas that stretch the eyes and all the senses. We had a beautiful day there, but sadly lost a dear friend, who toured with us, only days after he left … a bitter sweet time. This is how we will remember Chuck…….
Creede, CO: A wonderful, restful few days in beautiful southern Colorado — and I caught a 20in rainbow there in the head waters of the Rio Grande! Also visited a bit of the early mining developments.
…and we will remember the drives up the mountains to get clear of the canyon walls to make a phone call…
Cumbres to Toltec scenic railroad:
A wonderful train ride during the spectacular Fall colors……
Mesa Verde: I’ve always had a warm spot for the SW region of our Country and the early occupants of this beautiful, but challenging landscape. We spent a few weeks here visiting the National Park and other related sites. It is pretty incredible to imagine how such beautiful construction was accomplished entirely by hand….
…and we naturally had to stop at that unique place where four States come together…
Albuquerque, NM: The balloon fiesta! I never could have imagined the beauty of over 500 hot air balloons inflating in the pre-dawn hours and rising together over the desert. Yet, here we were. The images are indelibly etched in my mind.…..
We also made a memorable visit to the Pueblo museum and enjoyed the native dancing and displays………
We are grateful for each and every day and the amazing experiences that this traveling affords. Seeing the country’s scenery, visiting friends along the way and making new friends, in this sometimes strange RV community, continues to exceed our expectations. There is always something new, literally around every corner. We look forward to our 2018 travels, and hope to see you all along the way. Have a wonderful and healthy New Year!!